Monday, March 22, 2010

Is Hip Hop Good For Black People?

Rolling Stone Magazine: You are well-known for proclaiming that “rap music is black America’s CNN.” Do you still feel that way?

Chuck D: “When I said it was black America's CNN, that was 1988…”

A critical chapter in the book Inner Civilization is entitled “Best Interests”. It is presented as a guiding principle that would help us better navigate our way in America. It states that we can determine our overall best interests by… “looking for the benefit in any plan or activity we undertake and weigh it against forseeable detriment. Benefit can be defined as our own physical, spiritual, and mental well being, both individually and collectively.”( Inner Civilization. p.133)

Let’s apply this to Hip Hop. Of course everything has its good and bad elements. Nothing is entirely perfect. There are also those who exploit and abuse something that initially begins well. (Look at the history of religion for example.) But the question is, with 30 years worth of hindsight and a well documented record of its effects at our disposal - has Hip Hop been good for black people overall? Can we determine how it has helped our schools or education, our relationships or our understanding of history?

Has it given us a better insight to our surroundings? How many people has it enriched? How many has it impoverished. Is it just about having "fun"? Was it designed to be good and then went bad? Did it have the necessary elements designed to be helpful to us? Is it just music?

Without question Hip hop has been successful and no one is questioning whether or not it is part of black culture as is gospel, blues or the oral tradition. The question here is different. The question is whether Hip Hop good for black people. Is it in our best interests to support it wholeheartedly?

"Often Hip Hop seems like a beautiful crib but inside it’s just nasty. No woman would want to live there." ~ Chuck D


Anonymous said...

I have no use for today's hip hop. I think it has evolved into self-aggrandizing hyperbole that creates an unrealistic influence on too many of our young black males.

Anonymous said...

On To The Next One by Jay Z

Swizz Beats -Chorus)
I got a million ways to get it
Choose one (choose one)
Hey, bring it back (bring it back)
Now double your money and make a stack

I’m on to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one

Hold up, freeze

Somebody bring me back some money please,

Hov on that new shit n-ggas like how come
N-ggas want my old sh-t, buy my old album
N-ggas stuck on stupid, I gotta keep it moving
N-ggas make the same sh-t, me I make the blueprint

Came in Range, hopped out the Lexus
every year since i’ve bin on that next sh-t
traded in the gold for the platinum rolex’s
Now a n-gga wrist match the status of my records

Used to rock a throwback, ballin on the corner
Now I rock a teller suit looking like a owner
No im not a Jonus brother I’m a grown up
No I’m not a virgin I use my cahonas

I move forward the only direction
cant be scared to fail Search and perfection
Gotta keep it fresh even when we sexing
but don’t be mad at him when he’s on to the next one



[Verse 2]
F-ck a throwback jersey cos we on to the next one,
and f-ck that autotune cos we oohhhhn,
and n-ggas don’t be mad cos it’s all about progression,
loiterers should be arrested, I used to drink Kristal,
muthaf-ckers racist, so I switched Gold Bottles on to that spade sh-t,
you gon have another drink or you just gon babysit,
on to the next one, somebody call da waitress,
Baby i’m a boss, i dunno what they do,
I don’t get dropped, I dropped the label,
World can’t hold me, too much ambition,
always knew it’d be like this when I was in the kitchen,
n-ggas in the same spots, me I’m dodging rain drops,
meaning i’m on vacay, chillin on a big yacht,
yeah i go ton flip flops, white louie boat shoes,
you should grow the f-ck up,
come here let me coach you,
Hold up,


[Verse 3]
Uh, Big pimpin in the house now,
bought the land, tore the muthaf-cking house down,
bought the car, tore the muthaf-cking roof off,
ride clean, i don’t ever take the shoes off,
bought the jeep, tore the muthaf-cking doors off,
foot out dat b-tch about to sh-t like a skateboard,
navigation on tryin to find my next thrill,
feelin myself i don’t even need an x pill,
can’t chill but my neck will,
haters really gon be mad off my next deal,
uh, i dont know hwy they really worry bout my pockets,
meanwhile i had Oprah chillin in the projects,
had her out in Bed Stuy chillin on the steps,
drinking quarter waters gotta be the best,
MJ at summerjam, Obama on the text,
y’all should be afraid of what I’m gonna do next.
Hold up,

Unknown said...

There is no single answer to the question but there are some truths that can be pointed out.
1. There are black people with jobs, careers and even multi-generational wealth that was created by hip-hop. Bottom Line - a hip-hop economy has been created that has allowed many to eat who otherwise wouldn't have.

2. Like almost all things in America much of it (not all) has become bastardized by greed and capitalism which is not tempered by anything good.

3. It is now limitless and knows no borders and any attempt to explain it in narrow terms is fruitless because it is quite simply everywhere and intertwined with all types of other cultures.

On a personal level it's good for me because I dig in the crates and discover music that inspires me from one point of view or another. I find true poetry, heart, soul and genius more often than I expect. Much of what so many of us liked about it back in the day is still alive - but you're not going to find it on the radio (see#2). I have a collection of recent music that many people (who on some level gave up on hip-hop at some point) are shocked at what is still being created.

Alan Dixon said...

True - Rap is out of Control.(EPMD)
We can't reign in rap but we can reign in the value we put on it and the way we view it.

The measure of a mature people is their ability to change course when they obviously are obviously going the wrong way. Check the January post "People can Change."

Alan Dixon said...

Don Corleone: [to the Heads of the Five Families] How did things ever get so far? I don't know. It was so unfortunate, so unnecessary.

Morgan said...

seriously Don Corleone?! LOL. And Keith is right, there are some great artists out there now. It's the radio circus that keeps us disappointed, not the art or the artists. In industry that champions ignorance like t_pain is a set up for our distruction... T-Pain is enemy number 1 in my book, all that he says, represents and co-signs to...boooo!

Alan Dixon said...

Hmm maybe ignorance is our chief enemy.

Hosea 4:6
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee..."

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