Monday, 13 July 2009

Gang Wars : Banging In Little Rock

I've seen snippets of this 1993 HBO documentary before but some intrepid soul finally uploaded the whole thing last week, although it'll probably be gone by wednesday knowing how strict HBO are. It's basically a televisual My Summer Vacation with an extra sprinkle of white trash whiggas branding gang symbols into each other in country kitchens, brandishing automatic weapons and standing around rapping along to Dre Day.

Or, for those of you not versed in old Ice Cube songs, it's pretty much an episode of Ross Kemp On Gangs which details how gang culture spread into rural American cities like Little Rock, Arkansas at the turn of the nineties with a liberal amount of deluded downhick crackers playing gangster for comedic effect and plenty of scenes which involve various gang members of both colour sitting around jamming out to Dr Dre, Cypress Hill and MC Eiht songs.

But instead of being used to capture the soundtrack of the era, you sense they seem to be used as a rather heavy handed suggestion that gang$ta-rap was to blame for this infusion of thuggery into peaceful middle America. There's no accounting for the dumbness of white trash or the uncanny ability America has to blame its social problems on the influence of music (also see : the witchhunt against metal in the eighties when various mulleted Cleatuses started blasting themselves with shotguns and sacrificing cats after hearing non-existant backwards messages in Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest songs) and it's not really for a British pilgrim like me to comment, but if (and it's a very tenuous if) entertainment were to blame for helping gang culture spread like wildfire throughout American society then wouldn't mainstream movies like Colors, Boyz N The Hood and Menace 2 Society be just as guilty or even the chief culprits?

Whatever the case may be, this is a fascinating time capsule of early nineties America with a fantastic soundtrack.

Compton's Most Wanted - Compton 4 Life

1 comment:

brad said...


they really love 'dre day' in arkansas