Pass/Fail: Chicago police, musician sues Nicki Minaj

By Danny Cozzi

Pass: Chicago police increase foot patrols in dangerous areas

It’s no secret Chicago isn’t exactly what you’d consider safe.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Police Department has increased foot patrols in 20 of the most dangerous areas of the city, as part of an initiative taken by the department to help cut crime.

Last year, Chicago experienced more than 500 murders, the highest recording in more than four years. This year, however, the city has seen a 21 percent drop in homicides and shootings, from 377 to 298 compared to this time last year, according to the Chicago Tribune.

It’s obvious why this passes. Chicago police officers have some of the hardest, most dangerous jobs in the entire country. By merely walking around their community, dangerous parts of the city have become noticeably less threatening.

The police department has also assigned more rookie cops to the foot patrols, saving money on overtime costs for veteran officers.

It may sound controversial sending the new guys to the streets, but the new recruits receive 12 weeks of training after graduating from the Police Academy. I think that’s enough to prepare them for what may happen on duty.

One concern expressed about foot patrols was the officers’ safety, which is worth considering. But the officers walking around neighborhoods, rather than driving, are more direct and accessible than trying to wave down a squad car.

Of course, rough parts of the city will likely always be a dangerous place to be, but with this strategy, the people of Chicago can hopefully go to bed at night feeling at least a little safer.

Fail: Musician sues Nicki Minaj for allegedly stealing melody

Anytime I hear about Nicki Minaj doing anything at all, I get pretty upset.

But this time, I didn’t find myself clenching my fists and trying not to have a stroke when I saw she was accused for stealing music from underground electronic artist Clive Tanaka.

Tanaka accused Minaj of stealing parts of his 2011 song “Neu Chicago” to create the catchy melodies for Minaj’s hit song “Starships,” which topped the charts for 21 solid weeks last summer.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tanaka filed a copyright infringement suit Tuesday, claiming Minaj and co-writers of “Starships” had stolen significant parts of Tanaka’s feel-good electric groove.

Any other day of the week, I would be happy to give Minaj my hilariously insignificant failing grade, but the real failure is on Tanaka and his actions this time.

Having listened to both songs, I can agree the two do sound very familiar. But, that’s exactly what the problem is.

Realizing that a Nicki Minaj song sounds just like another random three-chord electric dance number isn’t much of a surprise. That’s why it’s called popular music: It’s the same recycled C, G, F chord progression over and over again, and people can never get enough of it.

Tanaka is trying to take claim of the rights to the song’s style and structure. But if he’s doing that for one pop song, he might as well do it for all of them.

I’m not saying Minaj did not actually steal the song or portions of it. It’s quite possible that’s exactly what happened, and Tanaka may be onto something.

I am saying writing pop music is bound to be rewritten eventually by somebody else.