**flashback to 2001**
the champ was returning from the mall with a few of his teammates, listening to wblk and ranking the ass-to-waist ratios of hispanic sophomores on campus discussing scouting reports when they all heard a faint “f*ck jay-z” on the radio.
stunned, they killed their convo and turned the radio up, each of them literally awestruck as they listened to nas’s “ether” for the first time.
for the next few months, the nas vs jay-z discussion would dominate hip-hop america, its debate the main topic of discussion at every corner, cafeteria, dormroom and utility closet. everyone had an opinion, and everyone had a laundry list of reasons on command to strengthen their argument
thing is, for most people with a vested interest in the battle, this debate had nothing to do with which artist was “nicer” or whose catalog was greater and everything to do with public validation of their own personal worldview.
you see, in the heart of most nas supporters hearts (myself included), they really didnt care if the blueprint was a better album than stillmatic (it was) or if ether was a better track than “the takeover” (it wasn’t).
they just didn’t want to be seen as a jay-z person, because being the type of person who rooted for jay meant that you also stood for unadulterated capitalism, anti-intellectualism, pretentiousness, nafta, power windows, brothels, and the cheescake factory. also, more importantly, they didn’t want the “jay-z people” to win
never mind the fact that the real life nas is, by most accounts, an arrogant pseudo-intellectual assh*le, or that being dogmatically anti-pretentious is the epitome of pretentiousness, the debate was bigger than both of them.
it was a clash of classes, a crunch of competing cultures where symbols and principals take precedence over facts. where why you’re fighting matters infinitely more than who and what you’re fighting for. where carmen bryan is still a slut became hip-hop’s pattie boyd.
as i reflected on this, i began to think of other popular debates where the principal matters more than the actual facts, where where you stand depends more on your worldview and what each side represents than how you actually feel about each side, and a few came to mind.
mac vs pc
***despite the fact that my comp has more viruses than luvvies feet (and i live two blocks away from an apple store), i’ve stuck with my dell pc out of exaggerated cheapness principal***
nba vs college basketball
***seriously, if a person claims to be a basketball fan, this is the single most important question you can ask them. their answer (and reasoning behind it) will tell you everything you need to know regarding their feelings about race, politics, patriarchy, mimimum wage, p*ssy, womanism, the aclu, their parents, and free chicken***
natural vs perm
“destination cities” (nyc, l.a., atl, mia, d.c., etc) vs everywhere else
alicia keys vs beyonce
***even before the thundergoat and the camel got hitched, people who sided with beyonce in this debate also usually sided with jay-z. point being, we’re all frauds***
whole foods (and trader joes) vs local supermarket chains
kobe bryant vs all thats good with humanity
ok, thats enough from me right now. people of vsb.com, did i miss any?