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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Mos Def coming to Brandeis with special guest

Published: March 18, 2005
Section: Arts, Etc.

If white boys doing it, well, its success/ When I start doing it, well, its suspect, flows from the speakers as my roommate bumps Mos Defs track Mr. N-, just after we anonymously heard this weekend that he would be gracing the Shapiro Stage. April 7th the master will lecture a school of white success on the woes of a world from which they are far removed. Nevertheless, the rapper has achieved a clear victory with his views triumphantly penetrating into the white vernacular.

In a white community, he will tell black people to unite;

yet we will all understand and leave telling our friends, Wow, he can really rhyme well. Mos Def knows this, yet he still brings his message and this optimism is what he means to hip hop. Mr. N-, a derision of the white response to rising black culture, had me salivating for his compassionate mocking of my complacency. As opposed to many rappers, he appreciates our peripheral position, and though he commiserates with Mr. N-, he helps us out of our useless sympathetic shell.

With the third person narration of Mr. N-s life, he raps with us and intertwines his indignant views into our outsider perspective. Even with this technique, unfortunately, he can only bring us so far. Because no matter how much white society actually grasp from the show, especially for those new to deciphering the lyrical bombardments, we will leave and decidedly spread word of the talent but still wallow in our dormant racist beliefs. And if he can strike a chord, most will only add a fifty-dollar guilt-quenching donation to their checkbook.

Even against theses odds, Mos Def will prod us all that Thursday night toward our own personal epiphanies. We will all come out of our Commercial Rap or Rock-centric bubbles for the talented MC and Dj-ing abilities advertised by a cheap five-dollar price tag, he will concentrate his rhyme toward those who stay for verbal thrashing. These people of fortune will change their underlying prejudicial fears, subsequently write articles and go on to work always for the destruction of the double standard. This change in even the smallest part of the white population, which I predict will be at least the whole of Brandeis by April, can only bring a future with the public more conscious of an awful societal norm.