EDITOR: I am responding to the article written by Charles Mudede titled "Thug Life" [May 2]. There are a lot of different angles one can take as to viewing Hiphop culture and its music, and I do not think that Charles took any angle that could have been seen as correct.
Number one, Hiphop and Rap are not two types of music. People often tend to try to compare the term "Hiphop" to underground Rap music, like Reflection Eternal or Slum Village, and try to compare "Rap" music to the mainstream, relating Rap to Ja Rule and DMX. But that is all incorrect. Hiphop is a culture. Rap is an element that branches out from the term Hiphop. Hiphop has four elements: Deejaying, Emceeing, Graffiti writing, and Breakdancing.
The culture needs to be viewed in a correct way instead of it being construed by the media into Rap and Hiphop. Not to say that what DMX and Ja Rule rap about is not reality, because do not get it twisted, it is. There are drugs being dispersed on the streets, there are women who are being taken advantage of and being used sexually, but it is in their faces. This is not made up, it is what they see and view in their everyday lives.
White suburban middle America tends to hover toward these stereotypes like they are cool, but it is not a joke and it is not just for entertainment. For the Black and minority audiences who listen and have lived in these urban settings can relate to their words.
Another issue I had about the article is the way the Hiphop scene is viewed in Seattle. Every TRUE Hiphop head in Seattle knows that you do not go to Funkdaddy's club night to hear real Hiphop, let alone not getting into a fight. Real Hiphop heads know that there are certain types of people at certain types of clubs. It is incorrect to make a statement saying when Black people gather in a club scene, there is definitely going to be one 'Thug' there. That has to be the most ignorant statement made for the year 2002!
There are ignorant people at all different kinds of music events. White people tend to get a little rowdy at rock concerts, and White kids tend to get crazy at Raves that have every drug known or thought of by the imagination. People need to stop viewing the 'Thug' as a hostile Black man, when in reality, there are White thugs, and Asian thugs, and so on. Hostile people are everywhere, you just shouldn't step on their toes.
Please Stranger, if you are going to have somebody write about the Hiphop culture in any way, please at least get a person who has lived its culture and way of life. It is obvious when somebody just writes about what they see in comparison to what they know. There is so much more I can say about this subject, but I think I covered all the main ground.
elleboogie, via e-mail
DON'T STICK ON ME
EDITOR: I hate SUVs with a passion and desperately wish Americans would exercise some good judgment as consumers without blindly buying into whatever the advertising industry pushes onto them. With this said, I think [SUV taggers] Jon and Dylan are cowards ["The Hunted," May 2]. While I respect their outrage at the alarming number of SUVs in Seattle and the surrounding areas, I think their energy is being misspent.
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine was visiting me on Capitol Hill from out of town, and to our dismay we found that his car had been tagged. Twice. I was embarrassed because he was my guest and his car had been vandalized outside of my apartment. According to Dylan and Jon there are three rules to this "sport," NONE of which were followed in this particular "hit." This hunting "sport" claims to target mammoth late-model SUVs (rules one and two). My friend's vehicle is a small truck. He owns it because he uses it to coach crew. There were two stickers put on, which must violate the "do not knowingly hit a car more than once" rule (rule three). To this day there is still evidence of one of the stickers on his bumper.
I sometimes have urges to rip certain bumper stickers off of cars because they are unbelievably offensive. I never, however, act on these urges. Altering someone else's property is vandalism, no matter how much their property upsets you.
Caitlin Foito, via e-mail
EDITOR: So Today's SUV editor, Carl Calvert, believes Robert Lind and Charles Dines should be penalized?
On the contrary, I think they should be given medals, along with anyone else who is willing to take direct, non-destructive action that brings attention to important issues like global warming, waste of resources, and air pollution.
Rather than penalizing people for correctly tagging the selfish consumer hogs, maybe we should start penalizing those who knowingly choose to contribute to the potentially devastating problem of global warming, increase levels of air pollution, deplete our natural resources and/or increase destruction of environmentally sensitive areas, decrease safety for the people who drive compact cars and get bowled into by rampaging SUVs, etc.
But of course, that's not the American way, is it Mr. Calvert? Corporate USA is always more interested in protecting "consumer" rights (i.e., the bottom lines of big corporations) than in saving lives, or safeguarding worker rights, the environment, clean air, and water.
Keep up the great work Lind, Dines, Jon and Dylan, and anyone else willing to hold a mirror to our gluttonous consumer culture. And put me first on the list for your club, because I know some great spots for hunting here in the north end.