Chance The Rapper has fallen victim to every rapper’s worst nightmare: an old white man with a keyboard and a platform.
Phil Mushnick is a sports writer for the New York Post, who mostly covers stories which expose injustices in sport, and focuses on highlighting ignorance and inaccuracies perpetrated by sport broadcasters. It’s no small surprise then, that when he heard that Chance The Rapper was going to become the ambassador for the Chicago White Sox, he used his substantial platform to point out all of the terrible things that this signifies, according to what his old white man brain could conjure up.
Chance is apparently quite the White Sox fan, presumably because the incredibly docile pace of baseball manages to ground him from the frantic realities of his own life, and was even selected to throw out the first pitch in this year’s home opening game. Mushnick could not let this stand.
In his lengthy opinion piece, Mushnick starts with pointing out that Chicago is known as the murder capital of America, before rattling off some mildly racist imagery where he points out how sad it is that some of the murdered are children.
”children shooting children dead — over nothing more than a sideways glance, the wrong-color shirt, a bag of weed, and, now in at least its 27th year, status-symbol sneakers.”
And also, this.
“Among the busiest keepin’-it-real businesses in the ’hood are those that quickly produce “R.I.P” T-shirts carrying a photo of the murdered. Collect ’em all! Trade ’em with your friends, while the supply of friends last.”
I feel like these two opening quotes really give you a feel for precisely what sort of article this is going to be. Instead of an opinion piece about a musician being offered to be ambassador of a sports team, this reads more like an opinion piece about murder rates in Chicago and how Chance The Rapper is directly responsible for them.
The article goes on to talk about how unfit Chance is to be pretty much anything, including a father. Mushnick justifies his opinion by citing a track from the rapper’s extensive library, Smoke Again, suggesting that no one including the mayor of Chicago, nor reverend Jesse Jackson would dare recite the lyrics to Smoke Again in public.
He criticises Chance’s style of rap, calling it, “pro forma, no-upside, can’t-expect-better-from-us, women-denigrating, blood-on-the-breeze rap.” Which as far as criticism’s go, is pedestrian at best.
Mushnick also tries to deconstruct the lyrics to Smoke Again, and complains that the song is “standard dehumanizing gangsta rap” and that it appears that Chance is “especially fond of dope and regards young women as a sub-species in over-and-out service to his immediate libidinous whims, especially oral sex.” Look out ladies, he’s especially into oral sex, the grossest sex.
Apart from this reading like an anecdote from a racist old uncle who just discovered rap music, the underlining problem appears to be that this particular writer thinks that because of the imagery in Chance The Rapper’s songs, he is to blame for all the woes of Chicago, and that’s just fucking weird.
Chance The Rapper has not yet responded to Mushnick’s lengthy opinion piece, and frankly due to the racist undertones of the article, I don’t really feel like he has to.