Friday, December 26, 2008

The most racist songs ever recorded

If you don’t have a strong stomach for unfettered expressions of Southern racism – with N-words aplenty – you won’t want to listen to the music I’m streaming with this post.

On the other hand, the fact that Obama was elected president might make it easier to handle.

Let’s start in 1990, when I interviewed the essayist Stanley Crouch by phone. The subject was 2 Live Crew, whose foul-mouthed rap songs were cause for much consternation amongst the bourgeoisie (and law enforcement entities).

Stanley Crouch doesn’t like hip-hop. And he hated 2 Live Crew; “they’re just some vulgar, street-corner-type clowns” who shouldn’t be defended by intelligent black folk.

Yet Crouch acknowledged that, in his youth, he found the vulgar, street-corner rhymes of Rudy Ray Moore to be “kind of comical.”

I asked Mr. Crouch whether a record’s “comical” impact, in itself, imbued it with artistic value and social merit.

“No no no no no no no no,” Crouch responded. “If funny is the justification, then any kind of humor has cultural validity.

“I mean, I remember hearing a record a long time ago, put out by, I think, the White Citizens’ Council, which was called ‘For Segregationists Only.’ ... And the target of the humor was the civil-rights activists and shiftless, no-account, welfare [blacks].”

I’d never heard of “For Segregationists Only,” but I was curious. In the Internet Age, of course, every old cultural artifact is new again. You can purchase “For Segregationists Only” from white racist websites.

Or you can go the illegal-download route, which I did.

“For Segregationists Only” was not put out by the White Citizens’ Council but by a bona fide Louisiana record producer named J.D. “Jay” Miller.

Miller, who died in 1996, was a renowned purveyor of Cajun music, swamp pop and blues. He even produced records by black artists such as Slim Harpo, Lightnin’ Slim and Katie Webster. (I wonder what these black musicians thought about Miller’s catalog of white-supremacist tunes such as “Kajun Klu Klux Klan.”)

Today, the J.D Miller Recording Studio Museum is considered a cultural landmark in the city of Crowley, La.

Miller’s most prolific racist artist was known as Johnny Rebel. Click these song titles to hear some of Johnny Rebel’s 1960s output:

1. “Nigger Hatin’ Me”

2. “Some Niggers Never Die”

3. “Nigger Nigger”

4. “Move Them Niggers North”


Who was Johnny Rebel? He was a Cajun musician named C.J. Trahan, a.k.a. Pee Wee Trahan. He is still alive. And he is unrepentant.

“I used to think I was prejudiced. I am not prejudiced,” Trahan told an interviewer a few years ago. “If you are prejudiced, you don’t like all races. Well, I don’t have anything against all races. ...

“They asked me to [make those records], hell, I did it. I would do anything to make a buck. Hell, I made a few bucks off of it.”

Trahan has no particular love for black folks, however. “Blacks develop an attitude towards the whites, and they won’t let it go,” he said. “They won’t let go of what happened.

“Why should we pay reparations for things that happened 200 years ago? I didn’t have a slave. I was run out of my country... my ancestors were run out of Nova Scotia.”

Since becoming an underground celebrity on the Internet, “Johnny Rebel” has put out an album of new material. Click here to hear “Quit Your Bitchin’ Nigger!” from Trahan’s 2003 album “It’s the Attitude, Stupid!”

Other tunes on this album are “Niggers Suck!” and “Send ’Em All Back to Africa.”

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

tragic!

did you hear garrett morris's providing the background to his skit "i'm going to get me a shotgun and kill all of the whities i see..."?

it was based on a woman who performed at a north carolina talent show in the 1940s or 50s, her rendition "i'm going to get me a shotgun and kill all of the niggers i see..."

but hey, at least one of us will be protected by secret service and CIA agents even for "a joke."

Lyndon said...

Whoops, somehow another comment showed up.

My brother listens to this bullshit. He's an unrepentant racist and he thinks that "Johnny Reb" is "telling it like it is."

Whenever I hear about this vile and disgusting music, I feel like apologizing to the entire black community.

"Hey. Sorry about that. We're not all that way."

bklyn6 said...

I'm a little low on intestinal fortitude today. Nevertheless, thanks for the insightful post!

"Hey. Sorry about that. We're not all that way."

I guess knowing this keeps me hopeful for humanity.

Thembi said...

I read this post yesterday and meant to comment on how great it was both from a conceptual and research perspective. My subconscious made me dream that you and I started a website kind of like mentalfloss.com and all of the articles aimed to overturn stones like these. My ex-bf and flava flav were also in the dream and told me they had Crohns disease and wanted my donation. So yeah, less spicy food before bed for me...anyway high quality post, I'm sharing it with my mom...

John B. said...

Sorry, I couldn't find my way to listen to the music. Maybe another day.

Glad you could write about Stanley Crouch without the denunciation that seems mandatory in some circles.

I don't always agree with Mr. Crouch, but I always find him thought-provoking. He's his own man, and calls 'em the way he sees 'em.

Edshugeo The GodMoor said...

I remember finding some Johnny Rebel songs during the Napster days. I don't remember how I got there. Must've been looking for some other Rebel or some other Johnny. But anyway, I did find them funny and he was kinda talented. I don't keep any of that stuff in my current music collection, though.

Undercover Black Man said...

Thembi, I am honored to have guest-starred in your dream!

Constructive Feedback said...

Undercover Black Man:

I am not quite following your train of thought on this piece.

On the one hand you are bothered by the "Southern racism" that is contained on this record but then the Obama presidency provides you with a bit of comfort. Please connect this logic for me?

Don't certain acts of ignorance STAND ALONE? Aren't they implicitly putrid? Or are we simply talking about YOUR mental rationalizations of it all? Thus the fact that, as Young Jeezy says "My President Is A Black Man", allows you to have some sense of power over these White folks who have offended you so?

I am amazed how "one toothless White man in a t-shirt who lives in a cabin in Montana" has the POWER via his WHITE SKIN to define or redefine the race relations between White and Black in America. His one ignorant act is able to trump all of the millions of daily interactions between White and Black which prove otherwise.

Why is it that this one recording of a record that no Black person had ever heard of before you gave it publicity is supposed to have more of an impact upon me as a Black man than does the other materials that is making far greater impact on our young people per its electronic distribution?

These White racists receive an imprint per their single purchase of the CD, vinyl record or 8 track tape purchase of this IGNORANCE. Our own children get to listen to the ignorance streamed to them via iTunes, MySpace's audio, their local radio station - or failing that their big brother/sister or even their parents singing to them as they rise in the car. And you think that Second Hand Smoke is damaging. There is none more damaging than Second Hand Ignorance.

Why do you (seemingly) promote the supremacy of these WHITE FOLKS in comparison to that which is negatively impacting our people in proportion?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Constructive, I'm not quite following you. Let me just state the obvious: I presented this information for whatever value you wish to draw from it... or not.

Nipsey Muhammad said...

I'd like to see Clayton Bigsby cover these tunes.

KeWayne said...

Constructive Feedback said...
Why do you (seemingly) promote the supremacy of these WHITE FOLKS in comparison to that which is negatively impacting our people in proportion?
December 27, 2008 9:44 AM
************************
I'll give a buck-two-ninety-five to anyone (other than Mr. CF) capable of translating the above statement...

KeWayne said...

Always good to hear from Nipsey. Happy Holidays, Mr. Muhammad...

Nipsey Muhammad said...

^ Happy Kwanzaa, Bro. Lincoln.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

I wasn't offended by these songs or this post. I found it quite interesting and entertaining actually. It comes off as a parody to me, but that it was produced and sold for white entertainment - well it kinda tells me something.

Thanks Dave.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thank you, DeAng. I like what you say about it feeling like parody. "Nigger Hatin' Me" in particular could almost be making fun of its cracker audience... "I'm broke, I can't buy a Coke... so fuck the NAACP...

And by the way... the NAACP? How long has it been since white folk were scared of the NAACP?

Ezra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Cool, now how do i download these songs to iTunes?

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad your blog came up when I did a Google on the J.D. Miller Recording Studio Museum. I was going to photograph it for a huge tourism project, not realizing the history, of course. I'm so glad I read your page -- it would have been really bad if we'd sent tourists there!

Thanks & good work.

Anonymous said...

best music ive ever heard!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are doing a blog about SONGS OF HATE AGAINST PEOPLE. Now that you have placed up the song of one hate song against a group of people when will you place up songs of other people and groups that write THE MOST RACIST SONGS YOU'LL EVER HEAR. There are more on the market you know. Just pick your heritage/race/creed/nationality/color/etc and you will find more. There are many songs about hate for what is known as WHITEY That is hate against the white race in the case you wern't aware...

Texas Jewboy said...

I was digging around for info on for who-the-hell is Nicholas Stix [apparently that is his real name] and found your site.... Great writing! How fortunate you can get do it for a living!

Two things:

1) “Send ’Em All Back to Africa” [_not_ the song] would be a great motto for the whole human race. It’d really put in perspective the squabbling about who owns what plot of dirt because their ancestors got there first.

2) You should set up a category for the most racist epithets used in an anti-racism song. I hereby nominate “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore” by Kinky Friedman.

danielj said...


And by the way... the NAACP? How long has it been since white folk were scared of the NAACP?


Just in case you didn't know this and I'm bettin you did...

The NAACP didn't have a Black president until around the seventies if I'm not mistaken.

Wanna take a guess at which of Auster's relatives was running shit?

ihatethem said...

this is bull ya'll need to understand something johhny reb is just tellin what he feels i feel the same way he does and if you dont like it you can kiss my WHITE ass!! i am racist and cant nobody do nothin bout it!!!!1

Anonymous said...

I'm 59 and spent some time in the south in the 60's while in the military and I've never heard these songs before.But believe me I've met some of the people who would buy this crap.What's sad is these ignorat racist are now alive and well in the north too.

danielj said...

So you think we should just kill people that commit thought crime?

Anonymous said...

This thread is kind of old but I just found it. If anyone is still reading, I want to point out that J.D. Miller's studio, in Crowley, Louisiana, also put out lots of great blues, zydeco and swamp pop recordings. The extreme irony behind this thread is that if you do the research, you'll read that there were actually black musicians, as well as white, who played on those racist records. Pee Wee Trahan's quote along the lines of "I'll record anything if you pay me good money" rings true. When it comes to music, even in some parts of the South, the color lines were a lot less distinct. I'm not justifying the content of the songs, just saying there's a bit more to the story. (By the way, I'm posting as Anonymous because it's a pain in the ass to create a new account just to make a comment. I'm not trying to hide.)

Anonymous said...

i have been listening to johny rebel as well as david allen coe for many years as well as buckwheat zydeco and many other cajun musicians. i believe racism is funny it is words that is all anyone who sees fit to take words personal needs to grow up i was born in the south and will die in the south