The Negro Problem

Post Minstrel Syndrome

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Here is ole Stew when he was just Stew, before celebrity made a righteous semi-rock star out of him; back when he was so dangerous no one would dare play his band or put flyers up for performances because of the band's name. Post Minstrel Syndrome is like a breath of fresh air, a no-man's land where the politics and social vision of C.L.R. James meet Spike Lee in the home of Big Joe Turner's R&B, and primal, snaky rock & roll. Tracks like "The Meaning of Everything," "Doubting Uncle Tom," "Ghetto Godot," and "2 Inch Dick Mobile" are fierce and blistering -- not to mention hilarious -- indictments of race culture in America, where everything does come down to race and class at the end of the day. Here, in the land of the free, Stew's brand of funky, punky, gritty pop suggests that race is class in Amerikkka. But nowhere does Stew's irony and wacky sense of the absurd come through better than in the most original and scintillating rendition of "MacArthur Park" ever rendered. Richard Harris (rest in peace) may have gotten the gist, but I am sure it's lost on Jimmy Webb. Post Minstrel Syndrome is rock & roll at its most dangerous played by Stew and a group of monster musicians who know the end of the world already happened and that history has nothing whatsoever to do with the past because it is always in the present tense.

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