There have been no publicized color-coded terror alert upgrades since the presidential election (hmm) and the "War on Christmas" turned into a cultural quagmire (who won that one, by the way?). So what are beleaguered conservatives up for election supposed to use to get our panties into a bunch? Luckily for them, some America-hating musicians recorded a version of the "Star-Spangled Banner" in Spanish, resulting in this season's latest fake hot issue, the "freedom fries" of 2006. The recording -- dubbed "Nuestro Himno" or "Our Anthem" -- was dreamt up by a British producer who says he felt a Spanish version of the U.S. national anthem would be a way of teaching non-English speaking immigrants (and potential immigrants) about the "American dream." The recording features appearances by Wyclef Jean, Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon. Our president -- ever in need of a poll boost -- eagerly weighed in on the controversy, saying, "I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English." This from the man who has shown English to be his own second language with statements like, "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure" and "The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country." More things conservatives can get into a fake uproar over: Yogurt in a tube, the World Baseball Classic and green ketchup.
Limited Material Girl
The Coachella Festival last weekend in Southern California boasted big names like Kanye West, Tool, Depeche Mode and Massive Attack (and up-and-comers and Indie faves like The Magic Numbers, My Morning Jacket, Cat Power, The Duke Spirit, TV on the Radio and Mates of State), and again served as a must-go pilgrimage for music snobs with the time and cash. But if you judge by nearly all of the news stories about the fest, the world's most famous MILF was the only artist that mattered. How'd Madonna do? Depends on whom you ask. The Associated Press reported that she "thrilled thousands of fans" and many online said she did fine, but others say she bombed, playing for only half an hour (and going on a half hour too late) and receiving boos. Rolling Stone reported that some in the audience wore T-shirts that said, "Madonna Ruined Coachella." Maddy, for her part, seemed good humored about it; she reportedly told the crowd it was her first festival, and asked "Who's going to share their drugs with me?" Awww, Mom! For CityBeat's coverage of the fest, go to citybeat.com.
We Got the Beef
Celebrity rappers often are at odds with fellow MCs and Rap beefs have become a sometimes dangerous cliché. So it's fun when they set their sights on more interesting (and less volatile) foes. None other than Oprah Winfrey (who hates beef -- remember the cattle industry lawsuit?) has drawn the ire of two rappers. In an interview with the AP, 50 Cent criticized the talk show host for never asking rappers on her program. Not that he cares. "I think she caters to older white women," 50 said in the interview. "Oprah's audience is my audience's parents." Meanwhile, a rapper who did appear on her show also had some tough words for Oprah. After promoting the film Crash with his castmates, Ludacris told GQ that comments he made on the show were edited out and that the host gave him a "hard time" about being a rapper. While Oprah probably has the power to have them both whacked in the blink of an eye, don't expect much out of these wars. Put them in the category of "Rap Feuds Most Likely To End In Fruit Baskets Being Sent."