Alicia Keys is tired of the box the y’all put her in

While a bunch of folk spent this weekend discussing the bitterness of small town folk, the Black Blogosphere got their feeding frenzy on at the expense on the young lady below:

By now you have heard the punchline of the story:

We’ve been talking about Keys’s early jones for the Notorious B.I.G. “My favorite Biggie song is ‘Me & My Bitch,’” she says, licking a stray globule of jam off her finger. “That title doesn’t make you think he’s speaking about the love of his life, but he is. She throws his shit out the window, she flushes his drugs down the toilet—she’s crazy! But if you grew up like that, then you understood, that was love in that world.”

We ask what other gangsta rappers she liked. And that’s when Keys drives a steamroller through the wall.

“‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other,” she says, putting down the sandwich. “‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist.”

Come again? A ploy by whom?

She looks at us like it’s the dumbest question in the world. “The government.”

Sigh. The easy way out is to pounce on Alicia Keys and fit her for a tin-foil hat. More interesting, as usual is the REST of the story.

From reading the WHOLE story you get a glimpse at an artist in evolution.

Alicia Keys has been the 21st century Whitney Houston. A creation of the Clive Davis Arista/J Records hype machine who rode a debut album to that exalted Grammy status first occupied by Lauryn Hill and later by Norah Jones, Beyonce’, and most recently, Amy Winehouse.

She went from random new chick on the block who could sing and play the piano to playing second banana to Scarlett Johannson in the Nanny Diaries and bussin Caps with Common and Ari Gold in Smokin Aces.

Of course, as is the norm with anyone with an abundance of Melanin, talent, and success, there is a certain need for us to pull down that which we were so instrumental in building up (Barack Obama, take note).

I was on the other side, albeit silently when the great Alicia Keys vs. India Arie debate was held back in 2001-2002. I, being the bougie elitist artsy fartsy type that I have been known to be, was bitter towards the astounding success of Ms. Keys and felt that India Arie was being slighted.

In time, I have learned to save my slings and arrows for THEY (yes, the mysterious They; it always seems to be about them)…and not Ms. Keys (or Beyonce…or anyone else getting more shine than I feel they deserve) and she has grown on me. Each album has been an improvement over the last and I find her down to earth nature refreshing.

I don’t think she REALLY believes that the government created gangsta rap as a ploy to get Black folk to kill each other. (The government would  NEVER be complicit in the death of its own citizens…ESPECIALLY the ones of color*blink*)

What I DO think is that Alicia has gotten too close to the blinding light of overexposure and she now sees how the game has been played.

She wants to step out of her comfort zone and enter the next stage of her career.

She wants to do her “What’s Goin On

While this was an awkward place and way to explain her evolution, It is an evolution that we should all applaud.

What surprised me most was the fact that she asserts that Go Ahead was actually about President Bush and not about some dude.


Sounds different when you look at it that way, huh.


One comment

  1. Jonzee

    “I being the bougie elitist artsy fartsy type…”, man me too. I felt the same way about her initially–but by time “Diary” came out, I was charmed.

    Plus, she’s such a cute ’round the way’ girl!

    BTW, interesting interview with her on TJMS this morning. Try to catch it if you can.

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