MUSICIALLY RACIST?

Seriously, some people REALLY need to loosen up.

Earlier this week, hip-hop star and current American Idol judge Nicky Minaj tore into rock legend Steven Tyler about a comment he made when she accused Tyler of being a racist because he said she would kick Bob Dylan off the show if he were to audition today.

“”That’s a racist comment. You assume that I wouldn’t have liked Bob Dylan??? why? black? rapper? what? go f— yourself and worry about yourself babe.”

Racist?  Not!

First of all, Tyler and his band Aerosmith managed to blend hard rock with a touch of blues, R&B and funk – they have been doing this formula for decades.

Second, Run-D.M.C. was the first hip-hop act who dared to incorporate hard rock riffs into their music.  Obviously, she needs to hear their hit “Rock Box”.  A few years later, the trio decided to cover Aerosmith’s twice released “Walk This Way” (once in 1975 and again in 1976), and had invited both Tyler and Aerosmith’s guitarist/bandmate Joe Perry to do the guitar work.  Not only was that one of hip-hop’s best moments, but gave Aerosmith’s career a shot in the arm, solidified Run-D.M.C. on the pop charts and open the floodgates to hard-rock/hip-hop hybrids.

Third, music is universal (not the company that is on the verge of getting EMI). Music can bring in elements from anywhere across the globe.  Like Merle Haggard and the late Chet Atkins who did blend jazz and country.  Or ABC (the British band) who blended more of danceable R&B with pop.  Or The Isley Brothers and Slave-both added heavy guitar riffs to R&B and ballads.  Or AC/DC who, with the release of Back in Black, added funk to the hard rock mix. Or uber-percussionist Steve Reich who let deejays loose on some of his works to make the ecclectic Reich:Remixed.  Ditto with Real World Records with the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with Star Rise being the end result.

I could go on and on about the interesting musical hybrids and elements thrown in for good measure.  The problem here is that Ms. Minaj can’t handle criticism and therefore has to resort to the ‘R’ word.  And that is something that is uncalled for.

She offered up her opinion about kicking off Dylan sight unseen if he were to audition today.  Tyler offered his opinion and then she called him a racist for calling her on the carpet about it.  She not only trashed one legend but called another one racist for stating his opinion.   Classy.

I wonder if she ever heard a Dylan record.  I wonder if she knows that he composed gospel tracks and did a few Christian albums. Heck even Word released a collection of Dylan songs covered by gospel artists.

This ranks with Blacks getting upset with Robert Plant when he used the term “spook music” as one of his influences-a scary but yet atmospheric sound: he had mentioned that he tried to do that with the blues but it didn’t work.  Most of these guys were calling him racist when he’s been working with high-caliber blues musicians FOR YEARS.  Plus Led Zepplin’s and his sound mixes a lot of Middle Eastern flavor (listen to LZ’s “Kashmir” or Plant’s “Calling to You”).

When my mother introduced me to classical at a very young age, I kind of hated it at first, but as I got into my teens, I bought The Planets by Isao Tomita.  Tomita is a legendary musician in Japan using the Moog synthesizer with many processors and plug-ins to create that classical music electronically.  It made me find the best classical recording of Gustav Holst’s suite that I am glad that the inspiration worked in reverse, and I’m glad that happened.

Tyler shouldn’t have to apologize for his opinion, because it was just that: an opinion.  Minaj offered her opinion about kicking off Bob Dylan if he had auditioned for American Idol and got called on it.  Only someone that shallow could get so upset over an opinion that they would tarnish the reputation of the opinion-maker by calling them racist and that’s a damnshame.

She should apologize to both Dylan and Tyler.  Dylan – because, by mentioning him in her eyes, he doesn’t have talent and to Tyler for dragging him into this mess.