columns: According to My Sources


Gangsta Rap Claims Journo: From the Feather Leather Weather Archives

By a Gossiping Bitch on November 27th, 2013

Feather Leather Weather

Rap blogging is generally thought to have launched in the early 2000s, reaching its apex of influence in the mid to late part of the decade, earning the eternal gratitude of the talentless everywhere (mostly southern rappers). Gossiping Bitches has uncovered a previously unrecognized piece of internet hip-hop history, the first rap blog. The Feather Leather Weather predates all rap blogs, and even the notion of expressing inconsequential opinions on the internet itself. Yes, that far back!

In this edition of the FLW archives, a dark time in rap journalism is recalled with the case of rap blogger Infinitezimal. Though not noticed at the time, the series of FLW posts below reveal a narrative of the tension between writers and rappers that often resulted in writers being intimidated or physically attacked for their published opinions.

You see, long ago there was a subgenre of rap music known as “Gangster Rap,” or by its alternate spelling “Gangsta Rap.” It was invented by a refrigerator in Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin But a G Thang” video. It dealt with themes of violence, partying, and narcissism, previously unexplored in pop culture. It also had an element of organized crime involved in every level from talent to record label executives, also something completely unheard of in the music business before Gangsta Rap. Pretty much every horrible thing can be traced to it and only it, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

For its part, rap media had a precarious relationship with Gangsta Rap. Writers wanted to continue saying what they thought about rappers without being murdered, and gangsta rappers wanted writers to help them sell their records or just die. The FLW was no exception to this dynamic as the selected mid 90s posts below show. Note the subtle editorial shift that could very well mark the point when rap journalistic independence died (along with some dude, probably).

July 9, 1996
Posted by Infinitezimal

It took a minute to organize my thoughts upon hearing the waste of plastic that is the new T.M.I. (Terror Mafia International) CD. First of all, lamest name in the game, guys, on the real. Anyways, Streetz Honor Code, Vol. 1 is derivative, pretentious and wholly without merit. It would actually make a fun game asking people who they think Mafia is biting, because you’d get a good idea of what their fandom biases are. A Wu fan would say Wu. A ‘Kast fan would say ‘Kast. A Bad Boy fan would say…ah, who the fuck cares what they would say because they are RUINING HIPHOP. But that’s a conversation for another time. The point is Mafia bites everybody. Every rap trend is represented in a craven attempt to appeal to everybody. You like jeep beats? They got those. Enjoying the G-funk Era? Got those! You like R&B crossover love raps? Those is so gotten LL would be proud/ashamed. You like Puffy Combs-produced glam rap? Fuck you, but yeah, they got those too.

A-to-the-D, The Renegade Jew

The hip-hop arms race continues with the lyrical content on the album. These guys have all manner of weaponry, like they’re gonna crew up and chopper the fuck down to the Sudan for some payback. Ha! I’d like to see that! Guess what, “hardcore” rappers? Real life is way more fucked up and “real” than your fairy tales of the “streets”! You’re lucky to grow up in the U.S.A.! Women, of course, are subjected to bizarre kinky acts and violence, making me wonder about the women who appear on the album, singing hooks. Bitch, who cares about your heart? Get away from the crime scene you’re lingering at, first off! And be more discerning about the dudes you’re with, preferably ones who aren’t homicidal maniacs that raise the odds of you getting sliced or shot to Scorcese movie levels. The misogyny in rap is out of control, but chicks don’t seem to get that. They just keep ignorantly listening to it, like they don’t even know what’s good for them, and it disgusts me.

I have been unfairly accused of “hating” the groups I write critically about. In this case it is warranted, as I HATE these guys. Also, I would be mad REMISS not to mention that the only reason they got put on was their connection to a certain rap mag that will go unnamed (rhymes with Crap Sages). Everyone rightly ignored their demo 2 years ago, and was continuing to ignore the promo copy of their album, yet SOMEHOW they get all kinds of positive articles and a review in one of the best known magazines, whose publishers include a “homey of a homey” of the group. No one says shit because they’re all afraid of these dudes, but FUCK ALL THAT! I keep it realer than the realest actual real thing you can think of. Like, look at your hand. I’m realer! Now slap yourself. That’s the words I’m writing! Peace.

July 10, 1996
Posted by Infinitezimal

Now, the SupaFriendz, that’s a rap collective I can get behind. I interviewed Mad Skillz after his New Year’s show here and he was really cool. He had an incredible memory of all the important things that happened last year and kept randomly bringing them up. Like Earth 2! I forgot all about that shit! I told him he should flip that, but he said it’d be too corny. Rappers should listen to me!

July 11, 1996
Posted by Infinitezimal

Okay, so everyone is on my case about my T.M.I. post the other day. Let me address some of the arguments I am hearing:

– The women issue. Look, I don’t know if some of my female readers have learning disabilities causing reading comprehension problems, but I was speaking out AGAINST sexism. That means I’m not sexist BY DEFINITION. Calm your emotions down and read the piece slowly until you realize what I’m trying to tell you.

Mixed Tape Mansion

– One thing that keeps coming up is that I am not “of the culture” and therefore can’t write about rap. Has anybody saying that been to a Sam Goody or Virgin or Best Buy or any place other than the streets that sells rap recently? The culture is in these stores buying rap, and I am well repped in that set, believe that.

– Some anonymous calls from purported members of the Mafia informed me in less than polite language that I am way off base about the crew’s industry ties and intimidating behavior towards the media. Then they threatened me. If I don’t give a positive review, they’re gonna do such and such to me.

– They’re still wack. 1/5 stars, motherfuckers.

July 12, 1996
Posted by Infinitezimal

I’m nervous, no lie. Strange cars driving slow by my building. Like, outside right now. Strange man in a strange Land.

Oh shit, that was good, right? Think of shit like that all the time. I easily could have been a punchline rapppppppppppyyyyyyyyywwwwwwwwqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq

bullssssjersey jeanssssssssssssssss
doooorrrrrrrrrraggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg uuuuuuuuuuuuu

July 19, 1996
Posted by DJ Dicey

Yo! Dice-1, here. I’m new to Feather Leather Weather and we are getting this party back started after being out of pocket for a bit. I want to kick this off with an in depth analysis of the hottest group on the streets right now, the mufukin Terror Mafia!

Terror Mafia International

Now, full disclosure: I am a club DJ who has performed at Mafia events in the past, and my cousin manages them.* With that out of the way, y’all need to cop that album, in stores right now!

The beats is off the hook, as well as the chain. They got joints for the hard rocks, for the suburbanites, and for the ladies. And the rhymes always on point. Rappers J-KNIFE, B-Shotz, and Perilous always give you the real, the hardcore street perspective missing in rap right now. Plus, they got all the club bangers to dance to, and the laid back smooth songs for the lovers out there. Not to mention they got a song dedicated to their mamas that will put tears in your eyes.

The whole FLW offices are buzzing about this album in a big way. When I first rolled up, they already had it playing on repeat for the duration. That’s keepin’ it real! Many of the writers have let me know personally how much they love the Mafia, asking if I can hook up autographs and all that. Chill, guys, I don’t know them like that! Diggin’ the enthusiasm, though!

So, come on people, let’s make it hot for T.M.I. this summer! Call the stations and media outlets, and tell them you want Mafia all day every day, or we** comin’ to get ’em!

*Also, one of them is the father to my sister’s child.

**Meaning us fans of T.M.I.

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