What’s tough to sell to the chitlin mentality is a musical act whose work ranges as far outside the angel/devil, profit/loss cage. Iconoclasts and outliers in any culture must work within their own niche-market ghetto. But African-American culture in particular makes it nearly impossible for all but the most indomitable visionaries to get their weirdness onto the main stage. Even eccentric, introspective rappers like Kanye West, Drake, Kid Kudi and B.o.B are sneaker and designer-watch salesmen as much as they are street poets.
To paraphrase Jay-Z, is this what we want?
Tyree says that we’re obsessed with the “sadistic turbulence” of constant strife and setbacks, like Mary J. Blige’s weakness for Mr. Wrong. I’m more interested in how this courtship with pathology came about. Who was the matchmaker?