Sunday, July 24, 2005

I Give Hip-Hop an Earful (Part II)

No Hypatext, all me baby

In the last post I wrote that Hip-Hop is a forum with the potential for social change and some people with rudimentary and shallow awareness of the genre laughed - and then I laughed back but wasn't sure why. Let me explain my stance. People (like my uncle) who rebuke hip-hop for "fuck this fuck that," "bitches and hoes," "shootin' niggas," and "banana-fana fo founds," see commercial hip-hop as a superficial rant mixing the worst parts of materialism, misogyny and violence. True enough - but I differ in two important ways.

In Defense of Hip-Hop as Important
1) Hip-Hop as ghetto journalism. As an fan of journalism I have taken note of this growing debate: Who is a journalist? Are bloggers journalists? And although C-Span and the Press Club have beat this question to death - I give it a final kick to the ribs. Bloggers are not journalists - they are Lazy-Boy commentators. To qualify as a journalist has to do with your level of access to the story you are typing about. Hip-Hoppers from the inner city may come off as abrasive and scary but they are simply reporting from a war zone where cameramen dare not go after-hours. To hear a song about gangs and eating cereal with water is to begin understanding a life of Urban African-American poverty.

2) Notice how Hip-Hop that glorifies violence perpetuates violence as a social norm in the inner-city. Notice how fatalism like Get Rich or Die Tryin' breeds similarly desperate attitudes in its listeners. Notice how music videos depicting club scenes with great ratios (9 hoes : 1 Thug) changes male concepts of love and relationships. Notice how Jay-Z's mention of Belvedeere Vodka made fans thirst and sales rise. These are the things that people like my uncle see and it is the reason why he hates rap - but what do these correlations really say about hip-hop?

Hip-hop can - and is - a strong negative influence in the lives of young boys and girls from all socioeconomic backgrounds. But what is important is that itis a "strong influence" for better or worse. If hip-hop can change a young man's ethos for the worse so distinctly, there is no reason to believe it can't have as profound results in a positive way - you dig? Hip-Hop's gotta hold on the youth because it is cool - and no it's really not a trend so get used to it really. What we need are MCs who are cool and stand for something positive. For a while I thought I knew a group of likely candidates, but I am not so sure anymore.

I told you it was a rant...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep em comin biatch


9:01 AM  

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