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In Defense of Neo-Nazi Music

"Law enforcement and anti-racist activists should pay close attention to the [music] scene as a motivating force for hate crime because when extremist ideas endure, so does the potential for extremist actions," they warn. "We should not be surprised when other neo-Nazis follow suit, because potent inspiration for violence continues to percolate in white power music's hidden spaces of hate."
I tried to find some End Apathy lyrics for this story, but by the time I went looking the band's MySpace page had been scrubbed away. So I found the next best thing: lyrics from a band called the Blue-Eyed Devils, a defunct "hatecore" group that for years helped cultivate the kind of "spaces of hate" Futrell and Simi talk about. This is from the song "Murder Squad":
Traitors are hung and others shot dead
Kill the Jew and cut off his head
Destroy the enemy and his lies
Send the filth to an early demise
It's the same routine day to day
Murder anyone who gets in our way
A cleansing wind throughout this land
The final solution, the final stand
My orders are simple, plain and clear
Murder on command and have no fear
In my heart I know what's right
To do what I must for my nation's fight
I listened to "Murder Squad"—twice, actually—on a Nazi website I found, and I can't say I liked it very much. Besides the ultra-racist lyrics, the music is awful and the production worse. It sounds like it was recorded in a teenager's bedroom. In the end, it was no "Dead Wrong."
In deference to the uninitiated, "Dead Wrong" is a song from the Notorious B.I.G.'s posthumous third record, Born Again. It features a guest verse from Eminem, and is easily one of the most violent mainstream rap songs of recent memory. Some sample verses:
Tears don't affect me, I hit 'em with the Tech, G
Disrespect me, my potency is deadly
I'm shootin' babies, no ifs, ands or maybes
Hit mummy in the tummy if the hooker plays a dummy
Slit the wrist of little sis, after she sucked the dick
I stabbed her brother with the icepick
Because he wanted me to fuck him from the back
But Smalls don't get down like that
Caught your father hidin' in a room, fucked him with the broom
Slit him down the back and threw salt in the wound
Who you think you're dealin' with?
Anybody steppin' in my path is fuckin' feelin' it
Basically, "Dead Wrong" is the kind of brutal, ugly, hyper-misogynistic stuff my mom was always worried I was listening to when I lied and said my rap records weren't that bad—and I love it. I love it so much, in fact, that I was able to come up with most of those verses above from memory. The college I went to was in a very small town in Virginia, and often, to get away from campus, I would borrow my roommate Will's Jeep Grand Cherokee, which had the loudest speakers of all my friends' cars, and drive around running errands. Will's shake-the-rear-view speakers were an important element of those drives, as none were complete until we played some rap music very loudly with the windows down, an act I consider to this day to be an invaluable part of my childhood. The song selection was much what you'd expect from young men in the early aughts—"In da Club," "Ain't No Fun," etc.—but we always seemed to come back to one particular track that my friend Andrew could scream word-for-word: "Dead Wrong."
I've been thinking about "Dead Wrong" a lot lately while reading the breathless, alarmist inveighs against white-power music. Like many coastal liberals, I find all forms of bigotry grotesque, and thus I find songs like "Murder Squad " grotesque. But I must also acknowledge the hypocrisy of thinking neo-Nazi bands are unlistenable garbage while not thinking at all about putting onto my iPod "Dead Wrong." Or playing "Gimme That Nut," Eazy-E's infamous anti-woman anthem, at a house party. Or playing on a bar's jukebox my favorite Misfits song, "Last Caress," the opening line of which is, "I got something to say, I killed a baby today, and it doesn't matter much to me as long as it's dead." After that, Danzig, the lead singer, says he raped your mom.
I've listened to that and other violent Misfits songs hundreds of times in my life, even as a teenager, before my brain was done developing, and yet I've never raped or killed anyone. Nor did "Dead Wrong" ever make me interested in the idea of sodomizing a man with a broom, slicing open his skin, then torturing him by putting salt in his gaping wounds. For all its disgusting chaos and carnage, it was just a song my friends and I rapped on the way to the Mexican buffet near our house.
People like Futrell and Simi try to avoid sounding like the neo-Tipper Gores that they are by not condemning the neo-Nazi music itself and instead saying that it's the culture around the music that's dangerous. It's the "spaces of hate" they're after, they say, not the art. But then they expose their anti-free speech leanings by finger-wagging and threatening that we shouldn't be surprised if another white-power maniac kills people thanks to this hateful music scene. That—and I'm so glad I work at Gawker now so I can say this—is a total crock of shit.


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