As I was watchin, I paused to read dis cat's tshirt ("OUR TAXES PAY 4 COPS WHO PROTECT BANKING ELITES BOYCOTT FEDERAL RESERVE" - dat's some convoluted shit, bruh bruh). After digesting dat white-T agitprop, I noticed a curious figure in da background. In the midst of A$AP's "mobbin with the crew" moment, a staple of da NYC rap video, one notices a chubby white dude in a swagless outfit consisting of a purple shirt, khaki shorts and I dunno, probably dem clunky-ass New Balances. He even got a bitchass totebag or some shit slung over his shoulder, probably from Whole Foods or some wack wine store that don't even sell Mad Dog 20/20. Typical NYC yuppie. Wasn't there an editor who could've ixnayed this simp?
Now we all know A$AP ain't exactly the most thugged-out cat on the block, but does this not in itself reflect the gentrification of his native city? I means, take a look at a MOBB DEEP or JAY-Z or WU-TANG or BLACK MOON video that features mobbin shots. Ain't no white yuppies accidentally steppin in the frame!
FIGURES II & III
Now these two images is, respectively, from M.O.P.'s "Ante Up" video and GROUP HOME's "Supa Star" video, precursors to the mobbin-in-front-of-da-bodega trope that A$AP's "Peso" continues. These dudes look hard (no homo) - good heavens, da cat on the right in the GROUP HOME video is in the act of drinking a 40 oz. of malt liquor! - and contextually, it's hard to imagine they would let a NPR-listening poindexter pass without some form of rude commentary and/or public humiliation.
What's the basis for this change? Does NYC's gentrification coincide with NYC hip-hop's own cultural gentrification? A$AP occasionally raps about some street shit, but it's usually half-hearted and unconvincing. His thematic focuses are swag, fashion, and exploring the multi-layered Pretty Motherfucker persona. All da aforementioned '90/early-'00s rappers were decidedly on some street shit; fashion for them was limited to KARL KANI or FUBU. Is this shift in subject matter rooted in da gentrification of the artist's surroundings? Is it a sign of racial progress that soft white cats can stroll breezily through a Harlem video shoot and not be hassled by a young black rapper and his posse? Was the purple shirt dude in FIGURE I actually gettin heckled but blocked it out by listening to his IRA GLASS podcast? And where was the video editor for all of this?
IDK. The world is changing. There are ski slopes here in Jackson Hole that I wouldn't have dared sully my Salomons with just a few years ago - now I can shred the gnar without having to clutch my purse close or look over my back. CHUUUUCH!