I got the new Ice Cube album yesterday.
I bought it at Wal-Mart. I know. You’ll be preaching to the choir if you start telling me the ills of Wal-Mart. I saw the documentary and that was preaching to the choir. I’m no fan of Wal-Mart.
Super Wal-Mart moved in a year ago and it was scary for our small-ish town. We wondered if our local grocery and hardware stores were going to go out of business. Thankfully they haven’t. But now we’ve got an empty store carcass across the street from the new bigger store which Wal-Mart won’t sell to a competitor so it will sit empty FOREVER (unless they donate it to the Hastings Public Library to become our new facility--pipedream! But, I digress).
Living in a small-ish town if you want to buy a new cd you’re choices are Wal-Mart or K-Mart. Or you can drive a half hour to Grand Island and shop at their Wal-Mart or Kmart. I honestly think I’d have to drive 90 miles to Lincoln to find a proper record store. If I went west to Kearney (50 miles) I could broaden my big box choices by adding Target to the list, but I don’t think there’s a Sam Goody or …. I don’t even knows the names of record stores anymore. There’s no Vintage Vinyl, that’s for damn sure.
Back to my story: K-mart is closer (two blocks from my house as opposed to the outskirts of town) but I had three kids in tow and wanted to get Ice Cube, a bicycle helmet and some brown sugar. One stop shopping, folks, this is how they make their billions. So I succumbed and went to Wal-Mart.
And guess what! At Wal-Mart music comes pre-censored! All the naughties are silenced out on the disc!
If you’re gonna listen to Ice Cube, you want to listen to Ice Cube. And it’s SO many words silenced out it’s hard to follow what he’s saying. It ruins the flow, bro.
On Wednesday I took Phoebe to her 4-H meeting -- I know this seems like a completely random departure from my gangsta rap story, but hang in there. I left the boys in the van in the driveway, while I walked Phoebe in a spoke with the hosting 4-H mom. I stayed and talked longer than I should have. I said “I’ve got the boys in the car--I better go” about four times before the conversation actually allowed for an exit. When I got back to the van, both boys were bawling and Oliver was bleeding.
Moses had, very obviously, reached from his car seat to Ollie’s car seat and made a big fat cat scratch across his cheek. Oliver was hysterical, but he also had done a little damage to his brother. I got them settle down, at long last. There was no sense in asking “what happened?”-- that was very clear. I did ask what they fought about. There was a long silence. Both boys hung their heads. Then Mo looked up with a sheepish half-grin due to the absurdity to come. He pointed out the window and said “that tree.” Oliver nodded solemnly through silent tears.
I said, “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Gasp! Horror! Outrage! Mama said the S-T Word (as they call it at school). “Why did you say that?!” “You are not supposed to say that!” “We don’t call things or people stupid!” All my words and the words of their teachers were flung back at me in an instant.
I calmly said, “I know we don’t normally call things or people stupid. But when you two are scratching each other’s faces off about that tree (whatever that means)…well…it is stupid to fight each other about something so unimportant. Sometimes only a bad word can be used to describe a really bad thing.”
And we’re right back to Ice Cube.
The cd (from what I’ve gathered from one day’s listen plus an article I read about it) has a lot of political statements and statements about the world of rap. Cube is slamming the party and playa culture of rap -- it’s lost the seriousness and message that old school gangsta rap has. But, the message loses a lot of punch when Wal-Mart squelches out the bad words. I bet Ice Cube would have a few choice words about that.