[I guess that after 10 posts to my 'blog' I should use this feature as a blog at least once.]
In keeping with a really irritating habit - that has been going on pretty much all my life - of arriving so late to a party I can be more aptly described as a 'cultural archaeologist', I have recently discovered a liking for hip-hop.
It happened yesterday as I was playing the game Scarface: The World is Yours (a bad game with a really strange ethics system. I am not allowed to bludgeon a civilian to death with a baseball bat because that would be murder - and this in theory is consistent with the character - but the game has no problem with me running that same civilian over with a truck) in which I was just driving around a condensed caricature of Miami, listening to the typical 80s Metal and Reggie, when I remembered that the game also has a large selection of hip-hop that I've never really gave much attention to. This thought has baffled me ever since, because usually I'm that type of 'no-guitars-no-good', closed minded idiot that could very well polarize and tribalize music.
So I put some songs on, starting with D12, and I just had it in the background. As I started to actually listen to the music in between blasts of gunfire I began to really, really enjoy it.
I know that this is a pretty pathetic way of introducing yourself to a new cultural medium, but with the selection in The World is Yours there is a healthy mix of hip-hop. Some songs are straight up - exactly what you expect, but some are self-parodying and rather funny, one song is a narration of a film, and others show a good blend with other genres of music. In a sentence 'there is a really good variety of different artists and songs'.
I also find myself being able to get over my own cultural disadvantages. Being from Northumberland - which is an area of the UK not unlike Tolkien's Middle Earth - and being middle class, I've never had a sense what race relations is like in other parts of my own country, never mind other parts of the world, until I moved a little further south. Sunderland, before anyone complains. Whenever I heard the N- word it always sounded to me like something from another world, and was always a little uneasy when it was said in my presence, because where I am living now is rather tense and full of race discrimination. But listening to this music, it's almost like some kind of doorway into an aspect of life I was largely unaware of before.
What does this say? I might wonder. Well, it's kind of told me that you can actually learn things about yourself from video games, and not just that you are a serial killer in training. This game at least taught me that I should try to understand things from cultures not of my own, try to give everything a chance, and it's really fun to explore new things.
And that it's fun to smuggle drugs from the Caribbean.
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