Thursday, November 17, 2005

Kanye West Jamie Foxx's New Chain Gang

I'm talking with my son about Kanye West and Jamie Foxx's awesome "Golddigger" pop hit this morning. I'm telling him how they are singing about what a prison sentence it is ("18 years, 18 years") to marry a golddigger and pay her child support forever -- a modern chain gang song -- and how the song echo's with the work songs of classic negro spirituals. I love the song for its delicious ironic underpinning -- a new vocabulary of slavery which features the word "pre-nup". And what a sexy video.

I'm telling him about this:

During slavery and afterwards, workers were allowed to sing songs during their working time. This was the case when they had to coordinate their efforts for hauling a fallen tree or any heavy load. For example, prisoners used to sing "chain gang" songs, when they worked on the road or some construction. But some "drivers" also allowed slaves to sing "quiet" songs, if they were not apparently against slaveholders. Such songs could be sung either by only one or by several slaves. They were used for expressing personal feeling, and for cheering one another.

And we're making our beds and getting ready for school and going to the doctor. A girl in his class stepped on his finger at recess ... I still don't understand the logistics ... but I think at age 10 this means only one thing ... she likes him. He's learning early about these pretty girls.

Expensive knowledge -- I might have a kid with a broken finger.