head down, arms up, hands out

September 13th, 2010 | 5 comments

What is it with hip-hop and the arm wave? Why wave arms side-to-side in the air? Is this a gesture of unity? Like crowds of the mid 20th century, the arms aligned in position, all are become one, in the movement of movements….

But why the arms? Why are emcees so concerned with aligned arms? Why should we not care about it, or rather, why are emcees telling us not to care about it?

Hands in the air, the transcendance of care.

Watching Kool Keith I would expect Dr. Octagon to ask us to wave anything but arms in the air. Or, if waving arms, to signal with inventive and improvised semaphore the coordinates of the next landing, infrasonic investigation of orifices, or otherwise booty call for the Black Elvis.

But he too (and all his selves) are concerned with the unity of an arm wave set to regulation appeal.

In 1998, in San Francisco, Black Elvis does not call upon an audience to wave. The audience waves itself (according to footage).

In 2007, Kool Keith unmasked in hoodie, still holding spit but seemingly no longer split into conscious costume (or is he?), requires ultramagnetic inflection to wave arms at his behest, of an audience now almost exclusively white.

Heads down bop up, beatdown backpacks on – arms up, salute? Wave like you just don’t care?

If hip-hop cared or if it would die, would it resurrect a founding moment when emcees used arms and hands to signal black power? Black arms waving, a movement salute from the fingers, what was the black armed wave of the 1970s? Was it a counter-Travolta, counterdisco movement of the body, sleezy and wheezy, ready to punch drunk, where disco was tight and controlled?

The origins of the arm wave, mysterious, from the fingers to the hands, spit out the mouth. Lips.

RAMM:ELL:ZEE (RIP) armed the letters, took them off the wall, the letters had to race. What would it take to arm the arms waving? Arm them with what? An arm armed is an arm too many, an army formed under arms a wavin’. An arm doubled becomes armed. But at the end of the arm, is there not the hand?

Of course this could all be an overheard misunderstanding.

Wave your hands in the air. Throw your hands up. The hand to the extension of the arm. Fingers become scratch weapons. DJs talk with their hands.

Unlike the care of being in which the hand partakes, known as being-at-hand, or handiness from Heidegger (Zuhandenheit), in the density of hip-hop you throw it away. Throw your hands in the air. And wave them as if you just don’t care.

As if…?

(But really, one does. Care.)

Show up the hand, throw it down, throw it around. The display of the hand on the arm demonstrates readiness for arms. Is the hand thrown, throwness, not once again philosophy remixed in the gesture of sound?

I am born into the being of this world (In-der-Welt-sein) as a thrown hand, connected to an arm, heads up. Beat down. Projection of care through hands in the air.

What does it mean, then, to come from the projects?

Dasein is a “thrown” “projection,” projecting itself onto the possibilities that lie before it or may be hidden, and interpreting and understanding the world in terms of possibilities. Such projecting has nothing to do with comporting oneself toward a plan that has been thought out. It is not a plan, since Dasein has, as Dasein, already projected itself. Dasein always understands itself in terms of possibilities. As projecting, the understanding of Dasein is its possibilities as possibilities. One can take up the possibilities of “The They” self and merely follow along or make some more authentic understanding. (Wikipedia sample/ see Hubert Dreyfus’ book -Being-in-the-World-)

Hands together, now.

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    5 Responses to “head down, arms up, hands out”

    1. head down, arms up: What is it with hip-hop and the arm wave? Why wave arms side-to-side in the air? Is this a ges… http://bit.ly/bZXv4T

    2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tobias c. van Veen, BlueBlack Atlantis. BlueBlack Atlantis said: head down, arms up: What is it with hip-hop and the arm wave? Why wave arms side-to-side in the air? Is this a ges… http://bit.ly/bZXv4T […]

    3. head down, arms up, hands out: the wave & care | new post on fugitive.philosophy http://bit.ly/9v1lqU #afrofuturism #hiphop

    4. Laura G says:

      RT @fugitivephilo head down, arms up, hands out http://bt.io/Gcmo