Ghetto Pass is on sabbatical. Here, after the colon, and third comma, is your new feature summary written in small type:
There are black people out there doing very un-black things. TAN tells their stories.
As I transition from the Ghetto Pass retrospective, I've decided to use hipsters to cushion the initial jump should there be any turbulence. So let's amble back a few internet-years to last Monday when I commented on the NY Times piece profiling these so-called "Blipsters." Everyone enjoyed giving the author a good chiding, but I can't lie, I still wanted to hear more about these strange alien negroes who actually "like rock music." Now while the article had a lot of words, I wasn't totally convinced the premise was based on fact; after all the writer is based in Philly, and was previously seen pimping the City of Brotherly Love as the sixth borough of Manhattan. So I decided to find some Blipsters on my own.
Problem was, I had no idea where to look. Inevitably, I ended up coordinating some covert sting operations on these fro-hawk maintenance message boards you see all over the place. I pretended I was a hot young thing with a sexy fro-hawk that was getting out of control, and only a real Curtis Cobain type would know how to corral my haery maelstrom. Problem solved. I started collecting data on these Blipsters, but one in particular gave me a lot more than I bargained for. I visited him at his home, and discovered in his case the problem ran much deeper than being black and enjoying Nirvana. Sitting in his living room, I found out this guy also likes Bloc Party. YIKES! I immediately turned on the tv and flipped to BET to try and stabilize the environment. But THEN it got even worse when he told me another incredible race-defying confession:I Don't Like A Tribe Called Quest
He said it with confidence, the first letter of each word capitalized as it stormed from his mouth. The melanin
in, on?, in my skin began to sear from the flames of his blaspheme. But with my quest for The Truth fortifying my resolve, I decided to remain in his proverbial "kitchen," risking suffocation from the heat of his self-hatred. I even took it a step further and asked him to repeat himself because, quite frankly, I couldn't believe it. He understood my skepticism and braced himself to recant the solemn phrase. His once robust confidence was sagging by the second, but he was going to do it. We both scanned the surrounding area full of fear and trepidation half-thinking The Roots might rush in at any moment and beat us with their instruments. But soon the tears began to well up in his eyes as he blubbered out, " I Don't Like A Tribe Called Quest DAMMIT!"
I couldn't take it anymore. I grabbed him by the fro-hawk, looked him directly in the eyes and said, "look man! It's ok to like the nirvana dude. I understand. I went to Choate dude. That shit gets me all *stoked* or whathaveyou also. But that doesn't mean you just go and throw your life away by saying something like 'you don't like Tribe.' Don't be stupid man. You have everything in front of you."
The Blipster could conceal his shame no more, I was almost knocked over by the tidal wave of emotion, "I KNOW MAN!! I KNOW!! IT'S FRIGGIN' TRIBE!!" I told him he could lose the caps and keep the exclamation points and be considerably less annoying about this. He continued, "Tribe ... they're like our Beatles man. I want to f'ing love them man. I really do. But I don't. I can't."
I looked around again, thinking I heard a snare drum or bass riff somewhere, I asked him how many Tribe albums he listened to. Perhaps he had only listened to their last couple of albums, everyone concedes those aren't as strong. He was silent then spoke very matter-of-fact, "yeah, yeah, everyone says Midnight Marauders and Low End Theory. Look, I'm not going to be ashamed of this anymore. I have my reasons you know. I think they're too soft for me. Quite frankly, I think they're too soft for this century. I mean that anti date-rape song? Come on dude. EVERYONE'S Date Raping in 2007, that's the shit! Even the Times is big-upping that. That's fucking Modern Love dude.
I couldn't protest as he continued,
"Look man, I gave it a good shot. But the sound is kind of flat. The music is a little repetitive. I've heard those Can I Kick It drums and samples too many times. GOD. And their lyrics are horrible. Q-Tip comes in and out of coherency and thinks he can write it off by calling himself 'The Abstract,' and Phife is just a fucking idiot. Have YOU listened to Electric Relaxation? What's up with these lyrics? 'You can be a shorty in my ill convoy.' 'You got the goods like Madeline Woods?' Who the fuck is Madeline Woods? I feel like black people must have been a little stupider in the 90s."
"I don't know man. I always liked one of Phife's solo songs Butter," I told him. "And what, you don't want David Dinkins to please be your mayor?"
Just then I got a beep from Gawker HQ. Some commenter had ventured too far uptown and needed help with their Ghetto Pass. So I took off. But later that night on the news I saw the Blipster was found dead. They're calling it a suicide, but I suspect foul play.
Who knows if there are anymore black people who don't enjoy Tribe left, but at least in my life I knew of one. He was a sweet Blipster. I'll remember him fondly.
[illustration courtesy of]