So Allhiphop.com is reporting, based on some unnamed sources, that Bill Cosby is recording a rap album called State of Emergency. Yes, that Bill Cosby — the very same sitcom icon /Jell-O spokesperson who’s taken to casually bashing hip-hop in recent years. Cosby’s drawn a healthy amount of criticism for what some call overly broad, reactionary attacks on a younger generation’s culture. What could he possibly do with a mic, other than embarrass himself? According to that unsubstantiated report, State of Emergency will be a “sanitized, issue-oriented CD.” That sounds like a pretty atrocious idea, on the face of it. Forget “conscious rap” — could The Cos be singlehandedly inventing the distinct genre of “crotchety rap”?
Well, maybe. But the man does have some relevant experience as a musician — even, one might say, as a rapper of sorts. What else would you call the talky, stream-of-consciousness Beatles and Motown covers he recorded for 1968’s Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band!, if not proto-rap? You can find the seriously strange results all over the Web today (here, for example); some of them are even kinda good. So as easy as it is to mock Cosby’s flow before we hear it, let’s not forget that this could be listenable. Maybe. Anyone else half-believe in this project?
addCredit(“Bill Cosby: Jemal Countess/WireImage.com”)