Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The strange case of schoolboys in their slippers: fo' shizzle, ma nizzle?

Sounds like a case for gumshoe, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to solve but it is all too real according to latest reports from the land of the great white cloud. NZ schools have been afflicted with hundreds of kids appearing in their slippers. Befuddled by the phenomenon and over-whelmed by the number of children involved, school authorities are at a loss what action to take let alone explain the phenomenon. Most put the defiance down to teenage non-conformity and peer pressure but the likely reason is more sinister. NZ has reported an alarming rise in street crime culture epitomised by the Crips and Bloods. The escapades of which are sung about in ‘gangsta rap'. Snoop Dogg (aka Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jnr) and the Snoopadelics are incredibly popular in NZ and Australia (as elsewhere), despite him being recently banned by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship on character grounds, citing his prior criminal convictions as unacceptable. Behind the hard man image, Snoop Dog evolved from his family nickname Snoopy as Young Calvin was a Peanuts fan. The hip-hopper has an Australian girlfriend, Sophie Monk (ex Bardot), and now wants to immigrate to the big brown land, much to the consternation of the Australian authorities. Calvin grew up in California’s Long Beach City where he was a teenage member of the notorious Crip gang, the Rollin' 20's Crips, lead by Bow Keene Mundine. (I jest not). Calvin served short prison sentences and there his talent for hip hop was recognised and developed. Members of Crips and Bloods value the medium of gangsta rap and use it as a form of musical graffiti to communicate. A large part of the allure of street gang culture,like all secret societies, is the signs and symbols (the knowledge), they use. Clothes form a very important part of the culture and subsequenlty many hip hop lyrics refer to shoes and other attire. Despite singing of the virtues of “Chucks,” in Snoopafella. Snoopafella is an interesting and modern parody on Cinderella, where the lost shoe is a Converse Chuck that belongs to Snoop Dog.

“I said, "Herb, my man, just make me fresh
And I'm sure that I can handle, all the rest"
With a snap of his fingers sparks began to shoot
And I was jumpin in my body: a slick silk suit
On my feet was some white tube socks
And a fresh pair of Chucks from the Foot-lock.”

Now Snoop Dogg promotes his own rap clothing brand which includes signature sneakers i.e. Pony Sneakers (“Doggy Biscuitz”). Snoop Dogg is a self confessed pot head and loves guns with recent criminal convictions for both. Whether as a mark of defiance or not, the high profile rapper has taken to publically wear slippers outside which have boldly embroidered marijuana leaves on them.

“Early the next mornin, when I awoke
I threw on me old slippers with me old housecoat”

As the Snoopman would say, “fo' shizzle, ma nizzle?”

Elementary, dear boy.

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