Action Bronson is awful

He’s a misogynist, a weak rapper and a jerk. But does that mean Osheaga should drop him? PLUS more rap beef and the best events this week.

shineI had two big sisters so I grew up around a lotta soaps. In short pants, I was exposed to the lying, cheating and conniving, the human drama and the babies-growing-to-teens-in-weeks procreated by the people of Port Charles, Salem and wherever the fuck All My Children were from. Who would have thought it would prepare me for hip hop in the 21st century?

Internet rap beef hit peak bullshit this week and everyone was celbratin’. Nicki mixed it up with Taylor in an all-out Twitter rager, while Minaj bae Meek Mill went in on Drake with a ghostwriting charge. No one less than Funk Flex for Aubrey’s curls by airing an example on Hot 97. Toronto mayor John Tory, hot off static with Kanye, sparred verbally with Mill, and I feel like a goddam gossip blogger just typing all this.

And looking back all the way to Monday, let’s not forget when Ghost shitted on Bronson.

Yes, it was a tough week for Bam Bam. Our own mayor got in on the action when La Presse apparently informed him that an undesirable would be bringing his misogynistic rhymes to Osheaga, forcing M.Coderre to suddenly give a shit. What is with these burgermeisters and the rap music? Anyway, I only caught wind of any controversy when CJAD reached out to Cult MTL for an opinion early Wednesday morning.

Though in my esteem it was a non-story drummed up for a reaction, the Quebec Council on the Status of Women got behind the idea of banning Action Bronson from Osheaga, and suddenly Montreal was having the conversation: should this rapper, with a documented history of disrespect for women, be allowed in our city, in the wake of Toronto having banned him on those grounds?

Before I go any further, and without even getting to the topic of censorship, let me point out the immediate difference between TO in May and MTL next weekend: Bronson’s cancelled NXNE show was a free, public event in Dundas Square, where anyone who pays taxes should rightly be allowed to incite or partake in such a discussion. Osheaga is a paid event, where a ticket represents a private contract between purchaser and promoter. If you are going to see Action Bronson, you probably know his deal and don’t care. And if you aren’t, no one will force you to see his set and you can go see Young the Giant or Pierre Kwenders and forget Bronson even exists.

Regular readers may have garnered that I am no fan of AB. I think his 15 minutes should have been up about an hour ago, but that doesn’t change the fact that plenty of people whose taste in music I respect can get with him. Generally speaking, Bronson is none of my business.

I started this column off saying I have two big sisters. I have several nieces, a great mom, loving aunts and a daughter of my own. And if I had none of the above I wouldn’t find rape references and misogynistic imagery entertaining, in and of themselves. I never find that entertaining. I still listen to rap that is full of it, and watch movies and television shows and read books and….Jesus, it’s 2015, do I have to explain this?

Eddie Murphy once said he tells jokes between the swears, in case anyone thought all he did was get on stage and curse. I don’t listen to Bronson but I know there is more going on than rape insinuations. Apparently he likes weed and food, too. You know, Tyler, the Creator is also playing Osheaga but I guess no one had heard of him, despite the fact that both rappers share a similar audience and subject matter. You’d think there would have been an even bigger outcry when Osheaga brought Eminem a few years back, but nope.

It comes down to the right of responsibility. If we’re gonna start censoring one singer, or rapper, or artist, on grounds that they create what some deem distasteful, we better open up the books on every single performer that touches ground in the entire country and make sure they’re whistle clean, but that’s gonna make for some pretty dull rock festivals, I dare say. And speaking of Murphy, what about the comedians? I hear they get up to some pretty nasty shit, too — I hope JFL searched all of their talent for ‘ludes this past week.

There is a whole other conversation to have here about how hip hop is represented in the mainstream media, with the mirco-view of anglo-centric Montreal loudmouths like Tommy Schnurmacher weighing in on the debate as if they had any fucking clue about rap music other than to look down their nose at it and assume it’s fair game to mock and/or put down, depending on the situation. But we’ll take that up in another column. And I was happy to provide what I hoped was a voice of reason to those journalists who actually researched the topic and made room for a variety of viewpoints.

I can ignore Twitter beef as well as I can ignore Bam as well as I can ignore anything I don’t care about, even when it seems impossible. So can you, dear reader. And don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying not to speak your mind when you believe in something. That would be censorship, too. And I’m not down with it for anyone.

Here’s the kind of expression I’m down for.

Saturday: MEG is in full sway and at Divan Orange, upcoming locals Wasiu and Ragers showcase live alongside a DJ set from Dead Obie Yes McCan. 4234 St-Laurent, 10 p.m., $10

Pull an all-nighter at Bass Camp 4, a secretive affair you can learn more about here.

Wednesday: Nicki Minaj makes her first-ever stop in Montreal at the Bell Centre with a heavy-weight roster that includes Meek Mill, Rae Sremmurd (who return for Ile Soniq later in August), Dej Loaf and Tinashe. I don’t hear anyone trying to ban Nicki, do you? 1909 Avenue des Canadiens de Montréal, 7 p.m., $52-$196.50

Thursday: Good luck getting a ticket, but where there’s a will I’m sure there’s a way. Run the Jewels‘ long-awaited Montreal debut finally pops at Club Soda. 1225 St-Laurent, 8 p.m., $23.50/$25

And if that doesn’t work out, hit le Cypher for the improv stylings of the URBN SCNC band and guests DJ Killa-Jewel and Grio Negga. 2109 Bleury, 8 p.m., $5/$4 before 9 p.m.

Osheaga: A little early, and three-day passes are sold out, as are day passes for Saturday, but shop around and partake of more Run the Jewels, Schoolboy Q, Bishop Nehru, Tyler the Creator, Hudson Mohawk and King Kendrick himself, as well as a ton more. And don’t bother trying to reach me next weekend, by the way. (Details here.)

Under Pressure Alert: Montreal’s very own graf fest celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, from Aug. 5 to 9, with a range of parties, stages and scenes converging around the Foufs-area campus, with a few offshoot events happening at other downtown spots.

Much more on this next week, but for now, mark your calendar for the evening of Sunday, Aug. 9. Headliners announced for the annual, free closing bash at Foufounes Electriques include, so far, scratch legend Q-Bert, spin legend Bobbito and rap legend Lord Finesse. That ain’t enough? Don’t worry, there’s much more to be announced and no one will be disappointed. Lemme just say that you’d be a “Fool Jerk” (heh heh) to sleep on the next announcements coming from UP…if I can say that without anyone starting a petition, that is. ■


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