Sunday, April 06, 2008

50 Cent and the National Symphony

Apparently, this brilliant Vitamin Water commercial aired last year, but I saw it for the first time tonight while watching UNC's painfull loss in the semifinals of the NCAA basketball tourney. I don't watch too much TV outside of March Madness. 50 Cent 'conducts' the 'National Symphony' in a mashup of Beethoven's 9th and his 'In Da Club.' A great way to impose their useless product on the young scene also proved a great way to comment on the esoteric, aged, and anachronistic orchestral tradition. It's pretty awesome. Rappers like 50 Cent are today's Beethovens, because performance/spectacle/bling took over compositional prowess long ago. This commercial hit the blogs a while back, so there are posts like this one, from an offended classical devotee. While seeming to favor the preservation of the orchestra as it stands today, which I am opposed to, he makes great points about the numerous racial stereotypes within the ad, and about 50's image. In particular: "...50 Cent, in the commercial, is only understood, only becomes truly himself, when he upends the great symphonic tradition, and inserts his voice." Much like graffiti, which is often associated with hip hop, it's an abrasive interruption, or superimposition, of one voice on top of another. I think part of the commercial's success is showing this process - how current pop music is entirely more powerful than even one of the most lauded classical composers in history. But at the same time, even these god-like pop figures are subject to major stereotypes and racism.

I love it when they show DJ Whoo Kid make the first viola take a hike. Whoo is the self-proclaimed 'Mixtape King', DJ of the group G-Unit (myspace), and host of his own radio show at Hot 97 in New York City. Whoo's myspace page features songs such as "Fucked Your Girl."

Check out some great outtakes:

Also in the world of hip hop media, watch this alternate take of Kanye West's new single, "Can't Tell Me Nothin," featuring bearded comedian Zach Galifianakis on lipsinc and Will Oldham on, well, being bald and in the background. Galilfianakis is from Wilkesboro, NC, and one of his two homes sits on the 60-acre farm where they filmed this video. The song is about money and motherfuckers and stuff like that. I'm not even gonna start analyzing this one right now. You can watch the original 'Can't Tell Me Nothin' video here.

No comments: