Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rappers Defending Pigs

The title of this post probably sounds like I'm making fun of something or someone, but no. It's really an accurate description of today's subject. Apparently we've come a long way from MCs like Krs rapping, "Some eat swine, better known as also pork. They stab it and they stab it 'till they get it on their fork. The first one to say there's nothing wrong with the pig - but haven't you seen the way this animal lives?" He's not just repping vegetarianism (although he often extols the benefits of such); dude has something serious against pigs. And he certainly wasn't alone in referring to pigs as dirty animals and such. But that was then. Today we're looking at a collection of disparate rappers have come together to defend pigs.

Specifically what we have here is a DVD called Woof! Think About It released by PETA2 in 2003. I'm sure we all know about the organization PETA; but I had to do a bit of online research to figure out specifically what PETA2 is. Turns out they are a division of of PETA (it's not a whole separate group of people or anything) aimed specifically at people aged 13-21; and apparently they're highly (primarily?) active on the Warped Tours.

So, now, this DVD isn't exclusively hip-hop focused. It features the involvement of all sorts of artists I've mostly never heard of, but I guess are the sort of rock bands that you would've found on Warped Tour in 2003. But there is a surprisingly high percentage of hip-hop artists featured, and the DVD menu even has an option that lets you to view just the hip-hop stuff. So let's do it!

But we can't actually get to the menu without watching a four minute intro video detailing the premise of this disc. It's spelled out very clearly, written in all caps onscreen alongside an animated pig: "THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PIGS AND DOGS IS THE WAY WE TREAT THEM." It may be tempting to point out some of the many obvious differences between pigs and dogs (One's Canis and one's Suidae! Their noses are different!, etc), but let's be mature about this. The idea is that pigs are lovable as dogs, and if you treat your pet dog lovingly, you should feel guilty about slaughtering pigs for food. Got it, okay. There are other blogs interested in this subject matter, but not this one, so... skipping to the rappers!

First up is Chuck D. There's a quick shot of him performing on stage (presumably at Warped Tour, doing a soft, funk-guitar driven version of "Fight the Power") followed by a backstage/outdoors interview, all watermarked with PETA2's website. His whole segment is only 92 seconds, and the sound quality is terrible... I think they're just using the camera's built-in mic, or something else omnidirectional, so the band playing off-screen is almost drowning out Chuck.  All very quick and amateur. Chuck tells us the only animal he eats is fish and he cut out eating other meats while touring in the 80s because it required so much physical stamina, and something I can't make out about corporations that sell meat.

Next up is the Cool Kids, and they've at least pulled these guys into some little private corner somewhere so we can hear them better. But we still hear the concert, In fact, they've added a generic hip-hop beat to the clip, to drown out the background noise and smooth out the rough edits; but it just winds up muddying together, to create a weird, unlistenable mess of murky rock and weak hip-hop. Anyway, the Kids themselves talk about how fur coats are usually dirty and, "like, beat up a cat, or like kill a cat or something, you know, those are usually more towards the people that will end up killing people." The whole thing's only about two minutes long.

The Grouch and uncredited lady friend
So, anyway, you get the idea. The rest of the clips are pretty much the same. We've got Dead Prez (actually just Stic), POS and Sims of Doomtree (who seem to have been filmed when the concert was just being set up, so the sound is clearer), several members of Living Legends (LuckyIAm, Aesop, The Grouch, Murs - who can't be heard at all - and Bicasso) and Masta Killa (whose clip is labeled as "B-Roll" even though it looks to be the same as everybody else's). Finally, we end with a clip of Sage Francis, which is actually a bit more substantial. The sound is cheap but audible, the clip is longer (almost four minutes!), and the edits are semi-professional. If you actually picked this DVD up because you wanted to hear one of your favorite artists talk about vegetarianism and the meat packing industry, I'd say this is the only clip that won't leave you disappointed.

I feel like InstaRapFlix has been resurrected, because this whole thing is just another non-project like Thug Holiday Uncut, DJ Demp: Dirty for Life or Slip N Slide - Memorial Day Weekend. Rappers are cornered at shows for quick, low-quality soundbites where they have nothing prepared to say and you can't hear them say it anyway. It's the cheapest, non-professional equipment (back when there was a much greater division between professional cameras and personal use stuff) by people who don't know how to use it (beginners, please at least remember this basic "signal to noise" rule: keep your mic close to the person talking), and no direction. Nothing against the rappers themselves here (although the Cool Kids, do kinda come off like a pair of idiots), but on one hand it's actually a good thing these clips are so short, because they're so painful to sit through.

I took a quick peak at some of the artists' clips from other genres... some are much better quality. For the Fall Out Boy and Anti-Flag interviews, for example, they're on a set, the interviewer has a mic, the video quality is far superior... They're longer and look like typical MTV interviews. There's also a lot more of them. And there are also other, more general PETA videos on here, like Chew On This or Meet Your Meat, which are decidedly more professionally produced, which somebody clearly spent actual time putting together. And unlike the other DVDs mentioned a paragraph ago, this one was, I believe, given away for free by PETA (though somebody clearly tried to sell this copy for $4), so you can't really call this a rip-off like those were. Just a cheap piece of crap, which also had a lot less novelty value than I was hoping for. Oh well.


  1. Ideally it would have been cool for the footage to be good quality. I think the purpose of the video was to show young easily influenced kids that the artists they look up to don't eat meat and therefore the kids shouldn't either. Its a mission statement video. Also, I'm sure you remember how it was to be a kid, any live footage, no matter how shitty, was great.

  2. either way I think I should say, it was cool how you brought attention to this vid on your site. more light should be shed on veg friendly rappers. thanks!