Byron Crawford's history of Dr. Dre is the best thing I've read on Medium


#1

[Read the post]


#2

Well, that was something.


#3

I’m actually struggling with what to think about it. I like his points about the exploitation of black artists by the recording industry historically, and I appreciate his at times on point criticism of the individuals involved, especially Dre… but at times the tone is a little off-putting, especially in some of the comments about women. Probably not a view that most people have of NWA (through a more historical lens, which takes the overall ickiness of the recording industry into account), though and Death Row Records more generally.


#4

Didn’t hold my interest. Is that a criticism of it or me?


#5

I don’t think it’s a criticism of you at all. People like what they like…


#6

Apparently the discussion over street harassment is racist (it certainly can be, but this suggests that hollaback discussions by black women are embodying white racism / self-hatred?) and assaulting a woman is wrong but understandable (she WAS rather “disrespectful” after all), and AIDS jokes are hilarious?

The story would’ve been much more interesting without the stupid op-ed comments. If this is a subtle troll, I’d rather it be less of a Poe.


#7

Yeah, that’s what I’m struggling with, exactly, precisely what you mention.


#8

Sidestepping the tarted-up"Dre was a ho" posturing and ha ha only serious love notes to machismo, it was a good read.


#9

pretty sure Crawford’s avatar is Ahmedinejad? I spelled that wrong, but yeah.

Other than to say that I liked the article all the way around, I was pleased to read his opinions about 2Pac and The Chronic, which are usually held as hip-hop sacraments. Was not feeling that album nor 2Pac generally except the stuff he did with Digital Underground, and for the same reasons that he highlighted; which for me at the time were just vague industry-outsider opinions since I was a seventeen-year-old honky from Nashville, so everyone assumed I was “wrong” or “not with the times.” Nope. So, that was particularly nice, to me.


#10

Why is this article blocked on my computer? It’s really fucking annoying


#11

There was lots of cursing in the article. Does your company have an aggressive filter?


#12

In exploring author Byron Crawford’s personal blog, it seems one of the beats he likes to cover, besides hip-hop, is the objectification of young women. So, I don’t recommend that any seek out his blog unless that’s your kinda thing.

It helps me to understand this piece, though, which covers a particular era of hip-hop with such passion and authenticity, laced with jarring misogyny and casual homophobia.


#13

Yeah, the first thing that came up when googling is a diss on all gay rappers and non-lesbian female rappers. Because they weren’t manly enough for his interests. Oh well.


#14

I found it interesting when the story came out last fall, but very difficult to look past a lot of the problematic theories and opinions on women, like this:

Albums like Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and Niggaz4Life kicked off an era in which rap album reviews mostly seemed to consists of girls bitching and moaning about how rap music is disrespectful to women, as if that tells me whether or not the music is any good—a style of hip-hop journalism that persists, at least to a certain degree, to this day.

The white guys who owned and ran publications like The Source and The Village Voice were more than happy to have someone explain why a black man is not worth a shit, for reasons that may not have had anything to do with their support for the black woman’s cause. They’d pit black feminists against black men the same way Jerry Heller pit Dr. Dre against Ice Cube. If black feminists realized this, they weren’t about to let it stop them from cashing those ‘90s hip-hop journalism checks. The current debate about “street harassment” operates under a similar dynamic.

His follow-up piece, called Beatings By Dre, also manages to take some legit and terrible claims from victims and put it under the Crawford filter of sexism, homophobia, victim blaming, and even basic ignorance between the difference between domestic violence and violence against women in general.


#15

Not bad for a first post. :smile:

Welcome.


#16

I can appreciate the humor, though I recognize that it makes a lot of people uncomfortable (including me at certain parts.) What I find more annoying is how the op-ed parts (although funny) veer into pure speculation (“Eventually, someone stole Lonzo’s car that Dr. Dre was driving, went for a joyride in it, and probably used it either to kill a hooker or to knock over a convenience store.”-- that’s kinda funny, but is it supported by anything?) This is supposed to be a history of Dre, but the humor aspect makes me wonder how much I should accept as factual.


#17

This is from his person blog. I am experiencing cognitive dissonance over this because I can’t really make sense of what I read. Performance art? Irony? A simple lack of editing? I feel like I need some sort of decoder ring to make sense of this person and kinda well written but completely tone-deaf words:

I run a website – perhaps you’ve heard of it – called ByronCrawford.com: The Mindset of a Champion, in which I educate today’s youth on some of the most important issues of our time, including racism, homophobia, healthy living, respect for women, tolerance for religion, and who really runs the music business.

A committed feminist, I donate as much money as I can afford to, and sometimes more, to underprivileged female college students in a small, rural town called Sauget, Illinois. Because as far as I’m concerned, it’s one thing to talk about it on the Internet, but it’s a whole other thing to put your money where your mouth is. Literally.

And this from his Ferguson coverage:

At least one chick I follow seemed to be pro-Darren Wilson, but there’s no way I could unfollow her, because her body is incredible even relative to other girls who can make a living just posting pictures of themselves on the Internets. #priorities


#18

This was a very interesting article although I was pretty put off at times with some of the overly folksy writing. It was as if he was just trying too hard to imbue some cleverness.


#19

Wonderful? Really?

First of all, who starts a rap label with $1.5 million, in addition to however much Suge extorted from Vanilla Ice? You start a rap label to make $1.5 million. And I’d be willing to bet only a small percentage of rappers ever make that much money. It’s not in a black man’s nature to have access to that kind of cash and not just spend it on tennis shoes and eating most of your meals at TGI Friday’s, like Allen Iverson.


#20

Here’s Dee Barnes on Straight Outta Compton. Seems like a good companion piece to Crawford’s. Where Crawford goes for witty and comical references, Barnes puts the women back into the historical narrative with gritty realism and lots of links.