By now we all are acutely aware that the We Are the World 25 for Haiti was a big fucking musical mess. It took something that was original and kind of touching from the 1980’s and made it into an auto-tuned trainwreck of forced, sappy pop idiocy.
But I had no idea that it had come to this.
Apparently, the remake’s rap-sing-along segment was so horrible that it achieved what so many assassins had failed to accomplish previously, and actually killed hip-hop. The brains behind superb hip-hop blog RappersIKnow.com shut the site down after the tragedy, asserting that he is “boycotting every artist, actor, and personality that was apart [sic] of that project. I think they should all be sent to jail when Weezy goes.”
Similarly, founder of NYC’s longest-running underground hip-hop show and The Breakbeat’s favorite videoblogger Jay Smooth shut down IllDoctrine.com, saying “our beloved Rap was too weak to withstand the overpowering shame of that We Are The World remake…I simply cannot go on in a world where that rapping choir happened.” (Thank Gucci Mane, Jay is still passing on wisdom at the newly-minted NilDoctrine.com.)
So that’s it. The combined forces of global tragedy, 1980’s nostalgia, harmonized group rapping, and dumb, dumb Jamie Foxx have offed our darling hip-hop. And sadly, no one in the music industry would admit as much, for fear of offending Quincy Jones, the memory of Michael Jackson, Haitians, and loopy JBieb fans everywhere.
UNTIL JAY-Z CALLED THAT SHIT OUT. Ohhhhhhhh snap.
That’s right. HOV won’t stand for this bullshit, and he’s making sure everyone knows it, crazed tweens and Rashida Jones be damned. In a targeted storm of crazy shit-talking, Jay unapologetically let the world know what he REALLY thought about the remake, and everyone involved:
“I know everybody is gonna take this wrong: ‘We Are the World,’ I love it, and I understand the point and think it’s great. But I think ‘We Are the World‘ is like [Michael Jackson’s] ‘Thriller‘ to me. I don’t ever wanna see it touched. I’m a fan of music. I know the plight and everything that’s going on in Haiti…I appreciate the efforts, but ‘We are the World’ is untouchable like ‘Thriller’ is untouchable. Some things are just untouchable. It was a valiant effort, but for me, it’s gonna be untouchable…As everyone knows, I have tremendous respect for Quincy Jones. Of course, I think he’s genius, as everyone else does. [But] I think it’s time for us to make a new [song]. I tried to do that with ‘Stranded,’. I didn’t try to make ‘We Are the World,’ but I tried to make our take on how we felt.”
That was…whoa…that was….
A totally measured, reasonable, and respectful response.
Ok, so we know that this poorly-conceived (and even more-poorly-executed) song was a bad idea. But we also know that it didn’t really kill hip-hop. If hip-hop can survive Dieon Sanders’ Prime Time, it can survive anything.
But it has to be said:
What the hell?
Aforementioned baby Justin Berbier sings Lionel Richies’verse? The lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls takes over on Stevie Wonder’s lines? Who the hell is that blonde chick? Why is Celine Dion singing like that?
I’m the last person to hate on a good cause, but really guys? I know your hearts are in the right place, but this really doesn’t seem like the best course of action. What if, instead of trying to do a super-group remake of a song that really wasn’t that great to begin with, each of the celebrities donated the profits from just ONE of their singles to Haiti?
Kanye, every cent that you make off of “Golddigger” for the rest of 2010 goes to Haiti. Jamie Foxx, instead of profiting from your date-rapey alcohol song, give those profits to Haiti! Pussycat Dolls lady, I’m sure you make some money somehow – give it to Haiti.
Think about it. There would be none of the production or distribution costs that will be associated with the We are the World remake. Each of the however-many stars would be directly contributing to this clearly important cause. No one would be embarrassed by a botched attempt at rapping in unison.
Now I know, there’s probably some record company legality that prevents this from being a pragmatic solution, but the idea is the same.
Rich people, give to Haiti in some way, and spare the rest of us this kind of buffoonery.
Here’s the video, if you must watch it.
But remember, once you hear it, you can never go back.