I recently raised the question on Twitter with 9th Wonder asking whether or not a song that titles itself about a historical figure but contains zero content about that person should be called an “ode.” I thought the song “Betty Shabazz” produced by 9th and performed by Rapsody was dope but just not as an “ode” as it was described. My point was/is that these are not really teaching tools and that empty reference does not often enough lead to an understanding of the person or related subject matter. 9th disagreed (see the pic below of our exchange for more). So I asked two legends passing through one of my classes to respond a little bit, and here is some of that discussion… thanks again to Labtwekwon and Head-Roc for there thought provoking interview below.
Dr. Jared A. Ball is an associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. Ball is the author of I MiX What I Like: A MiXtape Manifesto (AK Press, 2011) and co-editor of A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X (Black Classic Press, 2012). He can be found online at IMIXWHATILIKE.ORG.