Five Finger Death Punch singer labels rappers “soft,” plus nu-metal annivesaries

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According to Loudwire.com, Ivan Moody, lead singer of nu-metal band Five Finger Death Punch, reports that rappers are about as “hard as soft butter.” Reportedly the singer adds, “That’s all there is to it. I have not met a rap dude yet who intimidates me – – at all.”

The immediate response to this is either a slow clap or askance. There are so many questions in regard to this. Chief among them, who was aware there was a contest to frighten Moody? Second, as homicide rates among black American males continue to climb, maybe personas and lyrics that promote violence are a bit out of vogue for some rappers? It is as if Moody thought he would meet rappers (and their ethos) from two or three decades ago.

The interview finds Moody talking about rappers in general, but only names one in particular. Something seems off and problematic about the comments. First, they are opinions. The article’s details indicate that a rapper’s politeness, lack of “posse,” and general inability to scare Moody are the singer’s guidelines for how hard a rapper is. Second, how large is the sample size? For people who have some idea about rap artists, Moody’s comments seem premature. Has he met more rappers who are his age? Even meeting a handful of new rap artists, or one nice guy who is Moody’s age, is not going to give him the idea of the mindset and personal carriage of those who gave the urban genre its reputation. Third, Moody fails to consider that maybe the rappers he met were unintimidated by him, and as a result had nothing to prove.

Five Finger Death Punch singer, rappers and the future of nu-metal

The quotes from Moody are problematic because they don’t ring true. Let’s hope that he is not just saying this because he found Loudwire a safe space to do so. While there are some rappers whose street cred is non-existent, there are plenty who have actual criminal  records, and perhaps a negative interaction with a rock singer they know next to nothing about is not worth the felony.

The most problematic part of this is how Moody is using his own fear, or lack thereof, as a means to measure an entire genre’s manhood. A move that smacks of racism. Would he also expect to fear female rappers? The variables that Moody fails to address are significant.

Moody almost makes it impossible to look at his comments objectively. In an era when people of color continue to have their character and motives questioned, for a white man performing in a  genre heavily represented by other white people, to feel the need to declare that (essentially) only other white men intimidate him is either racist or odd, or both, depending on a person’s perspective.

His comments bring to mind the Suge Knight and Vanilla Ice incident. Maybe Moody could explain the incident’s veracity.

Moody’s assertions come on the 14th anniversary of Jay-Z’s collaboration with Linkin Park, which prompts questions about the lasting appeal of nu-metal. The genre typically mixes the elements of both rap and metal. For some, Moody’s comments will be unnecessarily divisive.

It would be interesting to hear what rappers have to say about Moody’s comments. Of late, artists such as Snoop Dogg, T.I., Ice Cube, and Eminem have made a series of politically charged statements and recordings. Their takes on Moody’s comments would be entertaining to say the least.

More than likely Moody’s comments will not destroy nu-metal, or hard rock in general. The comments are, however, sadly indicative of the current social climate in which people make one-dimensional observations and attempt to dress them up like facts.

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Wow way to go on turning something around to be racist. Did Moody’s comment say anything about a particular race or color of any rappers he thinks about? The writer is the one who injected race into the conversation. It goes to show the state of society. Of course it was Moody’s opinion, and nobody has to agree with someone else’s opinion, but why inject race into it?

  2. You SERIOUSLY thought it was “necessary” to twist this into a commentary about race? Moody was talking about his friend MGK (who is white btw) painting him as “Just a Big Kid”. Moody noted that many of today’s Rappers are just poets, artists, “soft as butter” versus the “O.G” Rappers they try to emulate (who were “real” and “not to be messed with”)

    It’s not a difficult cognitive jump to arrive at the conclusion that Moody was sympathetic and he was simply implying that the unnecessary lyrical combativeness can potentially put these younger artists in unintended danger and very REAL crosshairs they are probably not ready to deal with. After that assessment, he drew the parallel with his own genre (Rock/Metal) where there is no precedent of back and forth lyrical battles, therefore talking about other artists’ personal lives would raise eyebrows and have immediate repercussions regardless of the lack of “rap sheet certified toughness”. It would be unacceptable and even the Randy Blythes and Jonathan Davises who are typically small frame guys would knock on your door and demand an explanation. THAT is what Moody was talking about.

    My overall assessment is that you are reaching. Your article displays a repulsive and opportunistic form of “journalistic flexibility” employed to generate clickbait headlines, which is the saddest kind of attempt to gain entry into a conversation that seems to have flown above your head. For that, you get a D- For the clickbait, it worked. I clicked.

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