THE RAP ON BRANDON

November 14, 2021 – 5:54 am

Fifty years ago today, Beatle George told us that All Things Must Pass. Then he told us about Living in the Material World. For 36 years, BigO has been trying to keep the spirit and history of the music alive. Before all things pass, we still need your help to live in this material world. You can help us to do this with a kind donation. Please give what you are happy to give…

HOW TO DONATE

Our costs will always be there. So readers who can donate towards the cost of the site, please open a Skrill account. Readers who wish to contribute to BigO will now have to use Skrill (click here). We are no longer able to use PayPal to receive donations. Register an account at Skrill. To make a payment, use this e-mail address as recipient’s e-mail address in Skrill: mail2[at]bigomagazine.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

+ + + + +

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW
To reduce spamming, the BigO website is going through Cloudflare. What it does is scan your browser to ensure the visitor is not a spam. Do not be alarmed as this usually takes only a few seconds.  Email us if you still have difficulty accessing the BigO site; or playing or downloading the tracks. If you know a better way of reducing spam, do let us know.

+ + + + +


The polite phrase ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ hides the colourful ‘Fuck, Joe Biden!’ Pardon our French. And despite their best efforts, the phrase won’t go away. By David Yearsley.

As the flag-waving scenes of this election week recede in the rearview mirror of the campaign bus, the numbers of the discontent increase in the ether like those brooms in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice: the inundations of environmental collapse in the fast-disappearing “real” world have their digi-logue in the metastasizing mobs of Meta. Those mobs like to be enchanted by a good tune with a catchy lyric, or, even better, by a bad one with a nasty message.

Your steadfast Musical Patriot is generally out of earshot of the melodic memes of militias and malcontents, deaf to the clangorous chords of the distempered clavier. But sometimes a seething sonic surge is so powerful that it reaches even to that moral and musical high ground I’ve so long defended.

Before offering any judgements on two chart-topping “Let’s Go Brandon” tracks, however, let me remind the world that Musical Patriotism is unwaveringly opposed to nationalism, exceptionalism, and power chords on Sunday. The Musical Republic is a place where all children sing, where the body politic dances to the beat of the Good, and from which Andrew Lloyd Webber is forever banished.

Unlike the nations of the G7 (that unstable, testosterone-laced, white-keyed named dominant chord), our pacific Commonwealth has no bombastic national anthem, but resounds instead with uplifting music of independent thought and unpredictable beauty whose craft is admired through the rational consensus of its critically-minded, yet always fair citizenry.

Even in these utopian climes consonance (that sweet, untroubled sonority of the Harmony of the Spheres and most versions of Christian heaven) must be troubled by dissonance to give music shape and meaning. There is nothing more boring than perfect intervals droning on in all eternity.

Which brings us back to the tuneless “Let’s Go Brandon” tunes just mentioned - harmonically inert, but politically volatile. The Brandon backstory is well-known to vigilant CounterPunchers, but I’ll retell it here in broadest outlines.

An unwitting NBC reporter named Kelli Stavast was interviewing the alliteratively-named Brandon Brown on live television after he won a Nascar race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway at the beginning of October - an eternity ago on the supersuperspeedway of meta-modernity.

Every time New Jersey rapper Loza Alexander utters the Let’s Go Brandon mantra, the crowd at Talladega shouts the real slogan one more time: “Fuck Joe Biden!” Alexander pulls in his fingers to make a fist and shakes it. It’s up to you to decide if that’s a friendly rhythmic accent or a threat.

As the enthusiastic interviewer congratulated the elated victor, she assured him that even the grandstand crowd was thrilled at his success. Stavast understood them to be shouting “Let’s Go Brandon,” and told the race driver as much. In fact, the fans had taken up a slogan already heard at various other sporting events and anti-vaccination protests going back still farther into the dim reaches of September: “Fuck, Joe Biden!”

Ted Cruz posed with a sign with those words in Houston during the World Series. The Texas Senator also decried Stavast’s mishearing of the Talladegan grandstanders as the epitome of Fake News. “Let’s Go Brandon” erupted again in Game 4 in Atlanta with Donald Trump in attendance. The slogan was music to his tone-deaf ears.

The Musical Patriot would never stoop to defending the sanctity of the office of the US President. Indeed, I acknowledge the irreverent wit, however thumb-sucking, to this coded vulgarity, the closed-caption translation now heard by all regardless of political persuasion. What can the security state do about hateful speech - or for that hate speech - when it is delivered in this harmless diction? Nothing. The same goes for Hate Songs.

The feedback loop of social media and mass sporting events was ready and waiting to be sampled and packaged by politically-minded, brand-savvy “musicians.” First to capitalize was the New Jersey rapper Loza Alexander, whose “Let’s Go Brandon” dropped on October 10 and quickly amassed a million hits on YouTube and climbed to No. 2 on iTunes top songs list. This election week it broke into the Billboard top 40, and even made it into the top 100 on the global charts.

In the video Alexander appears in front of the backdrop of the Talladega grandstand wearing a red Trump hat emblazoned with the imperative: “Make Music Great Again.” As the beat cruises endlessly around the speedway, the rapper bops and weaves on top of Brandon Brown.

While rear-twerking with the racecar driver, Alexander helpfully translates the title to his song into physical gesture by keeping his middle fingers raised. Every time he utters the Let’s Go Brandon mantra the crowd at Talladega shouts the real slogan one more time: “Fuck Joe Biden!” Alexander pulls in his fingers to make a fist and shakes it. It’s up to you to decide if that’s a friendly rhythmic accent or a threat.

The lyrics are not exactly brimming with invention. Mostly he fills out his two-minute masterpiece (about the length of time it takes to get through National Anthem come Super Bowl Sunday) with the redundant jeer “Ayy, you know what they saying though” and the Talladegans chime in again to make things clear once again. The best line Alexander can muster is: “Don’t want this commie, cause we’re not in China.”

Will one of these top-forty “Let’s Go Brandon” songs become the New Battle Hymn of the Republican Party?

The looped beat keeps circling the track, never going anywhere: an unwittingly apposite sonic signifier of the static rage that animates half of the American populace. Alexander grins and seems to be having a happy time of it, laughing all the way to the bank.

Ten spots higher than Alexander on Billboard struts Christian rapper Bryson Gray with his exploitation of the same slogan. His video begins with Biden’s sampled voice assuring Americans that if they’re vaccinated they won’t get Covid. These words are heard over intertitles of that bit from Revelation about the mark of the beast, that is, Biden. Gray makes this connection clear, too, later rapping that, “These politicians are just demons in disguise (fact).”

As Biden stutters on - is it his own loop or is Gray making it worse in post-production? - about the vaccinated not getting Covid, Revelation gives way to the Gospel of Luke’s defense of the Second Amendment: “He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.”

This rapping Man of God is indeed on a fully-armed Crusade, brandishing and caressing his pistol grip assault rifle like a crucifix or sex toy. His hat says “Make America Great Again,” his T-shirt wants to “Impeach Biden.” Like Alexander, Gray fills out his disaffected stanzas with abundant use of “Ayy,” but the syllable packs way more menace coming from his lips.

Gray does his thing in front of a plain wall, dimly light. It might even be smokey, as if he’s on a gun range. His sidearm has been singing. Intermittently a Proud Boy type seen wearing a death-skull T-shirt and Mackinaw jackets flashes across the screen, lip-synching Gray’s lyrics. This is the rapper Tyson James, who along with a young Republican renegade Chandler Crump, joins in the dark dance.

As for conspiracy theories, Gray makes the same old conspiracy theories more explicit:  “Pandemic ain’t real, they just planned it, ayy, ayy.”

He even works in a bit of Trumpian economic thought along with Wall-Street-meets-and-Bible Belt eschatology:

Market ’bout to crash, this is what you chose
Ruinin’ the country, I think that’s the goal
You gon’ take the mark, I take narrow roads
I’m a man of God, I can never fold.

The final lines make a not unclever parallel between censorship and the now world-famous NASCAR driver’s first name:

“You ask questions, they start bannin’, ayy, ayy (facts)
Let’s go, Brandon, ayy, ayy (let’s go)”

At three-and-a-half minutes, Gray’s “Let’s Go Brandon” is a veritable epic compared to his competitor’s scant lines. Gray’s video is also a whole lot scarier, both in its images and the intensity of its anger.

The Let’s Go Brandon chant was heard early this Tuesday at the campaign headquarters of victorious Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. Probably some of the Youngkin faithful had one or both of these rappers’ iTune hits coursing through their EarPods.

Will one of these top-forty “Let’s Go Brandon” songs become the New Battle Hymn of the Republican Party? Has Trump, who consistently endured the humiliation of entertainers refusing to take up his invitations to sing at inaugurations and political conventions, already signed up his roster of musicians for his 2024 Restoration?

Don’t consult the oracle of YouTube. Take refuge in the Musical Republic a long way from Talladega.

Note: David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. Email him here. The above article was posted at CounterPunch.

+ + + + +

  1. 18 Responses to “THE RAP ON BRANDON”

  2. Big O is a place for Music.. Not politics, enough already and get back to music instead of stuff about hate groups like the redhats.. Thanks

    By Long time BigO Fan on Nov 15, 2021

  3. Hey Longtime…Let’s Go Brandon!

    By otis t on Nov 16, 2021

  4. That is a song (music), isn’t it?

    By otis t on Nov 18, 2021

  5. Otis.. Finish this.. Soy un perdedor..

    By Long time BigO Fan on Nov 20, 2021

  6. Yeah, I know that it’s rap - not really music. But is considered so in common circles…I know you probably don’t the English language so well, so let’s just leave at that, Amigo.

    By otis t on Nov 22, 2021

  7. Especially when I talk like that.

    By otis t on Nov 22, 2021

  8. Wow you are just as uneducated as his other followers.. He likes them that way you know, prefers it even.. I’m probably more of an actual American than you are seeing as how My Party didn’t storm the Capital after listening to Adolph Twittler spouting his mango manifesto to get cult followers like you all wound up.. Keep em coming, Short Bus. LOL!

    By Long time BigO Fan on Nov 23, 2021

  9. The phrase won’t go away any time soon because Trump’s supporters, and most Republicans, are divisive, ignorant assholes who are proud of their lack of intelligence.

    This is all they have- a three word, four syllable insult that they think is making libs cry.

    Most of them are too stupid to admit or even realize that Brandon beat their hero badly, and has done a very good job with the mess he inherited since taking office.

    The rappers are just ignorant opportunists. No one cares about them.

    By everyone else on bigO on Nov 24, 2021

  10. The phrase won’t go away because 46 is incompetent and always has been. He has done nothing for the USA since being elected and is nothing but an embarrassment to the country. Hopefully the morons who voted for him will wake up like they had to wake him during the climate change summit. Let’s go Brandon.

    By BigE on Nov 24, 2021

  11. BigE is very uninformed, Buiden has accomplished a lot in his short tenure:

    A highly efficient vaccine distribution system where none existed.

    The American Rescue Plan

    A bipartisan infrastructure plan that even Moscow Mitch praised.

    Reduced the US deficit, plus US trade deficit reduction

    Millions back to work, unemployment drops from about 6.4% to 4.6%, mainly due to his vaccine distribution system.

    Unlike his predecessor, no non-stop lying and stupid Tweets.

    By everyone else on bigO on Nov 24, 2021

  12. Then all you dumbfucks protest against people who don’t care to have poison injected into their own bodies. What ever happened to “my body, my choice”? Or is that exclusively for women who like to kill their own?

    By otis t on Nov 24, 2021

  13. Stop submitting to your government you. Don’t you people ever learn?

    By otis t on Nov 24, 2021

  14. And how could you forget about that success of an
    Afganistan pull out - that was just a thing of military beauty, from Communist China’s p.o.v. Our government has sold us down the river, China OWNS us, thanks to the Clinton(s), Obama and of course the clownshow Biden family.

    By otis t on Nov 24, 2021

  15. otis- if it were poison, everyone who got the vaccine would have died from it.

    Biden upheld Trump’s Afghanistan deal. Trump released 5,000 Taliban prisoners who immediately started training for their takeover, which was inevitable. Leaving would have been a mess no matter who was president or what the deal was.

    No, China does not own the US. Donald and Ivanka were very happy to accept more than 30 trademarks from Xi after Trump was elected. Trump had a secret bank account there, and made over $5 million from Chinese nationals renting space to them in Trump Tower. Who sold us down the river?

    By everyone else on bigO on Nov 27, 2021

  16. Again…STOP SUBMITTING TO THE GOVERNMENT!

    By otis t on Nov 27, 2021

  17. Otis forget the Afghan pullout, your Dad should have pulled out. Just another red hat trump clown, no vax and no education.. SMH..

    By Long time BigO Fan on Dec 1, 2021

  18. and not an elitist snob like you and all your filth. you stinky dirtbag.

    By otis t on Dec 1, 2021

  19. Everyone…- looks as though the vaccinated will all be dead of heart complications within 5 years, SUCKERS!

    By otis t on Dec 1, 2021

Post a Comment