Saturday, January 10, 2009

Re-appropriation and "Arab Money"

So I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, but the tangled web of "Arab Money" keeps getting crazier and more complicated.

First up, I was having dinner at a friends house and he was telling me that while teaching his undergrad class they started talking about "Arab Money" and whether it was offensive and if so how. The responses were mixed but one story stuck in my head. One of the young women told the class that she went out to a hip hop club and that while she was on line a Hummer pulled up blasting "Arab Money" and a "bunch of young Arabs" rolled out "really feeling themselves. That was their song."

There is something interesting about that story in terms of the way that certain forms of self/re-appropriation are playing out as a desire for visibility and recognition in mainstream hip hop culture. That brings us to our second serving of food for thought...

Bless' comedy remix/redo "Hebrew Money." Bless plays on a number of tropes about Jews, money, and spend thrift.

I haven't worked it out yet but there is an interesting triangulation between Arabs, Blacks, and Jews around issues of race, class, and relationships with money and hip hop culture that "Arab Money" and all its various permutations brings to the fore. Its especially interesting to have a song explicitly talking about glamorous images of "Arab life" at a time when Palestinians are experiencing such danger and terror.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The "feeling themselves" angle reminds me of the desi reaction to hip-hop's bollywood/bhangra fetish a few years back.

As for that strange triangulation you describe, let's not forget that it wasn't long ago that Busta rapped "We gettin money with whoever - even the Jews."