It’s the 10th anniversary of Clipse’s Lord Willin’. Inspired by my brother’s piece about the album in its time for Stereogum, I dug up this essay I wrote for The Philadelphia Independent on “Grindin’” and drug lingo. It’s not online, so major thanks to B. Michael Payne for this rather unorthodox reconstruction. Click to enlarge and read.
What I Learned
Bryant Gumbel uses a plantation analogy—sorry, he doesn’t really think the NBA is a plantation—and sensation ensues. Bill Simmons employs a insider-y business term, a week after harping on how little college the players attended, and “Twitter” seizes on its nastier connotations. So basically, any language connected to slavery freaks out white people, and writers who use millionaire jargon can’t expect their audience to know exactly what they mean. Wait a minute, that’s not right. Case #1: The language of slavery makes some people uncomfortable because it shows the speaker still has those dark days as a point of reference. Case #2: Corporate-speak tells you all you need to know about the aspirations, and sympathies, of a writer.
Trust me, I know how hard it is. Do you know hard it’s been for me to adjust to the popular usage of “deconstruction”? One of the pitfalls of communicating with a wider audience, I guess.