Run DMC: Run for It

DESPITE WHAT you may have read, there is no such thing as a monolithic black American style. The attempt to pigeonhole black creativity into narrow avenues of economic and emotional predisposition is nowhere more apparent than in music, where mavericks must overcome tremendous commercial bias. With rap music, which barrelled out of America’s urban environments in the late Seventies, full of the sass and sexual vigor that had all but vanished from disco, commercial acceptance was slow but inevitable. While rock reworked creaky cliches and disco lay dying, the energetic, agile imaginations that animated street-party music were having big fun. Aggressive young Jewish and Italian entrepreneurs who’d capitalised first on the girl group era, then on disco, were now — as critic Aaron Fuchs once put it — selling quickie rap records out of the backs of their station wagons. Continue reading “Run DMC: Run for It”

Kid Creole & the Coconuts: To the Life Boats

“Strange, how potent cheap music is.”
— Noel Coward, Private Lives

AUGUST DARNELL, master of glib sophistry, is back again. Look over last year’s notices: amid the wisecracks, the nonsense and the slander there are glimmers of truth . . . but nothing that even vaguely resembles a straight answer. The Kid Creole world is rich in innuendo and intelligence, but few writers have come close to describing the Real Deal. It is neither tea party nor revolution, so neither the party crowd nor the revolutionaries have properly assessed its triumphs and its failures. Continue reading “Kid Creole & the Coconuts: To the Life Boats”