Re: [rumori] Dre finally sued

From: Steev Hise (
Date: Mon Nov 04 2002 - 10:08:36 PST

on Mon, 4 Nov 2002 Bob Boster told me:

>If you don't/can't reap any financial rewards from the work, and you are
>not taking anything out of the pocket of the artist, then I see nothing any
>MORE exploitative about using something from a local village gamelan than I
>do from an 1973 IBM commercial. In the semiotic universe, a sign is a sign
>is a sign...

ooh! Bob, i'm suprised to hear this from you. i can't agree,
unless we define "exploitation" very narrowly. But I think the
effects go way beyond simply the lack of fair monetary

It's good that you mention semiotics because that's exactly where
the additional effects occur: beyond the financial, and into the
realm of mythologies. Whenever you sample anything in a new
work and anyone else hears/views it, you create ripples in the
"semiotic ocean", so to speak, and the bigger the audience for
your work, the bigger those ripples are. You alter signs when
you mess with them, and that's precisely why lots of us do it,
right? When we alter signs we tweak connotations, stereotypes,
public conceptions, worldviews. So you need to be careful! Even
if you're not (trying?) to make money, you're still having an

One experiences it over and over: appropriations alter the
conception and perception of the source material. Who here can
listen to U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" without
thinking of Negativland's "U2"? Hell, I can't even listen to
Perez Prado anymore without thinking of Senor Coconut!
These are just some gross, simple examples. Most of the time
we're exposed to more subtle and cumulative "ripples."

Look at the Truth Hurts video; like Jon said, "Edward Said's
'Orientalism' AGAIN." It's a near-dizzying array of stereotype
perpetuation. They're making more than money, they're making
MEANINGS - inside teen (and adult) hip-hop fans HEADS. I'm not
saying that they're doing this on purpose, like it's some kind of
brainwashing conspiracy. Ultimately the motivation happens to be
money. But the effects involve more than money, and the effects
can occur even when you're not a hit-single producing major-label

I just saw a great video on the Guerilla News Network (which
everyone should take a look at anyway!) that refers to this kind
of phenomenon. It's called "When The Smoke Clears" ( ) and it features spoken word artist Taalam
Acey taking rappers to task for creating a myth of the
hip-hop lifestyle that is damaging to African Americans.

here's some of the lyrics:

Sometimes I believe that some of these emcees sit down and
consciously try to figure out how to get more young black men

Like they figured out a correlation between making money and
delivering more young black souls into the hands of the cops.

I mean, for them, its all about moving CDs out of one-stops and
record shops, even if that means convincing them young brothers
to do whatever they have to do in order to get the things that
them emcees videos say they got.

But, yo... they ain't got.

So, how many more need to be caught shoplifting inside the
Versace shop before we realize that they are not that successful.


Steev Hise, Wannabe Has-Been
*Recycled Culture: *Recordings:
*Want Peace? Stop Paying for War:
"Everything in Los Angeles is too large, too loud, and usually banal
 in concept... the plastic asshole of the world."
            -William Faulkner

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