Category Archives: rap music

Cummings looks as if he might smell

Why would you want to look like a typical urban thug?

Dalrymple writes that the only piece of writing he has seen by Dominic Cummings was

abominable, both verbose and hectoring. Reading it was like being cornered by a drunken bore at a party who has a totally new theory of the origin of the universe.

The British prime minister’s grey eminence dresses

like a thug from the slums. If you saw him in the twilight coming down the street towards you, you would think of crossing the road to avoid him.

The question for Dalrymple is whether the Svengali’s appearance

is the result of carelessness or of great care. I think the latter. He is the Marie Antoinette de nos jours. Instead of playing shepherdess he plays the boss of a trafficking outfit in a bleak public housing estate.


should anyone want to look like a practitioner of ‘rap’ or of that charming musical genre known as ‘grime’? Is it a case of sympathy for or identification with those to whom such a mode of dress comes naturally, as if there were no other choice for them; or is it a question of packaging? If the latter, as seems the more likely, what is the message that Mr Cummings wishes to convey?

Cummings is said to be a revolutionary at war with the ossified, suit-and-tie-wearing Establishment. If so, Dalrymple is,

sartorially speaking, on the side of the counterrevolutionaries, though I have no particular admiration for the Establishment that he is said to be at war with.

The musico-industrial complex

Black culture, writes Dalrymple, is

a conspiracy to keep blacks (actually, Jamaicans) in a state of helotry — as a reserve army of reluctant casual labourers.

A few,

possessed of minimal talent and little different from the rest, become very rich, though few hang on to their money because of the very ‘culture’ of which they are both the creators and the victims.

Stardom these days is awarded

not to exceptional people but to mediocrities, in order to keep the rest of the population daydreaming rather than forming proper and realisable ambitions.

The output of the musico-industrial complex

reinforces and makes actual the stereotype of the Jamaican as a man of small brain but large appetites, with a powerful though primitive sense of rhythm.

These qualities

are not very useful in social ascent: on the contrary, they inhibit it. It is therefore no accident that rap music is lionised in our Press, even taken seriously as a genuine rather than as an ersatz and prefabricated, that is to say industrialised, cry of protest from the streets.

It is time, says Dalrymple, that blacks broke free of

the musically and bureaucratically forged manacles that keep them forever subordinate, marginalised and criminalised.

The poor are a goldmine,

and so are the Jamaicans — for the record companies and welfare bureaucracies alike.

At the Métro station

Dalrymple sees several youths,

one of them with horrible rap music emanating loudly from somewhere about his person,

climb over the barriers to avoid paying for a ticket. They do so, he says, with impunity, in full view of the public and staff.

No one stops them or says anything to them; it isn’t worth the trouble. They are pleased with what they have done, an expression of the power of the powerless.

Dalrymple imagines that they

would have turned angry if anyone had said anything to them, as if their human rights were being infringed.

Rap is to music what a vulture is to a nightingale

Rap, writes Dalrymple, is the ‘music’

of resentment, not of protest.

In its nihilistic coarseness, its incitement to race war, and its incantations to self-pity as a justification for gross criminality,

the intention and effect is to provide a justification in advance for impulsive, self-destructive and violent behaviour.

Rap celebrates

the self-indulgent pleasures of angry self-righteousness and total self-exculpation.

Its lyrics convey

a thwarted sense of entitlement used as justification for armed robbery and crime conceived of as rightful restitution.


who sell and promote it to a population already susceptible to its decerebrate message are far worse than mere prostitutes.

But even without its psychologically extremely harmful effect,

even if it could be shown that it had no such effect, it would still be unutterably disgusting in its crudity. That people should use their freedom of expression for this! It is enough to make one long for censorship: the censorship under which most of the greatest art has been produced.

Islamism is a response to a psychic problem

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Adel Kermiche

Mohammedanism, writes Dalrymple,

rushed in to fill the gap left by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its collateral damage to the prestige of Marxism. How many of us predicted that this current of something that only vaguely approximates thought, and is more like an inflamed state of feeling, would become so important?

From the intellectual point of view,

even gender studies are more interesting than Islamism. No doubt the history of the world is replete with absurd doctrines for the sake of which people have been ready to kill and to die, but one might have hoped that in the 21st century no part of mankind would be any longer susceptible to Münster-Anabaptist-type delusions.

Anyone, says Dalrymple, who has read Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones

quickly appreciates the almost pathetic thinness of the political thought behind it.

The appeal of Islamism

is not to the head but to the gut. Young European-born Moslems who go to join Isis have biographies that are depressingly similar. Often (though not quite always) of poor educational attainment and economic prospects, and resentful of their subordinate place in society, they nevertheless take with enthusiasm and gusto to the less refined aspects of contemporary Western culture. Before conversion, as little boys go through a dinosaur stage, they go through a rap-music, drink, drug and petty-crime stage.


is the answer to their impasse, there now being no other on offer. Suddenly they are superior instead of inferior, important instead of insignificant, feared instead of despised; best of all, they are licensed to kill. Better a dead lion than a live rat.