The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg, now sees himself as a mainstream commercial entity. That's right, according to the rapper, who says he no longer uses drugs – "Middle America would rather me be pimping than gang-banging." To this end, Mr. Dogg just signed deals with both Macy's department store and Jim Henson Co., the Muppet people.
Mr. Snoop designed a clothing line, and when approached by Macy's, he initially balked at softening his image in order to make his clothing more palatable to mainstream America. "I wanted my s--- to be Cripping and gang-banging." But, money beckoned, and Mr. Dogg compromised, de-emphasized gang-banging in favor of sweaters and football jerseys: "It has to be like that in stores like Macy's and Robinson's-May." His licensing agent, Michael Cohen, called Snoop's previous styles "too urban-gang influenced," and said, "I need to have him as commercially acceptable as possible."
Still sitting down? Snoop Dogg filmed an appearance on the 2002 Muppet Christmas Special, in which he presumably gangsta raps with Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. That's right. Before agreeing to edit out the rapper's appearances – due to angry calls and letters – a spokesperson for the Jim Henson Co. said the Muppets intend to seek a hipper, younger audience by keepin' it real with the Snoopster. "The Muppets are a pop-culture icon," said Charles Rivkin, president and chief executive of the company, "and Snoop is a pop-culture icon, as well. ... The bottom line is we respect him a lot as an artist."
Respect him as an artist? Consider the following lyrics from his best-selling CD, "Doggystyle": " ... It don't take much, for the Dogg Pound to bust a cap in you’re a--, for getting us all f---d up. Now check it, its callin' for niggaz like Doggs who supposed to be the s---, but steadily bitchin like hogs."
But meanwhile, many urban elementary school teachers talk about the constant battle to purge "bitch," "ho" and "nigga" from the lexicon of impressionable children, many from fatherless homes.
Defenders of gangsta rap claim that behind the rappers stand normal, well-adjusted "artists." But Snoop did time for drug dealing, and a jury acquitted him for murder. Swarthmore College professor James Peterson said the real-life thuggish nature of rappers not only adds to their appeal, but becomes almost a requirement for consumers – mostly young white suburbanites – who want their music from authentic thugs. "The reason [Dogg's] been around this long," said Peterson, "is that people know he's really lived the s–t he's talking about. As sad as it sounds, it's essential."
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., defends, as freedom of speech, Snoop Dogg's references to women as "bitches" and "hos." "Do I like some of it?" Waters once wrote, "Yes, I do. I am moved by some of the stories told by rap artists such as Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg about their lives, their families, their mothers and their surroundings." Moved by what they say about their lives? How about this little Dogg ditty: "How the f--- am I supposed to pay this ho, just to lay this ho. I know the p---y is mines, I'ma f--- a couple mo' times N' then I'm through with it, there's nothing else to do with it. Cuz she ain't nothing but a bitch to me. N' y'all know that bitches ain't s--- to me." Yet when the head of the L.A. Police Commission allegedly referred to Waters as a "bitch," she demanded his resignation!
When white rapper Eminem used the term "faggot," many attacked him, forcing Eminem to lamely explain that "faggot" makes no reference to sexual orientation. He said the term means weak or frail, so please, gay community, Eminem pleaded, no offense intended.
Comedian Andrew Dice Clay burst on the scene with mildly (by comparison) profane nursery rhymes, but got hammered by feminists and others offended by his words. On a late-night talk show he tearfully defended himself and called his "Diceman" character moronic, bearing no relationship to the comedian himself.
Black rappers apparently need no such explanation. Baseball fined player John Rocker for using terms like "queer" and "fat monkey," forcing him to undergo psychological counseling. Whites like Eminem, John Rocker, Al Campanis, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder and Fuzzy Zoeller must apologize and atone.
So black gangsta rappers can not only put out vile self-descriptive racial epithets and call women "bitches" and "hos" without disturbing so-called black leaders, but apparently can now do so with the approval of Macy's and the Muppets.
Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg, the rich rapper/clothing designer/actor/porn filmmaker, currently keeps it real in his multimillion-dollar house in the mean streets of the Los Angeles suburb Diamond Bar.
Only in America.