"[R]appers and rap groups in France are facing legal action after being accused by lawmakers of inciting the country’s riots through their raps. 200 lawmakers signed a petition on Wednesday (Nov. 23) that was co-signed by 152 Deputies and 49 Senators and presented to Justice Minister Pascal Clement, singling out seven rappers/groups. The rap groups could face legal action and are specifically accused of inciting racism and hatred. The petitions sponsor, Francois Grosdidier, claims rap music conditions listeners who could become violent in the future."-- Allhiphop.com, November 23
"American ghetto life, at least as portrayed in rap videos, now defines for the young, poor and disaffected what it means to be oppressed. Gangsta resistance is the most compelling model for how to rebel against that oppression. If you want to stand up and fight The Man, the Notorious B.I.G. shows the way.This is a reminder that for all the talk about American cultural hegemony, American countercultural hegemony has always been more powerful. America's rebellious countercultural heroes exert more influence around the world than the clean establishment images from Disney and McDonald's. This is our final insult to the anti-Americans; we define how to be anti-American, and the foreigners who attack us are reduced to borrowing our own clichés." [read the full Brooks piece]
The food court at Jaam-e Jam, an upscale shopping mall in north Tehran, looks like a shopping-mall food court anywhere, with its colorful plastic chairs attached to glass-topped tables. An array of counters sell fast food that is billed as Mexican or Italian but invariably tastes more or less Persian. Nevertheless, it is one of the more expensive places to eat in Tehran, and it is a gathering spot for fashionable Iranian girls, who come in their skimpiest hijabs. I saw young women wearing three-quarter-length sleeves, cropped pants, and high-heeled sandals. One young woman had a sequinned purse and a tight denim manteau that had jeans-style pockets on the backside.A man who asked to be identified as Arash, a twenty-five-year-old from an upper-middle-class family, was trying to help me identify “Javads”—a common male name that has become derisive slang among Iranian youth for people who, as Arash put it, “think they’re very modern and very cool and great but are not.”“Five years ago, the sure sign of a Javad was driving a Nissan Maxima,” he explained. “In non-Javad communities, that was a sign that your dad was a motherfucker who had become very rich after the revolution, but who was from apoor-culture family.” Today, with the relaxing of the dress codes, Iran’s nouveaux riches are harder to spot, but Arash offered some additional examples: “A girl who has some enormous makeup that’s unnecessary for the situation, high heels, but she’s a virgin and has no boyfriend and wants an arranged marriage. Or a person who looks very modern but can’t speak English, and who likes Farsi music from Los Angeles.”For Arash, who has never been to the United States, being truly modern was all about being American. Born the year after the revolution, he speaks profane but excellent English, littered with slang he has gleaned from contraband hip-hop. The rappers 50 Cent and The Game surely never imagined that the line “the underdog’s on top,” from “Hate It or Love It,” a gleeful rap about their own success, would capture the frustration of the onetime Iranian élite under the rule of backward mullahs. But, to Arash, American hip-hop is rich with Iranian social criticism.-- From "Fugitives: Young Iranians confront the collapse of the reform movement," written by Times op-ed page editor Laura Secor in the New Yorker, November 21, 2005.