Cruelly, the WSJ provides the real names of its interviewees whenever possible.
We must be in a recession: conspicuous consumption in hip-hop / rap / whatever they’re calling it this week is down. Way down. Via Mickey K:
After years of starring in rap-music lyrics and videos, “bling” is losing its ring.
The recession is cramping the style of hip-hop artists and wannabes — many of whom are finding it difficult to afford the diamond-encrusted pendants and heavy gold chains they have long used to project an aura of outsized wealth.
In an attempt to keep up appearances, celebrity jewelers say rappers are asking them to make medallions with less-precious stones and metals. Some even whisper that the artists have begun requesting cubic zirconia, the synthetic diamond stand-in and QVC staple.
Can you hold in your disappointment? Try to hold in your disappointment.
Look, in the grand scheme of things the bling is probably a lot less problematic than the rest of the negative stuff that you associate with this musical style, like the clumsy profanity, embrace of casual violence, willingness to cater to the worst externally-imposed racial and cultural stereotypes, and espousal of gutter misogyny. That being said, wearing bling made people look like…
Hold on (consulting my copy of the Urban Dictionary).
‘Pillocks.’ Yes. It made people look like pillocks. Not only the rappers themselves, but their fans, who would have to come up with substitutes on a very limited budget, with memorable results. I particularly remember* that one poor kid that I saw in the mall who was wearing a wall clock on his chest. And when I say ‘wall clock’ I mean one of these:
So. Think of the children, ye hip-hop… hoppers. Start wearing, I don’t know, chain mail or something. Big, heavy, shiny, gaudy, and cheap to make. Plus, it’ll stop a broadword.
*Much as I’d like to forget it. I’d also like to know what the kid’s mother was thinking, assuming of course that the poor woman wasn’t legally blind or something.