Profits of Rage

Chuck D's Same Old Song?

Tackling the topic of shameful behavior on the part of some Jews in the record industry is not itself an act of bias— there was no outcry, for instance, when a plot twist on The Sopranos proposed that mobbed-up money-lender Herman "Hesh" Rabkin was the former boss of "F-Note Records," a '60s r&b label that scammed a fortune from singers like "Little Jimmy Willis" (likely a nod to the exploitation of Little Jimmy Scott by Savoy Records owner Herman Lubinsky, the innovator of the recoupable expense, in which recording and manufacturing costs are paid for out of an artist's royalties)— but to attribute such avarice to their Jewishness is sheer prejudice.

Perhaps the saddest part of this whole affair is that considering all he's been through, if anyone should have learned the lesson that there's absolutely nothing uplifting about scapegoating, it's Chuck D. Jew-baiting in hip-hop is more tired and played-out than a "Funky Drummer" sample, and with PE's recent sales lagging and their very relevance to the hip-hop nation in question, at this point in their career this is a distraction PE hardly needs— or it's exactly the louder-than-a-bomb PR boost they sought. Requests for an interview with Chuck went unheeded, but he did issue a statement through Atomic Pop (whose roster ironically includes Jewish rappers Blood of Abraham), more or less telling the rab to get off the rag one more time. "I'm not anti-Semitic and the song is not anti-Semitic," insists his statement. "The song is anti­music industry, directed at an industry, not a people. Swindlers come in all shapes and sizes." Any further dispatches will have to wait till next Wednesday, July 21, at Tramps, when Chuck is supposed to unveil his new side project with Griff as part of the Digital Club Festival. By now, it should probably come as no surprise that the group is named Confrontation Camp.

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