The saddening death of Baton Rouge rapper Nu$$ie (WAFB story) this week led me to this proposal: I would like to see a Mardi Gras parade centered around our city’s formidable hip-hop community, running down the center of Plank Road, to stand as a celebration of the community that fosters it. It is easy to reduce hip-hop to a base list of profanity and misogyny because, honestly, the music does a lot of the work for you, but that is a gross simplification. Hip hop is like every other folk music, it rises out of the suffering of the people that sing it. It mirrors the rough realities the rest of us (I’m making some presumptions about the demographic of my readers, I know) congratulate ourselves daily on not having to endure. We might have fears that a stray bullet is going to come through our window, but we aren’t expecting that as a actual possibility. For a lot of people in the communities out of which the ratatat beats and motormouth MC’s arise, it is a reality.
And I’m so naïve to suggest that a parade with fix anything. I’m saying I would love to see a demonstration of grandeur from these crews, a celebration of what they’ve achieved as a grass roots cultural movement. Lil Boosie just got added to Young Jeezy’s nationwide “The Recession Tour.” Last year Webbie had a top ten song “Independent” about women taking charge of their lives, and yet the first time most of us ever hear a local rapper’s is when they are arrested or shot. I want to see the spectacle these outsize personalities can conjure up in the name of celebrating who they are and where they are going.
And while I’m asking, please include the Unique Dance Team and grant them a budget to blow our minds. Glitter. Lasers, I don’t know. A mobile Solid Gold dance floor on a flatbed truck. Sky’s the limit. The Unique Dancers are my favorite feature in the Baton Rouge night parades and I’d like to see them take it to the next level.
Until that happens, we will have to suffice with the splendor of Spanish Town Mardi Gras on Saturday, and these offerings.
Wednesday, Feb. 18
The Alternate Routes at Chelsea’s
Keller Williams at The Varsity
Shat!, Hostile Takeover, Dry Socket, and Pyledriver at North Gate Tavern
Thursday, Feb. 19
New Delta Review Benefit with King Catfish Bingo Club and the Belly Rubs, Flatbed Honeymoon, Uberphonics, and Michael Graber at Teddy’s Juke Joint
The Pine Leaf Boys at Chelsea’s
Flow Tribe at The Varsity
If I Were a Battleship, Anavie, The Hitchhiker, and Light Up District at North Gate Tavern
Friday, Feb. 20
Gregg Wright at Teddy’s Juke Joint
Red Stick Ramblers and Mario Matteoli at Chelsea’s
Long Neck Society at the Varsity
Jordan Earles & Ryan Jenkins and The Circuit Breakers at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s
Saturday, Feb. 21
Gal Holiday at the Red Star
Bryan Lee at teddy’s Juke Joint
k-flux at Chelsea’s
Polk Presents: A Tribute to Radiohead’s Pablo Honey at North Gate Tavern
Randy & Everett and Joe hall & The Louisiana Cane Cutters at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s
Sunday, Feb. 22
Diddley Squat at Teddy’s Juke Joint