Tag Archives: Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle and detournement

Jimmy Fallon interviews Chappelle and he let’s loose a number of wonderful funny gems.  Salute to Fallon, The Roots Prince and Dave Chappelle.  A few key moments worth observing:

2:00 “the lost Root” and racial stereotyping.

2: 30 Chappelle’s explanation of the Roots and all their musical buddies in “shelves” at Electric Ladyland is beautiful.

3:10 Prince and detournement (to turn around against itself).  “That is a Prince Judo move right there.” “That’s checkmate right there!”  To use the humorous image of Dave Chappelle as Prince to sell records — situationist genius.  Here is the cover from Prince’s actual song: breakfast can wait.”  Thanks to Okayplayer

Thanks to Okayplayer for the image

I actually went and bought the song.  You can go to 3rdeyegirl and spend eighty-eight cents to buy a snare and slap-bass Prince tune about . . . well helium-inclusive erotic love.  Perhaps another level of detournement is making a great song about a decade-old Chappelle skit.

4:30 Jay-Z, the Black Album and Kanye’s confident rewind. I also love Chappelle’s imitation of Common’s face when he hears the Common-referential lyric.

5:40 Kanye and the punchline: “my life is dope and I do dope shit!” while getting a sneak peak at not-yet-released Chappelle Show skits. 110%.

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Run the jewels: overdetermination and puppets

I wrote a little piece on El-P and Killer Mike’s Run the jewels album and rape culture.   I guess I was thinking about the socially conscious history of both of the artists.  You might describe El-P as a nihilist leftist and Killer Mike as an organic intellectual.

Of course Run the jewels is competitive over-the-top rap music.  In the effort to make the best art — artists attempt to outdo each other.  In the genre of hip hop this means bigger, harder, louder, and more outlandish.

The financial claims of most rappers have grown to ridiculous levels, with a number of artists simply shouting out expensive brand names to convey their own particular shopping allegiances.

It makes sense that the claims about violence, drugs and sex would also become more and more outlandish.

MF DOOM always seemed like a hip-hop critic.  His villainous characters (and in particular the masked versions of DOOM) always seemed pitiful — articulated as a mockery of other rappers whose representations of criminality seemed shallow in comparison to the lyrical work of the clever DOOM.

In the same way modern hip hop can be critiqued from the traditional morality perspective.  It might also be performed and overdetermined (made excessive and taken to the extreme) in order to achieve a very similar moral critique.

Which works as a basic introduction for “36” Chain,” a video which contains violence against old women, violence against young women, gun violence, violence against Andrew W.K, and a dual sense of mockery/sincerity that will probably excite some people and deeply offend others.

Noting the character Killums — the kidnapped puppet plays such an important role it might be worth including the El-P video for “Full retard” in this discussion.

Of course this video contains some drinking and driving, a lot of drug stuff, violence against moms, nudity, and of course, the lightly disturbing choice to have the puppet Killums lead in most of the debauchery. We can note that the expressive fiction of a puppet gives liberty . . . a kind of implicit defense.  At the same time thumbing the nose at the idea of childhood as an innocent time.

Killums seems to be El-P’s id. An expression of what he would like to do . . . the unfettered brain presented as a sex and drug obsessed squirrel.   Some artists make up Tyler Durdin . . . El-P chooses a one-eyed junkie squirrel.

Dave Chappelle’s sesame street mockery Kneehigh park runs through some of the same transgressions.   Pushing buttons with ever-increasingly crass discussions voiced by puppets that seems to be giving humorous versions of public service announcements.

You can say anything if you have a puppet voice the idea.  And as I’ve written about before — any moralistic critique sounds silly when lodged against a cute fuzzy animal with a human voice.  It is insulated against these kinds of arguments because you can always say “it’s just a puppet.”

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Juxtaposition: Fiona Apple and Dave Chappelle walk off the stage

Artifact One: Fiona Apple at a Tokyo fashion event.

Apple grew frustrated with the ongoing chatter in the venue, a hall at Tokyo Station Hotel, where the exhibition makes its home. Partway through her short set, she climbed on top of her grand piano and asked the audience to be quiet so that she could perform. She then challenged everyone to be silent for the duration of a tone she created by striking a small metal bell. The performer grew even more angry when the noise in the venue continued.

Apple instructed the audience to “shut the f–k up” and uttered other expletives, both audibly and under her breath, calling the event’s attendees “rude.” She continued with her set before shouting, “Predictable! Predictable fashion, what the f–k?” as she stormed off the stage. The show was punctuated with other bizarre moments, such as when she hit her head with her microphone, did a back bend over her piano bench and stared intensely at her guitarist as if in a love-struck trance.

via Louis Vuitton Toasts ‘Timeless Muses’ in Tokyo – Parties – Eye – WWD.com.

Artifact 2: Dave Chappelle walking off the stage at a Connecticut comedy club.

Chappelle wasn’t having a meltdown. This was a Black artist shrugging the weight of White consumption, deciding when enough was enough. This isn’t the first time Chappelle has done so and it isn’t the first time his behavior has been characterized as a meltdown.

There is a long history of asking African-Americans to endure racism silently; it’s characterized as grace, as strength. Chappelle’s Connecticut audience, made up of largely young White males, demanded a shuck and jive. Men who seemed to have missed the fine satire of the Chappelle show demanded he do characters who, out of the context of the show look more like more racist tropes, than mockery of America’s belief in them.

When he expressed shock at the fact that he’d sat there and been yelled at for so long, people yelled that they’d paid him. They felt paying for a show meant they could verbally harass him, direct him in any tone of voice, as though they’d bought him.

via Dave Chappelle Didn’t Melt Down – Entertainment & Culture – EBONY.

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