No Exit

Debbie Harry returns to claim her Hippest White Girl crown. Lest we forget, it was Blondie who first injected hip hop into the pop mainstream, with the gloriously silly but at the time edgy hit Rapture. It’s a time-honored and in no way dead tradition that the cultural innovations made by black people cannot enter the mainstream unless Trojan-horsed by someone blonde, sexy and nonthreatening. It was true in the 80’s and it’s true now, though it’s become more and more uncomfortable. Debbie Harry was never a particularly great rapper, but she had attitude and she had cred. You could believe she was hanging out with the edgiest people, discovering new music before the rest of the world had an inkling of it. And in 1999, Blondie had to show that those things were still true. They’d been on hiatus, but they were still a hip band with their feet on the street. Therefore, guest raps by Coolio and some of the minor members of Wu-Tang. That wasn’t a groundbreaking or even newsworthy move, and the question was, could Blondie still rock? Of course they could. They could and they still are.


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