And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

Beef Of The Week #379: B.o.B v History

By | Published on Friday 3 November 2017


Last time rapper B.o.B appeared in this column, a little over a month ago, we titled it ‘B.o.B v Science’, it covering his attempts to crowdfund a project that would prove, once and for all, that the Earth is flat. In what is worryingly starting to look like a series, he’s back again, this time taking on the world’s historians and wondering if slavery even happened.

I’ve always been of the opinion that you should question everything, but B.o.B really tests whether that is in fact such a good idea. Although, I suppose, whereas I mean that you should always check things out for yourself rather than simply blindly believing whatever you’re told, B.o.B takes it to mean you should believe every single conspiracy theory video you ever watch on YouTube.

Yesterday he posted a video on Instagram, in which it’s claimed that maps have been changed to confuse us. I think it’s some flat Earth thing.

The video also questions how Morocco can be referenced on a map from 1904 when the country “wasn’t even founded until 1952”. A caption then corrects this to “1956”, which is indeed be when Morocco regained independence from France and renamed itself the Kingdom Of Morocco.

The important point to note here, though, is that the new bit of the name in 1956 wasn’t “Morocco”, it was “Kingdom Of”. Morocco has been Morocco for a fucking long time, you twats. Although not in Morocco itself, of course, because for some reason the people who live there insist on calling it by its Arabic name. I don’t know why us Angleterrians always think our names for things are the ones everyone uses.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, this isn’t even what we’re here to talk about. Because next to this video, B.o.B placed his own observation: “They say slavery lasted 400 years. America is only 250 years old. You ever seen a slave ship? They can find a billion year old dinosaur bone but can’t find any slave ships”.

This is somehow related to the maps thing in a way I’m not even about to get into. The point is, B.o.B is saying that the institution of slavery apparently lasted longer than America has even existed, which doesn’t add up. And if it did even happen, where are all the massive ships that supposedly brought all these slaves over from Africa to the Americas?

Well, first of all, America isn’t “only 250 years old”, that’s the United States Of America, which is a different thing. The Declaration Of Independence was signed in 1776, but the first colony leading up to the foundation of the United States was in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. And Europeans had been going to the American continent and its surrounding islands (WHICH ALREADY EXISTED) since at least when Columbus landed there in 1492.

Secondly, the American slave trade didn’t last 400 years. That is a thing “they” say, but you shouldn’t listen to “them”, because “they” aren’t historians. They are just some people saying a thing.

Slavery officially ended in the USA in 1856, and what is thought to be the first recorded reference to it in North America was in Jamestown in 1619. So that’s more like 237 years. Although I think it’s important to note that slavery existed long before and plenty of time after the European settlers of America were officially at it. Indeed Europeans had been buying slaves from Africa long before 1619, so maybe that’s where the “400 years” thing comes from.

Anyway, these slave ships. They were massive. Really big. Really, big, big ships that carried hundreds of slaves at a time. Some of them sank, some of them were wrecked, some of them were broken up for their wood to be reused, and some of them just rotted. After the abolition of slavery, the more unscrupulous slave traders who didn’t stop the practice bought smaller, faster ships in order to outrun the Navy.

For some reason, no one thought to preserve any of these ships just in case some rapper in two hundred years’ time didn’t believe they existed. This is one of the many reasons that hardly any wooden ships from hundreds of years ago remain. The people of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries just didn’t give a fuck about rappers.

Still, what about B.o.B’s claim that “they can find a billion year old dinosaur bone but can’t find any slave ships”? Well, for one thing, no one has ever found “a billion year old dinosaur bone”. Not least because dinosaurs weren’t around a billion years ago. The oldest dinosaur fossils found are the bones of the Nyasasaurus Parringtoni, dating back about 243 million years.

Also, this is beside the fucking point, because it’s not true that slave ships haven’t been found. As I said, ships no longer in use that got back to dry land were generally broken up. That leaves you with the ones that sank. It’s quite hard to dredge up ships that have sunk, because they’re at the bottom of the fucking sea.

Still, back in 2015, archaeologists did managed to retrieve pieces of the São José, a slave ship that sank off the South African coast in 1794, along with the 400 slaves it was carrying. The crew all managed to escape alive, which was nice for them, and thus they were able tell people about what had happened.

I don’t know why I’m even telling you all of this. If you’re on B.o.B’s side, then presenting you with interesting if disturbing historical facts isn’t going to convince you of anything. Actually, I’m not even sure B.o.B is actually disputing that slavery happened, just that slaves were brought to America by sea. And like the flat Earth theory, that begs the questions: ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ would anyone have ever claimed that slave ships existed if they had never existed.

What would be gained by spreading that lie? Why would that lie be perpetuated to this day? And how would it be perpetuated? Creating the wealth of historical records and artefacts that confirm that the sea-based slave trade was prolific would have been an industry in itself. Indeed, it would have been a lot easier to go out to sea and steal some people from their homes.

Anyway, B.o.B is still trying to raise $1 million in order to prove once and for all that the Earth is flat. So far he’s got around $6500. Not quite there yet. I guess he’s got a little more work to do in convincing people that his claim has scientific validity.

And assuming he’s not now entirely dedicating his life to putting historians right, presumably there’ll be more flat earth rambling incoming soon too. Which probably means we’ll be back doing this again before long.