Bill O’Reilly doesn’t care about hip-hop. But you probably already know that. Given his obsession with rappers and anchoring episodes of his Fox News Channel show with discussion of rap music and hip-hop performers — one thing is clear in O’Reilly’s politically conservative universe — and that’s that hip-hop bashing is still good for ratings.
How else do you explain his recent discussion with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart over President Obama inviting Common to the White House? Or his tirades against Snoop Dogg, Nas, Jay-Z and the most famous Fox News and hip-hop beef of all time against Ludacris.
News started hitting the web yesterday that Lupe Fiasco taped a segment of The O’Reilly’s Factor to discuss a recent interview in which he called President Obama a “terrorist”. This is no doubt going to bring in the ad dollars and viewership when it pits in one corner a conservative talk show host, and in the other the Muslim, politically conscious rapper. Sounds like ratings gold to me.
But some in the rap community don’t see the appearance as a good look. Rapper Noreaga sent a tweet to Lupe regarding the situation:
”@noreaga My Dude … don’t diss Obama on bill o rielly whatever that foul dude name is on his show <— Indeed. Only the truth.”
Lupe retweeted the comment, perhaps a show to his fans that he won’t be lulled into any public display of Obama-hate on national television.
But isn’t that what O’Reilly wants?
He knows conservative Fox viewers love to be stirred by the other world that is hip-hop. No matter how mainstream the culture and music has become, there’s still a segment of (White America) who thinks that rap is all guns, gangsters, strippers and saggy jeans, and only focused on the worst of black American.
O’Reilly’s fear factor is always at play when he brings rappers to the show. Like the time he brought Cam’ron and Damon Dash to argue with a Philadelphia school principal concerned with the music’s effect on his students, or when he brought on an associate of Snoop Dogg to argue how Snoop was a criminal and “wise guy” drug user. O’Reilly makes his money off of racist fear mongering.
In the recent discussion about Common, who attended a White House poetry event, O’Reilly went on full-blast calling him a “cop killer sympathizer,” for lyrics that shouted out Assata Shakur, who was controversially incarcerated in the killing of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. That it was National Police Week during the show’s broadcast only fanned the flames.
But this builds right into O’Reilly’s model, in which he takes a topic an old guy like himself is out of touch with and hates on it to the extreme. Take the case of Ludacris, who lost money over O’Reilly’s hip-hop hatred, when the talk show host rallied his troops against Pepsi and got the company to drop Luda’s endorsement contract. The reason seemed to be that his lyrics weren’t befitting the conservative agenda. Like Pepsi didn’t know that. Corporate America saw the potential in cultivating brand royalty by using hip-hop long ago, and it’s one of the things that pisses O’Reilly off. But in a way, he’s using hip-hop to do the same thing.The jury is still out as to whether hip-hop and rap music can help win political elections, but one thing is for sure: It’s great for creating controversy. The media thrives on controversy, from sex scandals to outlandish violence on YouTube.
Lupe may have gone too far with his comments against Obama. But it’s a good move by him in stirring the controversy pot and getting media attention to help push concert tickets and album sales. But his words in the hands of a guy like O’Reilly can be used by conservative Republicans to spreads this idea that Obama is lacking support in the black community going into the 2012 election.
Bill O’Reilly’s show is one of the highest rated programs on cable television, and the top news program in the prime 8 p.m. time slot. He gets almost 3 million viewers, mostly of similar political disposition, tuning into his show. Hip-hop generally gives him a place to point his finger when he talks about the problems with American society. And in a way, rappers are to blame for this consistent obsession. Not only because they appear on his show to go toe to toe, but also because they give him time in their lyrics (Ludacris, Jay-Z) and even dedicate entire songs to rail against his platform (Nas).
Hip-hop’s embrace of Bill O’Reilly and his caustic invectives is just as bad as this man dissing the culture and its progenitors. When O’Reilly is mentioned in a song, it gives him something to bark about on his show. When rappers think they can go on his show to defend or explain themselves, they think they can outsmart him — it isn’t’ that difficult — but in the end it probably increases his viewership and never really helps the man understand the culture or the people behind it.
He’s always the winner.
Lupe seems to be operating along the same lines of understanding, as he mentioned on Twitter he “would NEVER turn down the opp to push billys buttons!”
Lupe’s appearance on The O’Reilly Factor is being reported by CNN and BET, already a sign that the show is getting the promotion it wanted when O’Reilly called Lupe a “pinhead” earlier this for making the remark against Obama. Having a Muslim rapper on his show, and one with remarkable cross-over success (By “cross-over” that means that young white kids from the ‘burbs love and support his music, as much, or even more than black kids do.) will likely give him a boost in ratings.
This Lupe vs. O’Reilly show was taped last night and will air next week on the Fox News Channel. The appearance is going to stoke the flames of prejudice still alive in many parts of American against hip-hop and urban black cultural production. And with Lupe calling Obama out to such a huge audience, it’s too sweet a deal for Mr. O’Reilly to pass up.