Monday, July 31, 2006

'Apache' Guilt

I always feel a little guilty when I hear The Sugarhill Gang's 'Apache' (like at a couple of parties over the last few months), because it's such an insensitive... well, there's no getting around it -- it's a pretty darn racist song.

The problem is, it's just so damn good.

I was in the mood to hear it tonight -- don't know why -- so I took a look around on YouTube, since there are a bunch of versions.

An excerpt of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' features prominently.

I wasn't expecting an abridged version marginally synced up to footage of The Wiggles (no way I'm embedding that here), but whatever.

Anyway, I was curious to see some American Indian/Native American viewpoints on the song, so I searched on native americans apache sugarhill gang.

The first result is a two-year old Village Voice article that kicks off with OutKast's performance of 'Hey Ya!' at the 2004 Grammys and goes into a whole bunch of other Native American issues (it was a fairly predictable Voice article, though I admit when I saw the broadcast, it raised my eyebrows, too).

The second, though, kind of sidetracked me from my quest for Native American justice (such as it was), because it was an article in music & mp3 blog Soul Sides: All Roads Lead to Apache.

(I guess I missed it when it was on Metafilter last year.)

It turns out the reason why The Sugarhill Gang's 'Apache' is so good is because it follows in a strong, long line, dating back to the original written by composer Jerry Lordan.

Anyway, go read the blog entry, which includes mp3s of the relevant songs.

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