January 20, 2013

My Nigga, Aladdin

Aladdin
Aladdin

It is an undisputed fact that approximately ninety percent of black rappers have the following underlying themes in their music:

1. My financial situation was horrible, and I had a hard life.
2. Fuck the police.
3. I have found something that is economically viable which will make me prosperous, therefore enabling me to get any woman or material goods I desire.
4. My monetary dreams have come to fruition, therefore I shall purchase outlandish objects so everybody can witness.
5. More money, more problems.

Aladdin embodies the African-American rapper’s struggle down to a T and the parallels are uncanny. Here, I shall provide you with a summarized account of Aladdin’s story whilst touching on those five points, and you, too, shall see that Aladdin should, in fact, have been a rap star.

1. My financial situation was horrible, and I had a hard life.

Aladdin was dirt poor. He and Abu truly encapsulated the daily struggle. Their community was rife with homelessness and theft, and if they weren’t willing to take by any means, they would not have had a single crumb to eat. Aladdin had no real home, instead shacking up in temporary accommodations. He yearned for a better life — he could see the opulent palace in all its glory, but yet he could not touch it.

“Super Ninetendo, Sega genesis
When I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this”
-Biggie Smalls, “Juicy”

“Check it, 15 of us in a three bedroom apartment
Roaches everywhere, cousins and aunts was there
Four in the bed, two at the foot, two at the head
I didn’t like to sleep with Jon-Jon he peed the bed
Seven o’clock, pluckin roaches out the cereal box”

-Ghostface Killah, “All That I Got Is You”

2. Fuck The Police.

During his thuggin’ days, Aladdin caught a case and was sent to the penitentiary. The oppressive system and overzealous authority figures insisted on holding him down. Sure, he stole, but he stole to eat whilst others were living lavishly. And what was the price he paid for his circumstantial crimes? Officers attempted to take his life with their sword and he was locked up in solitary confinement.

“I’d rather say ‘see ya’
Cause I would never be ya
Be a officer? You WICKED overseer!
Ya hotshot, wanna get props and be a savior
First show a little respect, change your behavior”

-KRS-One, “Sound of Da Police”

“For police, I’m sayin,’Fuck you punk!’
Readin my rights and shit, it’s all junk
Pullin out a silly club, so you stand
With a fake-assed badge and a gun in your hand”

-NWA, “Fuck the Police”

3. I Have Found Something That Is Economically Viable Which Will Make Me Prosperous, Therefore Enabling Me To Get Any Woman Or Material Goods I Desire.

Aladdin soon came across something very powerful (the lamp its resident genie), something which could change his life around, but which could prove evil and misused if found in the wrong hands. Aladdin, however, viewed it as his ticket out of the ghetto. He saw his chance, weighed up the odds and delved into this new, fast-money making maneuver. With the average rap star, this solution is usually narcotics.

“That kush movin’ faster than crack, nigga its burnin’
Now move a couple pounds of that, now you earnin’
Stack paper on every flip, get the whip
Then get a new bitch and forget the one you wit”

-50 Cent, “Ghetto Like A Motherfucker”

4. My Monetary Dreams Have Come To Fruition Therefore I Shall Purchase Outlandish Objects So Everybody Can Witness.

Aladdin didn’t believe in smart purchases or investing in things that would appreciate over time. He came from nothing, and was not used to having money. All the cash came at once and he did what many a rapper does — spend, spend, spend. He made sure he purchased the most pristine designer garments and that his jewelry was magnificent. He got the best vehicle/elephant he could think of and he even had a parade so everybody in his old neighborhood could see. He was on to the high life.

“Tryin to stay alive, hundred thou’ for the bracelet
Foolish, ain’t I? The chain’ll strain ya eye …
… Willies wanna rub shoulders, your money’s too young
See me when it gets older, ya bank account grow up
Mine’s is one-zero-zero-zero-zero-oh-doub’
Damn near out the rear trunk when I roll up”

-Jermaine Dupri featuring Jay Z, “Money Ain’t A Thing”

5. More Money, More problems.

Aladdin’s life was never straight forward. After he dove head first into princess Jasmin’s box post-magic carpet ride, he still had issues. His arch nemesis, Jafar, was the epitome of a playa’ hater. Jafar wished for Aladdin’s girl but he couldn’t get her. He wanted Aladdin dead and he had no problem exercising that option. Aladdin had to use his smarts and send Jafar away… forever.

“Let a nigga try me? I can’t imagine
I’m out here in these streets, catch me in traffic”

-Lil’ Reese, “Traffic”

“We don’t play around it’s a bet lay it down
Nigga didn’t know me ninety-one bet they know me now
I’m the young Harlem nigga with the Goldie sound
Can’t no Ph.D. niggaz hold me down

Bag a money much longer than yours
And a team much stronger than yours, violate me
This’ll be your day, we don’t play
Mess around be D.O.A., be on your way”

-Biggie Smalls featuring Ma$e and Puff Daddy, “Mo Money Mo Problems”

And there you have it: the striking parallels between Aladdin and the average rap story. Disney, as always, does a fantastic job of implementing real-life scenarios, translated into easy-to-understand kiddy language. Aladdin went from zero to hero, and society was not on his side. When he got to the top, he showed his ass off. I’m sure you can easily name 50 MCs with the same tale. So when you’re foraging through your old VHS collection (if you were born after the year 2000, a VHS is a rectangular tape device that is inserted into a video player) and you come across this childhood classic, take a look for the hidden messages which are echoed throughout a large percentage of Behind The Music episodes.

Next time, I may have to break down how The Lion King mirrors Bible fables and Christian ideology, with Mufasa taking on the Jesus role and his wretched brother, Scar, playing Judas. TC mark