Deprogram

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Not too long ago I was unfortunate enough to be exposed to the garbino that is Mos Def’s Tru Magic. Where did Mos go wrong? He started off shinin’ like Danny Torrance with his guest appearances on “Big Brother Beat” and “The Love Song,” carried Talib Kweli on The Black Star album and caught total wreck on Black On Both Sides. Fast forward five years and you could still see the saliva hanging off the jowls of Hooch-like backpackers anticipating Mos’ sophomore album The New Danger. When The New Danger was released you could hear a needle drop. However, the silence gave way to a backlash, and soon many were questioning Mos’ unsatisfying new direction. I was intrigued by the idea of raps about sports icons, especially one with a story as interesting as Jack Johnson, but the album was a hot ass mess that lacked real direction.

After finishing the even bigger mess of an album True Magic I realized that drastic times call for drastic measures. Forget the excuses being thrown out there on the web by Mos’ groupies that it was only released so he could get out of his contract. What kind of drastic measures would get Mos’ music career back on track? Let’s be real, no hip hop fans are really interested in seeing Black Dante on the big screen with Bruce Willis or Marky Mark. Standing up to Billy Bob Thornton in Monster’s Ball and getting gully with Kevin Bacon in The Woodsman was good and all, but the shit has gone too far. Is it the acting that is destroying Mos’ rhyming proficiency? Is it women? Everyone has heard about Mos’ court battles and recent marriage to a video chick. Mos’ kids didn’t earn that Italian Job money! Mos did! Everyone has witnessed what marriage has done to many successful athletes- they lose their hunger and are shells of their former selves. Has Mos fallen victim to a succubus?

Then it hit me. Deprogram. Not quite like the Channel Live song “Reprogram,” although it may not be a bad idea to play it during Mos’ deprogramming. I recalled the most recent season of Nip/Tuck, where Sean and Christian attempted to deprogram Matt, who had fallen victim to the succubus Kimber and very neatly dressed Scientologists. Although their attempt to kidnap his crazy ass and throw him in the back of their van was unsuccessful, it was a brilliant idea. When looking a little deeper into the deprogramming process, it seems as if there is no real standard and different individuals have various techniques and methods.

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Sylvia Buford describes five steps that she uses, which could just work with Mos

  • Discredit the figure of authority: The cult leader
    This may be tricky, but I am sure the deprogrammer could figure it out. Would Hollywood or Mos’ woman be considered the cult leader? Maybe they should just discredit both and get him focused on what he needs to be focused on- hip hop.
  • Present contradictions (ideology vs. reality): “How can he preach love when he exploits people?” is an example.
    How can you create “Brown Skin Lady” and be messing with a white video chick? (Now the rumor is he is cutting her off only to mess with a Dubai princess). How can you be against “tall Israelis” but star in Hollywood films? Are the Israelis running around Hollywood lacking in the height department? Keep it real, Mos.
  • The breaking point: When a subject begins to listen to the deprogrammer; when reality begins to take precedence over ideology.
    This is where actually playing Mos’ albums from earliest to most recent may be effective. Let him listen to Black On Both Sides then play True Magic and The New Danger for 12 hours straight. Read quotes from reviews, hip hop bloggers, and once loyal fans.
  • Self-expression: When the subject begins to open up and to voice some of his own gripes against the cult.
    Let Mos get all that anger about his child support payments, racism in Hollywood, poor catering, and what other bullshit that would get him as far away from a movie set as possible.
  • Identification and transference: When the subject begins to identify with the deprogrammers, starts to think of himself as an opponent of the cult rather than a member of it.
    Perhaps the deprogrammer should be a fan of hip hop and Mos’ early work. I don’t know if a deprogramming is like Intervention where they bring in the family members and friends, but that could also work wonders. Imagine De La Soul, Talib Kweli, Dave Chappelle, and others pushing Mos to return to his roots and leave that flashy shit behind him.

The only problem with deprogramming is that it costs guap. Big guap. “Deprogramming typically costs $10,000 or more, mainly because of the expense of a security team. Exit counseling typically costs $2,000 to $4,000, including expenses, for a three-to-five day intervention, although cases requiring extensive research of little-known groups can cost much more.” I may just have to start a website, http://www.deprogrammos.com and get a Paypal link up there so Mos fans who care about him can donate to the cause.

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