6 abr. 2006

Ok. One more rant. What does "street cred" mean when applied to poets? The concept is already borderline grotesque in hip-hop. If people think I'm really a gangster, not just someone playing one in a music video, they'll buy more records! Wonderful? Cynical! For a poet, the concept is doubly cynical, since it's parasitical on the rap artist image which is in turn parasitical on the gangster image. Who'll want to claim "street cred" next? Librarians? No poet I personally know has any "street cred" to speak of, and that's a good thing.

Granted, I think most people who refer to this concept are doing so ironically. But I have heard a few use it as though it were a meaningful criterion. This rant is directed at YOU.

6 comentarios:

jerrold dijo...

"No poet I personally know has any "street cred" to speak of, and that's a good thing."

Well...not that I know you personally, but I actually did the whole 'gangsta' thing in a former life. After doing grafitti for a while, was jumped into a Crip set...then decided, more or less, that I needed to get out...or die.

Shrug.

John dijo...

All I ever wanted was to have some credibility on the boulevard.

OK, "all" is an overstatement.

There goes my credibility.

jerrold dijo...

Let me explain...I wasn't saying that just to say...'well, fooey on you, I gots street cred'. Just saying there is at least one of us out here who played the game, & who happens now to live in this wacky world of experimental poetry with all its love & graciousness (& if, by chance, this 'gangsta' stuff works its way into my work...which it is doing...there's no irony involved at all).

But, yes, the marketing of that image in rap (not hip-hop...there is a difference...that 'gangsta' thing being the primary one), is terrible.

michael dijo...

street cred in a poet is having once lived on the streets.

not as hard to acquire, as you might think.

m.

Jonathan dijo...

Yes, but my point was that usually this is not used literally, as Jerrold's case.

Dan Coffey dijo...

Why should librarians be next? Do we have some sort of stereotype attached to us that makes us the ideal symbol for the class of person least likely to have/want/need street cred?

Tread lightly, if you want us to keep buying your books.