TV Guide: Not keeping it real

2012-10-27 17:06

Is it just me or has TV become a dumping ground for former homies-turned-softies?

I mean, gun-wielding gangsters of my teen years have all gone marshmallow soft. It’s a pitiful thing to witness.

Who remembers the late 1990s, when checkered shirts and Chuck Taylor All Stars comprised the gangsta rap uniform?

This is when US soldier-turned-actor-and-rapper Ice-T was one of the most feared men on the microphone. He released tracks with titles like O.G. Original Gangster and Squeeze the Trigger.

The man’s debut album in 1987, Rhyme Pays, was the first hip-hop project to carry an “explicit content” sticker.

These days, the man prances around in pink shirts and has a bulldog called Spartacus with its own Twitter account.

Together with his wife, Nicole “Coco” Austin, they’ve created a reality show, now in its third season, called Ice Loves Coco.

It airs on E! Entertainment (DStv Channel 124).

This can’t be the hard man who launched gangsta rap ahead of NWA’s Dr Dre, Eazy-E and Ice Cube, who gave us that spectacularly sadistic classic against police brutality, F**k Tha Police.

On the back of their infamy, Ice Cube launched a solo career.

He was unforgivably hard core, with cut-off khaki pants, high-top Chucks and a black Raiders baseball cap.

The poster boy of celebrity gangsterism later formed Westside Connection, a trio with Mack 10 and WC.

They blew up as the saviours of gangsta rap when it was in decline.

Ironically, on their 2003 offering, the trio recorded a track titled So Many Rappers In Love.

They lamented the softening up of former thugs-turned-R&B singers. Alas, Cube has also been violating the code.

He’s now become a “family movie” character, grinning like a minstrel on films like Are We There Yet? and its sequel, Are We Done Yet?

Then, of course, there’s the righteous buffoonery of hip-hop royalty, Reverend Run of the old super clique, Run-DMC.

He has since traded his Adidas Superstars and tracksuits for religious get-up, such as his now-trademark Chinese-collar shirt, avec Bible in hand.
Run also has a reality family series called Run’s House, which airs on SABC3 every Friday night at 9pm.

Now with all these former anti-establishment crusaders turned and tamed, we have to contend with redhead Rihanna being the only one still mentioning guns in her music.

Times are tough for thugs out here. What happened to keeping it real?

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