Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Showtime series, “Who Is America?” is hard to watch. Even for some of us who love him and aren’t remotely surprised by the political stunts he’s managed to pull off. When you’re inundated with depressing news, not many of us want to go out of our way to watch a show that leaves us feeling more depressed.
(it’s also hard to watch when you don’t have Showtime so maybe I’ve convinced myself not to watch it because I can’t afford to pay for another network)
This segment however, looks like it might be worth a Showtime trial offer and the call to cancel said trial offer.
Sacha, disguised as Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello, shows up for an Atlanta rap battle with local legend, Ness Lee. Vulture had the most interesting conversation with Ness about the episode. Click here to read the interview.
So what was the takeaway from the lens of Ness?
I think it does help bridge the gap with ethnicity and race and culture and religion in the world. If I had to explain battle rap in a few sentences, I’d call it the biggest frat in the world. It’s a huge melting pot. It’s people of every culture and upbringing you can imagine. I’ve battled in London, Sweden, Australia, Africa, Canada. We all know each other, we all talk, and we’re all cool with each other. No matter what we’re going through or what biases we may have or what prejudices we may have, we come together at the end of the day and love each other. We’re an actual family. My homeboy that was behind me in the segment, the short white guy, Sonny Bamboo, he’s one of Atlanta’s greatest battle rappers and lyricists of all time. We met through battle rap and he’s now one of my best friends. I wouldn’t understand certain things about white people if it wasn’t for him. We’re a culture of people who say things about each other and tear each other down on camera, but the biggest part of what people don’t see is the camaraderie and sense of community behind the scenes. My segment showed a part of that.
So what if we make a rule…if you want to argue about politics, maybe you should have to comply with the laws of battle rap?