Apache Ain't Shit

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It's impossible to examine Apache Ain't Shit without some discussion of political and social issues. Parts of Apache's album indulge in what comes across as racist, anti-white humor -- most notably, "A Fight" and "Kill D'White People." Some have argued that because the tunes are exactly that -- humor -- listeners shouldn't take everything the New Jersey rapper says seriously. Humor is, to be sure, a big part of Apache Ain't Shit, and the CD's title lets listeners know that some of that humor is quite self-deprecating. How many people in rap -- a genre that can be very ego-driven -- would have an album title telling listeners they "aren't sh*t?" And the sexually explicit "Who Freaked Who" finds female rapper Nikki D telling Apache how disappointing he was in bed. So listeners certainly can't say that Apache doesn't have a lot of laughs at his own expense. And because Apache Ain't Shit contains so much self-deprecating humor, some hip-hop writers argued that his more questionable lyrics weren't to be taken seriously. In 1989, the same type of arguments were used to defend Axl Rose's use of offensive language on Guns n' Roses' controversial "One in a Million"; Rose insisted that he wasn't a racist and that the tune wasn't meant to be taken seriously. Some blacks who knew Rose personally agreed that he wasn't really a racist, and even though they were probably right, "One in a Million" is still guilty of insensitivity. Similarly, even if "A Fight" is only meant to be a tasteless joke, it doesn't exactly go out of its way to promote healthy race relations. But as questionable some of Apache's lyrics are, he isn't without talent. For those who have a taste for raunchy humor, explicit tunes like "Woodchuck" and the single "Gangsta Bitch" are genuinely funny. Questionable lyrics and all, this is an often entertaining, if uneven, debut that managed to stimulate a fair amount of discussion among hip-hoppers in 1993.

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