Negroampliphobia

[The intro riff of "Cult of Personality"]

It was once the fattest riff in a blooming
ALTER-NATIVE Nation
And heralded the arrival of a new Fab Four,
Living Colour
Endorsed by Sir Mick Jagger, Big Apple tested
Tithes paid at the CBGB's altar
Living Colour bridged the gap between Hendrix and Public Enemy
Vernon Reid's guitar morphing jazz-fusion to nuclear fission
Muzz Skilling's bass packing more bottom
Than a Jet magazine centerfold
Will Calhoun's drums propelling their sound beyond orbit
Corey Glover wailing like an avenging angel
Living Colour grabbed Grammys and placed
Obsidian platinum in Sony Music's hands until
The label decided to fly a safer, more accessible flannel flag

Negroampliphobia is not a new affliction
Fear of a Black Rock was first diagnosed
When our original rock was resettled in "race music" ghettos
It goes back to when Black artists were persona non grata
On their own album covers
Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley
Brought White kids to sweaty frenzy and put
Paranoid parents and recording execs on notice
They all noticed kids with new styles and idols
With different shades of skin and background
And deemed these images graven
The overseer found the power
To whitewash their children's cravings
Look at that Presley kid, ridiculous talent and drive,
But always pressured to produce for handlers
Eventually they eased Elvis into mediocre movies,
Pilfering Placidil and obesity of the ego
Rock and R&B were recast somewhat obscurely

That "Cult of Personality" riff resonates history's forgotten
Electric congregations, pastors and sermons
The Isley Brothers gave the Beatles "Twist and Shout"
Young Ernie watched his big brothers turn it out
Then later turned Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze"
Into a personal hurricane
The rise of Otis Redding only stopped by a plane's fatal fall
James Brown's new bag of tricks,
Sly Stone's maximum funk 'n' roll
Shuggie Otis turned down the Stones to go it alone
Eddie "Maggot Brain" Hazel chased hallucinogenic
Funkadelic fungus with Molotov Cocktails
Fela Kuti, a Motherland twist
Santana and War with Carribe and Latino assist
Mother's Finest gave "Mickey's Monkey" the shock treatment
Reclaiming Zeppelin-appropriated-blues
Clapton sang of shooting sheriffs
While Ras Bob suffered politricks
Bad Brains dread-core positivity . . . Rock out with your locks out!
Ya'll still don't give six string props to Prince Rogers Nelson
And recognize the architect of punk funk, Rick James Bitch
Run-DMC usurped the throne,
The Bomb Squad brought the noise
Your plate ain't full without Fishbone

Christina Aguillera wishes she could touch
Chaka's mane or attitude
Britney Spears ain't got soul,
Lauryn Hill is rock 'n' roll!
And you still ain't ready for Tracy Chapman and Ani DiFranco
10 years after Sony's bitching helped darken the face of MTV,
They wouldn't step up to support Fishbone or Living Colour
Maybe the grunge river was greener on that side of the rock
They call us unmarketable while relegating us to
Contemporary urban ghettos
Now when I hear that riff
I dream of Brown children blasting TV 
On The Radio
and The Mars Volta,
Giving Lenny Kravitz the finger
While fingering their own chords
Emulating Tom Morello's rage and discord
Or leading the next wave of Afro Punk
I'm thinking, "Bring it, kid! Play on playa!"
Because the only cure for negroampliphobia
Is to stop fishing in the mainstream
And shine your darkness into the light
 

 

 

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Last updated: April 27, 2008 

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