Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hypatia of Alexandria/Madgalene on Hip-Hop/Eddie Boy

Hypatia of Alexandria

She is after all only a woman, thus is she taken over
by what men refer to as a mere idea.
However she, Hypatia, as woman, contains and embraces
this idea as her own and has given to it birth,
makes the idea fully her own darling while men, particularly holy men,
cannot fathom the beingness of this basal conception,
the very texture of this woman’s selfhood.

Imagine yourself a Greek Christian man
here in the early 5th century.
Hypatia, daughter of an Alexandrian mathematician,
espousing a uniquely threatening view of harmony as her own
as if she had any right to own anything when such a blasphemy
would fancy a self with rights like ownership.
But what these Christian men really despise more than reason is
just how cocksure Hypatia pretends to be when, as a scientist,
she “confuses” harmony with oneness and declares the one,
the neo-platonist one, to be something
personal and dwelling within her.
So they brand her a “pagan.”
The saintly Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria,
declares himself to be without choice, but choice after all
is a matter of ownership, something though forbidden women,
Cyril himself relishes like gold leaf, covering himself amply with it.

It is much simpler to gull men
by planting paganism’s pretension to godhood
in the corpse of this woman Hypatia
by eliminating her debauched effigy
completely forever by incineration
after furiously pulling her from her chariot,
denuding her, cutting her with shells into pieces
and finally burning these shards of Hypatia
who not only symbolizes but who is fully
in harmony with herself, who owns her oneness,
who knows all ideas to be part of who she is,
this basic uncompromising lamentably unknown but
fully knowing woman.

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David Madgalene sent me this thoughtful piece. I've added the Nas video in order to help those of you who aren't into rap and may need the audio-visual aid. But also, if you're hip to hop, enjoy anyway.

Here's Nas with "HipHop Is Dead"

The Salvation of Hip Hop
by David Madgalene (October 6, 2010)

Hip Hop has been the only true defense of rhyme and meter in my lifetime. I’m sorry, but the New Formalists have failed to make their case. However, ironically, perhaps, during the administration of our first Hip Hop President, Hip Hop appears to be dying, if, indeed, it’s not already dead, as Nas and others have already proclaimed. There is nothing unusual or untoward in this since branches of Popular Music seem to run in thirty-year cycles before exhausting themselves. For example, the 20s were the Jazz Age, the 30s were the Swing Era, and the 40s was the Big Band Era. Although be bop and cool jazz and a number of other innovations followed in the late forties and after, Jazz could never again claim to be the popular music. Rock and Roll was the Popular Music in the 50s, and Rock was the popular music of the 60s and ‘70s (at least, until, perhaps the coming of Disco).

The Eighties are problematic. 80s’ Rock was a Rock clearly in decline. R & B, nor Country, never was the popular music. I can’t make a case for Dance Music, since the leading exemplars of Dance Music, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince, made so many records that weren’t Dance Music. Although Hip Hop may or may not have been the bona-fide popular music of the 80s, I have no recourse but to champion it in this light since it was the only popular music that, in the 80s, was in its ascendency, and not decline. So I’m proposing the first great seminal outpouring of Hip Hop coming out of the New York in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s by the late ‘80s becomes the Popular Music (for my purposes, and in lieu of any true contenders), and, the Popular Music, which, in its turn, is reinvented via the mid ‘90s by the West Coast Rappers, and then is reinvented yet again in the early years of the New Millennium by Eninem, who, in the agony of his genius albeit his pathology, unwittingly captures the horrific zeitgeist of the Bush II-Cheney years.

The star-making apparatus of Hip Hop is broken, and, I think, very few, if any of us, will mourn the passage of corporate-sponsored Hip Hop. My concern is not so much the salvation of Hip Hop as the opportunity that now presents itself for poets for all kinds. I propose that Hip Hop now abandon the archaic and anachronistic rhyme and meter. I propose a Free Verse Poetics Hip Hop. And, taking my cue from World Music in specific and World Hip Hop in particular, I propose an influx of world, but in especial, Latino rhythms to provide the beats (if any beats can support Free Verse Hip Hop, then it must be Latino beats). I am thinking of all genres of World Latino music, and would dismiss none out of hand, however, I am, honestly, most especially thinking of Afro-Cuban beats...although I am also enamored of the possibilities presented by the proposition of a Free Verse Poetics Hip Hop Flamenco.

Followers of Latino Hip Hop know that I am suggesting nothing new since there are already Spanish language proponents of such nascent genres. What I am suggesting that perhaps is new, at least in theory if not necessarily practice, is for Poets of all languages, but not just English and Spanish, to adopt Latino rhythms for audio presentations of their poems. I do not discourage poets from making videos of their Free Verse Latino Beat Hip Hop, but I prefer, at least for now, that the basis on our new poetics and Hip Hop be firmly rooted in what we hear and not what we see!

Now I know that some of my Latino Rapper friends may take exception with these remarks. “Who is this gringo who seeks to appropriate my culture and give it away for nothing?” I can almost hear them ask. Well, friends, when you have something that’s so hot, then it no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the world. Yes, it’s true, African-Americans invented Jazz and the Blues and Rock and Roll and Hip Hop and just about every other form of Popular Music, but, in time, these musics became the true property of the world. And who more than Latinos have benefited from Jazz? And, yes, friends, even us gringos, normally known as being so rapacious (and perhaps rightly so), nonetheless, have we gringos not given the world Shakespeare and Bob Dylan and Aesop and the Beatles and Abba, just to name a few?

In other words, forget everything you know! Especially, forget everything you know about Hip Hop and Poetry! What if Hip Hop were nothing but a 30-year prelude to the Renaissance of Poetry as the People’s Popular Art? The “higher Vaudeville” that Vachel Lindsay imagined, but did not live to see? The answer is Free Verse Poetics Hip Hop with Latino Beats!

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I've long been attracted to fruit crate labels, so I decided to paint my own changing a more typical "Andy Boy" to "Eddie Boy." I hope you like these plus another painting or two, all of which, of course are f0r sale. Titles in order are "Apples," "Orange," "Evolving," and "Paddle."

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Luci Edwards said...

Interesting, the David Madgalene piece, I'd like to put him into dialogue with my twin sons who are hip hop historians. I would find it interesting to have rap without rhyme and of course there is plenty of Cuban, and other rap coming out of Latin America. I wouldn't classify Flamenco as Latino, its roots are basically Spanish, though many a South American and Central American play damned good flamenco guitar, but it's an import for them. The thing is that as the rhythm and rhyme change it will gradually become something "else" and the hip hop rap label will change to a new name and it will be a new music. True hip hop just has those rhymes at that beat. I was discussing it with one of my son's lately and he says, but that strong beat is just the hip hop beat. If you or anyone else is interested, I suggest you connect with my son Brendan's facebook page: Brendan Edwards of Montreal and you'll be brought up to date fast enough.

Many things are always dying
in name only, in name only
nothing ever does really
or always does inevitably
and then there is that always
just born new beginning
springing from the old ending
set that to a beat.

Ed Sutcliffe said...

Wow, a real collection of some very interesting stuff although I must say Hip Hop and car hops are not my thing - thanks for sending.