Or stupid, or daft, or illin’ or whatev the rugrats are saying today.
Yet poetry sales have been in the doldrums for years. Small presses are experiencing ever tighter purse strings, GCSE syllabuses contain less and less of the same stale verse, and besides the odd anthology of love poems, the general populace’s main exposure to poetry is though Clinton Cards. Hip-hop, on the other hand, goes from strength to strength. A recent article in the New Statesman on Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent’s latest efforts went so far as to say that the latter’s track Ghetto Quran outdid anything produced by Keats. While the greatest props an MC can receive is to be called a “poet” – such plaudits are now standard for Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls – maybe our poets could actually learn something from hip-hop’s ability to sell itself.
Word to your mothah… Wait, that’s not the kind of hip they mean, right? Less vanilla, more ice, is that it? I went shopping for jeans with Ninja K yesterday and when we couldn’t find anything I liked at the hip shops, she took me to the Levis store. I cut straight to the chase. “I’m old and suspicious of anything different. I want dark blue jeans without and wrinkles or creases or fading or holes. I just want some fucking red tabs.” They had to go into storage to get them. No room for plain jeans on the shelf. The whole wall opened like a scene from The Matrix and there they were, in cold storage, perhaps suspended animation, much like my fashion sense. It was sad and awe inspiring at the same time.