White People, Get Over Yourselves

March 21st, 2008 by Dan Charnas
Filed in: , ,

On Obama’s “race” speech.

Once Upon A Time…

March 21st, 2008 by Dan Charnas
Filed in: , ,

… I wrote this article for YogaJournal.com

Apparently, it is now in the running for a Maggie award.

You be the judge.

UPDATE: I won. :-)

She’s so out there, she’s in there.

February 26th, 2008 by Dan Charnas
Filed in: , ,

Erykah Badu has finally given us a new album, only her third full LP of new music in, oh, eleven years.

Now she says she’s learned to use iChat and Garage Band, so she’s got two, maybe three more albums coming this year. “New AmErykah, Pt. 2″ in the Spring. Then her alterego “Lowdown Loretta Brown” in the Fall. And then she’s got her new supergroup with Ahmir & Mike Elizondo, “Edith Funker.”


She may be the world’s biggest tease, that Erykah, but she sure is funny.

Peep the video and my review in the Washington Post.

He Gave His Nose

February 13th, 2008 by Dan Charnas
Filed in: , ,


It’s the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Writing my review in the Washington Post gave me occasion to really think on the album’s importance, which runs so much deeper than it’s status as the greatest selling album of all time. More than all of that, in 1983, “Thriller” almost singlehandedly achieved the reintegration of American music.

P.S.: If you really want a renewed respect for the Jackson family, just listen to this home demo that Michael, Randy and Janet (yes) put together in 1978, setting out the now famous arrangement of “Workin’ Day And Night.” They are so in the pocket with the percussion, it’s insane.

Obama and the Skittles vote

February 8th, 2008 by Dan Charnas
Filed in: ,


…and for a non-ignorant analysis, peep Jeff Chang’s blog here.

Evolution of an Outlook

January 12th, 2008 by Dan Charnas

The first time I saw the Palestinian hip-hop group D.A.M. was in 2005, when they did their first gig in New York.

A lot has changed since then for this Jewish-American hip-hop writer. Now that D.A.M. released their first album (which I reviewed in the Washington Post), apparently the change shows.

I went to the West Bank in 2006, and saw some things that I needed to see — the Deheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem, Israeli settler terror in Hebron, the streets of Ramallah, and of course, the Wall, the Wall everywhere. It was a sobering counterpoint to my trip to Israel proper the year before, something that I wrote about in my-yet-to-be-published-Masters-Project-because-I’m-neglecting-

In it, I described my outlook in the years prior to the West Bank trip…

“My politics aligned with standard “liberal Zionism.” I supported a two-state solution and believed that the failure of the peace process lay not with “us” — reasonable Israelis and Jewish-Americans — but with “them” — the unreasonable Yasser Arafat and Palestinian militants, who had been offered 95 percent of what they wanted, yet still resorted to violence.”

After the trip, I summarized my transformation this way:

“If Israel is a democracy, I conclude, it is the democracy of Jim Crow. And if being a Zionist means supporting that, then I am most certainly not a Zionist.”

In other words: If I am a staunch multi-culturalist while in America — meaning that I believe in creating a plural society where people of different ethnicities co-exist on an even playing field — then I must be a multi-culturalist everywhere, and Israel/Palestine can be no exception. Whether that means a one-state or a two-state solution is up for discussion — and frankly, at this point, neither one seems possible despite what our Hypocrite-in-Chief says. (Remember when he slammed Clinton in 2000 for getting too tied up in the peace process? NOW look who wants to leave a legacy.)

All I know is that you can’t solve one refugee problem by creating another one. It was true in 1948, and it’s still true now.

–Dan Charnas

Let’s Not Get Carried Away

January 7th, 2008 by Dan Charnas
Filed in:

Read the rant here.

Happy 2008

January 2nd, 2008 by Dan Charnas
Filed in: , ,

After an extended holiday both here and abroad, it’s time to dig into this year’s work:

• As many of you know, I’ll be spending most of my time reporting and writing my book, “The Big Payback: How Hip-Hop Became Global Pop,” coming out on New American Library/Penguin in the Fall of 2009. See y’all in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and Houston soon.

• Music criticism for the Washington Post, and posts here and on hiphopmusic.com.

• Other ventures, coming soon.

Wishing power to all of your resolutions.


Checkmated in Cali

October 18th, 2007 by Dan Charnas

Read all about it on hiphopmusic.com.

American Cuisine

September 28th, 2007 by Dan Charnas


Thoughts on Sylviagate here.

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To view the entire Big Payback video series, click here

Visit The Archives


The best of the blog, since 2005.

Minding My Own Business, Part One
Minding My Own Business, Part Two
Minding My Own Business, Part Three

My debut posts, rethinking what it means to write about hip-hop.

Blacks and Jews, Part One
Blacks and Jews, Part Two

An untouchable subject, touched.

White People, Get Over Yourselves
A video reaction to candidate Obama's "race speech"

America's Two Destinies
A marination on the legacy of 9-11

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