The Sons and Daughters of Hip Hop

Today's generation is the hip-hop generation and not simply because that's what they listen to. Hip-hop defines how they dress, speak, and interact among themselves as well as how they perceive previous generations. It's the basic visual within the media they see; it is their source of artistic experience and their forum for socio-political commentary. Hip-hop reflects their state of mind. It is the foundation of this generation's voice. Therefore it should be regarded as a powerful vehicle for change rather than devalued through our over simplification its content.

Every thin-skinned individual wants to jump down Hip-hop's throat and denounce gangster rap, video hos, and the glorification of a "Bling Bling" lifestyle, while failing to see the socio-economic phenomenon that the Hip-Hop generation has brought into being. These individuals, coming from some of the worst neighborhoods, schools and family situations possessed the drive to turn despair into entrepreneurship and black art. Once limited to hustling on the corner, they have the power and the opportunity to perform across the world, and I reiterate they don't just sing about the bling. Social rap is not just limited to Talib Kwali or Kanye West. We don't admit it, but social commentary comes out the lyrics of gangster rap everyday. I hate to burst everyone's moral bubble but artists like 2Pac and The Game share personal accounts of the violence that exists on the streets. It is these accounts that touch young people living in similar situations. These artists have become this generations leaders in so far as they have spread the word about the struggles of young urban youth in America. They are preaching in their rhymes. You may not like every word you hear, but not everyone liked Ray Charles either. We as a people need to pick another battle as far as Hip-Hop lyrics are concerned, because this is the vernacular that they speak. It's what they say that is significant. Moreover, it's what they do that matters.

Does anyone realize that the very media that brainwashes you to shake your ___ while denouncing rap artists utilizes the work of these same artists every day? In 2004, it was the Puff Daddies and Russell Simmons of our world who got black kids to come out and Rock the vote and fight against the Rockefeller Drug Laws. At one point African Americans and white America alike thought it was amazing to see OJ Simpson, a black man, in a business suit in a commercial. Today we have white men in business suits bopping their heads to Jay-z songs in every other commercial. How amazing is that! 50Cent made 11.4 million off of his first album. Words can't begin to express the every growing power and success of these young individuals in spite of the hand life has given them. And there success is not limited to the car you see them drive on TV. At 25 years old, Ludacris has the power to start his own youth foundation, The Ludracris Foundation and he is not the young only one. Wyclef Jean has the Yele Haiti movement. We have the Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music, the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation; even the controversial Lil Kim founded Lil Kim Cares to aid sick and disadvantaged individuals. Not to mention The Hip Hop Summit founded by Russell Simmons, which mobilizes Hip-Hop artists and leaders like Jesse Jackson to educate urban youth. The list of Hip Hop Helpers is extensive, and it goes beyond the scheme of well known rappers. Young urban professionals, and intellectuals that are apart of this generation also do their part to affect positive change.

You know about BET videos, but do you know BET is no longer Black run. You know about the violence, and you can surely tell me about the immoral visualizations, but can you tell me about the community outreach? Can you tell me how often you've heard about these programs, and the good they do. Can you tell me how many commercials or news reels you see that glorify this group of young individuals for making it and giving back? If you think protesting is over, you haven't seen us yet. If you think our activism died with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, you haven't heard us yet. Please take of the TV blinders off and start reading something. In the midst of police brutality, racism, no jobs and elders who completely fail to share our communal history and struggle because they think a few rings, and sneakers makes us superficial and anti-political, we are pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and bringing capital America to its knees.

If that doesn't prove that we are STILL natural born leaders, I don't know what will.

LaShanda Henry
Each One Teach One
Urban Dyanamics: ud.msoyonline.com
Original Post
blackoutloud ...

Very interesting article. Smile I just have a couple of questions which might help me to be able to grasp hip-hop from the same viewpoint that is articulated here.

I guess my first question is what, being that the hip hop generation looks upon my generation as seeing hip hop as a negative social influence, what, exactly, would you say the positive message is that is portrayed through this medium? I mean, you say (or the article says ... I don't know if you wrote it! Smile) we shouldn't look at the bling and the hos and the thug/ganster images portrayed with a negative eye, but should accept hip hop as a valuable, educational, positive art form, instead ... but, if that's the case, where are the positive unlifting images?? Confused

Now, I'm far from a rap video enthusiast, but, where are the videos showing the good those hip-hop artists are doing in the community? Or of college students and their quest for knowledge? Or a video about the urban youth who make it up and out and become doctors or lawyers or something? I mean, that would be a positive image, right? You say the media doesn't tell the whole story, it leaves out the good parts. But, seems to me this generation could tell that story themselves, if they wanted to. Why doesn't that happen?

This article also speaks of people like 2Pac and The Game and 50 cent and others being the leaders of this generation. Could you maybe explain where or what they are leading them to??? I mean, 2Pac is dead ... do where exactly do they think they are going with him? And I don't mean that to be funny ... I would seriously like to know the mindset behind who this generation desires to follow and why.

I was speaking with my hip hop-aged neices and nephews, and what came out of a rather extensive conversation was that a lot of the "leaders" like Russell Simmons are basically admired because they've got money. And lots of it. They live large. And are afforded a high level of respect for that. But again, that goes back to the bling and the materialistic measurement by which who to follow and who not to is weighed. I fear that if this generation is only following money ... it will get lost real fast.

I'm sure I have a couple more, but I've got an early day tomorrow! Smile I look forward to hearing your views on this!
I think that I am with ER on this. While there may be a great deal of potential in hip-hop culture (energy, passion, drive, creativity, and at times profundity), I also see very little in the way of sustained critical engagement with substantive issues in a reflective and reflexive manner.

Culture and art are extremely powerful tools in the pursuit of justice and the end of subjugation, domination, and exploitation, but they are not the only ones. More and deeper analysis is necessary. For example, the comment "we are pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and bringing capital America to its knees" shows an incredible amount of economic and political naiveté.

I applaud the efforts of individuals such as Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, the critical analysis of the scholars such as Trica Rose. Yet, hip-hop is into its third decade, and I am not sure if the future will see much more coming to fruition than we have seen in the past.
ER I welcome your constructive criticism and curiosity, in my free moments I have spent this day formulating a response to your questions. Forgive me as I have a few things to say before I get to your request. In essence, the points I am about to present characterize both the economics and politics of the hip-hop generation, which I might add includes all of today's young people, not just hip-hop artists. My initial interest in replying to your response has heightened after reading Kresge's post, which appears to imply that my perception of the hip-hop generation's present and potential social impact is simplistic or as it was put naive:

quote:
More and deeper analysis is necessary. For example, the comment "we are pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and bringing capital America to its knees" shows an incredible amount of economic and political naiveté.


If more and deeper analysis is requested, I welcome such a request as I aim to stimulate conversations that bridge the gap between our generations. This post is denser than I would like it to be, but every point must be made, so enough of the fluff on to the analytical stuff.

The Politics and Economics of the Hip-Hop Generation

Every generation, this one being no exception, strives for the American Dream: reaping the financial rewards of hard work and personal dedication. We all can find common ground in this dream, but as we all know at some points there are disconnects between the Hip-Hop generation and its predecessors. These disconnects originated with the rise of new issues within the black communities. Post Civil Rights Movement, we are no longer fighting for segregation, but we are fighting against the side affects of integration within a society that remains racist and socially unjust.

The catastrophic affects of drugs, AIDS, rising percentage of black men in jails, the jail-like structure of urban public schools, increased unemployment rates, and teen pregnancy are now our issues of concern. On a superficial level today's young people appear to be caught up in materialism. ER, like many others, voiced her concerns when she said, "I fear that if this generation is only following money ... it will get lost real fast." However, they are already lost. With new concerns, minimal guidance, and an insufficient number of adults who share the historical context from which their issues originated, this generation is lost in a world that has long since given up on African American youth. Without ever having to be explicitly told, these kids are acutely conscious of how little their lives are valued in America. From the media, straight into their living rooms they are portrayed as criminals, ghetto, ignorant, un-ambitious, far from political, poorly educated individuals. There is no longer a fear of being lynched because there is now a fear of being shot, robbed, or sent to prison. Pre-Civil Rights Blacks could see their struggle and dream of better days to come. Black youth today walk around in their nice new clothes in over-crowded under-staffed schools and dilapidated neighborhoods and wonder to themselves if this is as good as it gets? Is a new pair of sneakers and some ice, as good as it gets? Is the Bling the only thing we have?

These questions directly relate to the origination and steady growth of hip-hop culture. Young people were seeing the social injustice in their communities and wondering why there weren't enough politicians, and leaders to help. Like old Blues singers they started turning their thoughts into rhyme, and putting a name to their communal pain. You question the violence, and you ponder the social contributions of hip-hop artists like 2pac, because there isn't enough explanation as to why people like Pac existed, and where the violent voice within the art form was coming from. As the son of a Black Panther and extremely political young man, Pac could take the violence of the streets and put it into a historical context for his peers. For many young people hip-hop is there nightly news. The corporations like the bling and sex because that's what they are selling, but if you listen to the music many of these artists are sharing their lives and experiences. In his song, Brenda's got a baby, 2pac talks about the environments that create our rise in teenage pregnancy, and young girls who don't know where to turn. On his 2005 debut album, The Game responds to 2pacs song when he says, "Pac is gone, and Brenda is still throwing babies in the garbage." The Game is making a socially conscious statement by showing how even after 2Pac's inspirational words; the same issues within the black communities exist. He talks about seeing his friends getting shot for their sneakers and how such a harsh life turned him into an Old G in the hood before he was 12. He talks about issues that are relevant to urban youth, but are not objectively discussed by mass media. Dead or alive, these artists are looked up to because their fans identify with the words and aspire for the fame. Granted we need more adult influence in the lives of these fans to balance the negative side of hip-hop, but it goes without saying that there is a political and social message within the music. As far as the adults are concerned, whether they fail to see this generation's potential, or just simply shirk the responsibility of having familial conversations about contemporary black concerns, the fact remains that many of our elders don't talk to the young people as much as they should, which leads us to look to these hip-hop elite as our sources for knowledge.

You ask "where are the positive uplifting images??" Truth be told, these positive images are few and far between because hip-hop music isn't just about telling stories, it's also about making money. In order to share their experiences, get themselves out of the ghetto, and find new ways to give back to their families and communities these young kids have to reinvent themselves within the industry. It's not right, but it's real. Corporate America does not want to sell social consciousnesses, they want to sell hits. When you have suburban raised, college black boys reinventing themselves as inner-city thugs, you have a clear understanding of what makes this industry work. Of course, you can chastise these young people for selling their souls, but first let me tell you what has come out of their sweat and toil while answering the question, "Why doesn't the hip-hop generation tell its story in a positive way, if the media does not?"

First, there is no way to get around the mainstream. For those urban youth unable to escape harsh lifestyles with higher education, names like "Cornel West", "Michael Eric Dyson", and even socially conscious hip-hop artist "Talib Kwali" hold no weight. They don't dislike or devalue these people. Honestly, they just don't know them, because these people get no real airtime. The hip-hop generation isn't just going off of who has the most money; they are emulating who the media let's them see. If white media does not write our articles or present our stories on television in non-stereotypical ways, where do you expect these individuals to tell their story. For most of them, their first and only chance at exposure is that record deal, and as I mentioned it comes at a cost. We got our Civil Rights, but we are still waiting for our 40-acres and a mule. These kids are coming out of communities with negative net worth and practically no political voice, how do you expect them to even begin to demand positive change with no resources?

In spite of coming out of nothing, hip hoppers have made something for themselves and their people. Prior to our generation, our elite were limited to a small group of blacks who gained their economical status through educational gains or athletics. Moreover, within this microcosm of the black community, were a limited number of black owned businesses. Within the hip-hop generation is an unprecedented number of black entrepreneurs. While the system fails them, and their parents struggle to make ends meet, the Sons and Daughters of Hip-Hop are creating Record Labels, Film Companies, Clothing Line, Jewelry, etc.; entrepreneurial acts that are not simply about blind materialism. In the midst of poor educational facilities and an employment crisis, these kids are aiming to create more black business. They are there own CEOs, they can begin to create restaurants, movies and write books about their issues. It's the John Singletons, Damon Dashs, Queen Latifahs, Ice Cubes, Will Smiths, Russell Simmons, and Spike Lees, Jamie Foxxs of this generation that are our social pioneers. They are creating spaces that never existed before and white America is taking notice.

In the 2004 election, "Black voters came out in significant numbers to cast ballots in Nov. 2 presidential and congressional elections, according to political observers and activists... "Our folks turned out and we as a community – especially our young people – showed up at the ballot box," said Melanie Campbell, executive director of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Her organization worked with hip hop, fraternal, church, community, and civil rights groups, Black Entertainment Television, syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, the UniverSoul Circus and others to register one million new voters. " Hip-Hoppers voiced their political concerns, encouraging young people to come out and vote, and they did.

I proudly protest that "we are pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and bringing capital America to its knees" and laugh at the implication that hip-hop in its third decade has brought little to fruition for our people. In such a short span of time street hustlers have turned themselves into CEO's. No one gave them there 40-acres and a mule, they worked for it. Without degrees, being legacy children, or climbing the corporate ladder, they made millions on their own. Young people today are followers of Malcolm X's school of thought in so far as they are trying to build empires by any means necessary. They don't want to see their mother's suffer or their siblings get shot, they are hustling so they can get to a point of ownership, because they see that in American money talks. They can see the hypocrisy of politics when rappers who were never noticed, have people taking note and listening and they want to emulate these people. They want to be in a position of power. They don't just want to look nice, they want people to look at them and listen. They want the American dream, as we all do, but somehow their goal keeps getting misconstrued and oversimplified in the midst of pop culture and contemporary trends.

I'll end with lyrics from Jay'z song "Moment Of Clarity". If you are at all skeptical about what I have to say, listen to his words. Listen as he not only bares his soul as the son of a father he never knew, but as a socially conscious business man who understood that in order to affect change in the hoods politics he had to get with the politics of the industry.

(Woooooo)
(Yeah)
(Turn the music up turn the lights down i'm in my zone)

[Chorus]
Thank God for grantin me this moment of clarity
This moment of honesty
The world'll feel my truths
Through my Hard Knock Life time
My Gift and The Curse
I gave you volume after volume of my work
So you can feel my truths
I built the Dynasty by being one of the realest niggas out
Way beyond a Reasonable Doubt
(Yall can't fill my shoes)
From my Blueprint beginnings
To that Black Album endin
Listen close you hear what i'm about
Nigga feel my truths

[Verse One]
When pop died
Didn't cry
Didn't know him that well
Between him doin heroin
And me doin crack sales
With that in the egg shell
Standin at the tabernacle
Rather the church
Pratendin to be hurt
Wouldn't work
So a smirk was all on my face
Like damn that mans face was just like my face
So pop i forgive you
For all the shit that i live through
It wasn't all your fault
Homie you got caught
And to the same game i fault
That Uncle Ray lost
My big brothers and so many others i saw
I'm just glad we got to see each other
Talk and re-meet each other
Save a place in Heaven
Til the next time we meet forever

[Chorus]

[Verse Two]
The music business hate me
Cause the industry ain't make me
Hustlers and boosters embrace me
And the music i be makin
I dumb down for my audience
And double my dollars
They criticize me for it
Yet they all yell "Holla"
If skills sold
Truth be told
I'd probably be
Lyricly
Talib Kweli
Truthfully
I wanna rhyme like Common Sense
(But i did five Mil)
I ain't been rhymin like Common since
When your sense got that much in common
And you been hustlin since
Your inception
Fuck perception
Go with what makes sense
Since
I know what i'm up against
We as rappers must decide what's most impor-tant
And i can't help the poor if i'm one of them
So i got rich and gave back
To me that's the win, win
The next time you see the homie and his rims spin
Just know my mind is workin just like them
(The rims that is)

[Chorus]

[Verse Three]
My homie Sigel's on a tier
Where no tears should fall
Cause he was on the block where no squares get off
See in my inner circle all we do is ball
Til we all got triangles on our wall
He ain't just rappin for the platinum
Yall record
I recall
Cause i really been there before
Four scores and seven years ago
Prepared to flow
Prepare for war
I shall fear no man
You don't hear me though
These words ain't just paired to go
In one ear out the other ear
NO
YO
My balls and my word is alls i have
What you gonna do to me?
Nigga scars'll scab
What you gonna box me homie?
I can dodge and jab
Three shots couldn't touch me
Thank God for that
I'm strong enough to carry Biggie Smalls on my back
And the whole BK nigga holla back

[Chorus]

If there are any more questions for me I'll try to answer them as best I can, but I also recommend reading Bakari Kitwana's book "The Hip Hop Generation: Young blacks and the crisis in African American culture."
blackoutloud ...

It took a couple of readings to digest all you wrote Smile So forgive my delay in responding to it!

And I'm sure down the line I will have additional questions, but for now let me just give this comment.

The first truth that was most profound in your post was that my generation did indeed drop the baton while trying to pass it to yours. The guidance you need is not there for you, not being told where to go or how to get there. Which, I suspect is the reason why your generation has ended up where it has.

I think what I find most disturbing, though, is that many of the young people seem to thing that they have ended up in a good place. Success, money, economic/social power is good ... but how you get it and what you do with it is also part of the equation. In the lyrics you posted, Jay'Z himself tells of how he "dumbed down" to make money (presumably in the quickest way he knew how), in an attempt to gain the means by which to reach back and help others following in his footsteps (if I have that right! Smile).

What the industry is doing is exploiting black youth. It is using unflattering, stereotypical images of urban black children to make money and further promote negative perceptions to the world at large. When a 2Pac or a Jay'Z or a 50 cent joins that industry, thus allowing themselves to be exploited and bring and encouraging others to do the same, it does not polically or socially uplift the community. It may uplift the bank account of the artist or the record company, but it doesn't send our children to college, it doesn't renovate dilapidated neighborhoods, it doesn't supply elementary and secondary schools with text books. And then the artists who make it big, who establishes the recording studios, or record label or the clothing line turn around and use that same method of exploitation to make even more money! Eek

So, it's not just what you do, but how you do it. I supposed the most important lesson that we did not teach you is that true and viable social/economic/political power will only come through our unity as a people and as a community. The gap between the generations will have to close before any real progress is made. I don't think that my generation looks down on hip hop as an art form ... rhymes and storytelling has been around since generations before mine! Eek But if what you are expressing never formulates into a positive outreach, then you are, by and far, simply makign money. And the positives of that are usually short-lived.

I read a story recently where Puffy is going into the rim business. He is taking his influence (and his money) and pairing up with a White rim maker somewhere in the South and is going to make these rims to market and sell to urban youth at between $700-$3,000 dollars!! He's going to make a lot (more) money!! Eek Usher just bought into a sports franchise, which I happen to think is excellent. He says he's going to give up performing to concentrate on being a successful businessman. He also made a statement not too long ago that entertainers did not need to be involved in politics and the two should remain separate. That's his opinion ... but, it's not very helpful! Eek Suge Knight ... one of the biggest gansters there is. Keeps going to jail. Keeps making money. Keeps exploiting his own people. But for all that, he is still revered by the hip hop community for the fact that he is a success ... not how he became successful.

The Get-Out-The-Vote campaign was indeed very successful. But how many of the young voters actually knew what they were voting for? Did they come out and vote because Russell Simmons told them to ... or because they knew their duty to evoke effect political change by casting their vote for the things and people that they believed would be able to accomplish that goal? Again, it's not just what you do, but how and why you do it that enables power to take a positive form.

It's late and I know I'm probably rambling ... but let me just close with this. I think my generation appreciates and recognizes the ability of hip hop and the youth within it as an art and form of expression. I believe we see the potential it has to globally send a message and call attention to what matters and is important today and changes that need to be made and voices that need to be heard in order to establish a rise and growth of the Black community. But in its present form, it is more about the quick buck than any social or political stance. It is more about continuing to give the record industry the rope that is used to to hang us with, than the establishment of any real individuality or purpose with which to effect positive change. As you said, in our day, it was education and hard work that created the successes. It still needs to be. Instead of trying to find new ways to tell the same old stories of poverty and despair, tell those teenage girls to stop having babies while they still are, tell the young men to pick up a book, not a gun, teach them that the Black woman is a queen, not a ho, share the stories of getting out of the ghetto by education and applying yourself. Don't just tell the youngsters that AIDS is a problem ... tell them how to avoid contracting it!! Give them self-esteem about who they are and where they are going ... not glorify a gangster/thug lifestyle as if that is something that anyone would really want to achieve.
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
blackoutloud ...

It took a couple of readings to digest all you wrote Smile So forgive my delay in responding to it!

And I'm sure down the line I will have additional questions, but for now let me just give this comment.

The first truth that was most profound in your post was that my generation did indeed drop the baton while trying to pass it to yours. The guidance you need is not there for you, not being told where to go or how to get there. Which, I suspect is the reason why your generation has ended up where it has.

I think what I find most disturbing, though, is that many of the young people seem to thing that they have ended up in a good place. Success, money, economic/social power is good ... but how you get it and what you do with it is also part of the equation. In the lyrics you posted, Jay'Z himself tells of how he "dumbed down" to make money (presumably in the quickest way he knew how), in an attempt to gain the means by which to reach back and help others following in his footsteps (if I have that right! Smile).

What the industry is doing is exploiting black youth. It is using unflattering, stereotypical images of urban black children to make money and further promote negative perceptions to the world at large. When a 2Pac or a Jay'Z or a 50 cent joins that industry, thus allowing themselves to be exploited and bring and encouraging others to do the same, it does not polically or socially uplift the community. It may uplift the bank account of the artist or the record company, but it doesn't send our children to college, it doesn't renovate dilapidated neighborhoods, it doesn't supply elementary and secondary schools with text books. And then the artists who make it big, who establishes the recording studios, or record label or the clothing line turn around and use that same method of exploitation to make even more money! Eek

So, it's not just what you do, but how you do it. I supposed the most important lesson that we did not teach you is that true and viable social/economic/political power will only come through our unity as a people and as a community. The gap between the generations will have to close before any real progress is made. I don't think that my generation looks down on hip hop as an art form ... rhymes and storytelling has been around since generations before mine! Eek But if what you are expressing never formulates into a positive outreach, then you are, by and far, simply makign money. And the positives of that are usually short-lived.

I read a story recently where Puffy is going into the rim business. He is taking his influence (and his money) and pairing up with a White rim maker somewhere in the South and is going to make these rims to market and sell to urban youth at between $700-$3,000 dollars!! He's going to make a lot (more) money!! Eek Usher just bought into a sports franchise, which I happen to think is excellent. He says he's going to give up performing to concentrate on being a successful businessman. He also made a statement not too long ago that entertainers did not need to be involved in politics and the two should remain separate. That's his opinion ... but, it's not very helpful! Eek Suge Knight ... one of the biggest gansters there is. Keeps going to jail. Keeps making money. Keeps exploiting his own people. But for all that, he is still revered by the hip hop community for the fact that he is a success ... not how he became successful.

The Get-Out-The-Vote campaign was indeed very successful. But how many of the young voters actually knew what they were voting for? Did they come out and vote because Russell Simmons told them to ... or because they knew their duty to evoke effect political change by casting their vote for the things and people that they believed would be able to accomplish that goal? Again, it's not just what you do, but how and why you do it that enables power to take a positive form.

It's late and I know I'm probably rambling ... but let me just close with this. I think my generation appreciates and recognizes the ability of hip hop and the youth within it as an art and form of expression. I believe we see the potential it has to globally send a message and call attention to what matters and is important today and changes that need to be made and voices that need to be heard in order to establish a rise and growth of the Black community. But in its present form, it is more about the quick buck than any social or political stance. It is more about continuing to give the record industry the rope that is used to to hang us with, than the establishment of any real individuality or purpose with which to effect positive change. As you said, in our day, it was education and hard work that created the successes. It still needs to be. Instead of trying to find new ways to tell the same old stories of poverty and despair, tell those teenage girls to stop having babies while they still are, tell the young men to pick up a book, not a gun, teach them that the Black woman is a queen, not a ho, share the stories of getting out of the ghetto by education and applying yourself. Don't just tell the youngsters that AIDS is a problem ... tell them how to avoid contracting it!! Give them self-esteem about who they are and where they are going ... not glorify a gangster/thug lifestyle as if that is something that anyone would really want to achieve.

Peace,
I like you Ebony.

Pardon my interjection, but you consistently speak of your generation. I am relatively new to this forum.....may I ask of what generation you are a part?

Peace,
Khalliqa(virtue)
lol @ virtue Smile

Well, for the purposes of this post, I think blackoutloud and I parted the generations somewhere around pre- and post- Civil Rights Movement! Smile

"My" generation officially is considered the same as the young people, because the previous generation I believe stops off in the 50's. I was born in the first part of the 60's. But I more relate with those "old folks" than I do with todays generation ... although I try to keep an open (and young) mind.! Razz Doesn't always work though ... I'm about as old fashion as you can get! I am called "The Grandma" amongst my friends! Eek
Peace and Blessings Ebony,

Grandma to Grandma! Wink I was born in the very early seventies. So, technically I'm supposed to be the young generation of which everyone speaks.
But, honestly, outside of my dh, my closest friend is my grandmother. My grandmother and I are very close, because we share the same values and outlook on life. She was born in the late twenties! Eek Personally, I believe the word "old fashioned" is outdated. LOL! There are eternal principles and flexible methods....

Peace,
Virtue
Hip Hop is a vehicle. We use this vehicle to escape into an eye opening experience of life, success, and passion. Not all hip hop artist observe the significance of passion. However, the good artist, through their passion really put the "soul" in hip hop. That's right, Soul.

The sons and daughters of soul have not deviated from soul. If you listen like blackoutloud said, you'll hear artist bear their soul on ol' skool "soul" tracks. We have a serious appreciation, and affinity for the music our mothers and fathers brought us up in. We don't borrow your "soul", we revere it, and it lives through our art.

As far as leadership goes; I don't see why hip hop has to be used to promote or distribute a Black Renaissance. Hip hop is how we enjoy ourselves. Just like the "blues" in the south, or "swing" in the midwest, "funk" in the west, and "jazz" in the east, it's all good times. This "positive movement" wasn't grasped when we listened to our parents music. So why should this unneccessary burden be placed on us. I love my old school, but the "positive" was few and far between. The closest thing we have to a Black Renaissance or positive movement is reggae.

This whole paranoia of whites manipulating black youth by giving them rope to create their own noose is laughable. If we're hanging, then so are white sons and daughters, and all other forms of nationalities across the world.

quote:
As you said, in our day, it was education and hard work that created the successes. It still needs to be. Instead of trying to find new ways to tell the same old stories of poverty and despair, tell those teenage girls to stop having babies while they still are, tell the young men to pick up a book, not a gun, teach them that the Black woman is a queen, not a ho, share the stories of getting out of the ghetto by education and applying yourself. Don't just tell the youngsters that AIDS is a problem ... tell them how to avoid contracting it!! Give them self-esteem about who they are and where they are going ... not glorify a gangster/thug lifestyle as if that is something that anyone would really want to achieve.


Let's play a game. You name some old school songs with these messages in mind, and I'll give you a hip-hop song with equal or greater attributes.
quote:
Originally posted by virtue:
Peace and Blessings Ebony,

There are eternal principles and flexible methods....

Peace,
Virtue


I like that Big Grin

Yes, you sound like you have an old spirit. My neice is younger than you, and she has one too! I think we are the lucky ones! Smile
All right, HeruStar ...

Let's look at this from the perspective of "art."

Hip Hop is a vehicle. We use this vehicle to escape into an eye opening experience of life, success, and passion. Not all hip hop artist observe the significance of passion. However, the good artist, through their passion really put the "soul" in hip hop. That's right, Soul.

  • What percentage of the artists in the industry would you say are "good"?

    The sons and daughters of soul have not deviated from soul. If you listen like blackoutloud said, you'll hear artist bear their soul on ol' skool "soul" tracks. We have a serious appreciation, and affinity for the music our mothers and fathers brought us up in. We don't borrow your "soul", we revere it, and it lives through our art.

  • I don't doubt your appreciation of the music your moms and pops brought you up with. After all, it was very good music! Smile Nor do I doubt that that's why it is used in the music. However, an additional (and maybe more prominent) reason why so many of the songs are cut to our music is because, many of the hip hop artists are not talented enough to make their own music. Those songs their using were original pieces, written to go along with lyrics and played by some of the best musicians who put it together and made it sound right. The "expression" of hip hop is spoken word, more than anything else. At least that's how it gets started. And my main objection with it is what they have to say. And the way they say it.


    As far as leadership goes; I don't see why hip hop has to be used to promote or distribute a Black Renaissance. Hip hop is how we enjoy ourselves. Just like the "blues" in the south, or "swing" in the midwest, "funk" in the west, and "jazz" in the east, it's all good times. This "positive movement" wasn't grasped when we listened to our parents music. So why should this unneccessary burden be placed on us. I love my old school, but the "positive" was few and far between. The closest thing we have to a Black Renaissance or positive movement is reggae.

  • Hip hop has been proclaimed as a way of taking up the mantle, so to speak, of the social issues and progressive movement of the Black community. Not only that, again, we are asked to look at it as an art form. Moreover, it is absolutely huge ... global, which means that it is in the forefront of the perception and perspective of the Black community ... worldwide.

    Hip hop is a "movement" whether you desire it to be or think it so or not. Thus, it should be going somewhere. "Good times", yes, but music has always been the way we spoke to each other, from slave times to now. It has always been our expression, our tool, our motivation. From jazz, blues, swing, r&b, to now, hip hop makes me ask, where is this going? In what direction, and why? Which is what I'm trying to understand when I as these questions.

    "Unnessary burden"? Eek Eek Do you really think the struggle is over and we, as a people have nowhere else to go? And if it is not you, our youth, who is going to take us there, then who do you supposed we look up to? Confused

    This whole paranoia of whites manipulating black youth by giving them rope to create their own noose is laughable. If we're hanging, then so are white sons and daughters, and all other forms of nationalities across the world.

  • Exactly. Everybody's swinging.

    Let's play a game. You name some old school songs with these messages in mind, and I'll give you a hip-hop song with equal or greater attributes.

  • I wouldn't mind playing this game with you, but really, it's not a matter of tit for tat, my artist against your artist, my song against yours. Hip hop is an entire lifestyle. It encompasses your generation. Back in the old school days it wasn't. It was one form of art/entertainment. And generally, the rappers used to talk more about themselves and their abilities than anything else. Those socially-oriented songs that did come out were generally about denouncing the evils of drugs, guns, social decline and the like. Not glorifying them.

    Now, please don't mistake me as saying that I find nothing good about the hip hop generation! I can respect it for what it is, try to understand it, and see the potential for it to evolve into all that you young people are trying to convince me that it is! Smile It's not that it's a bad idea, but it lacks a certain wisdom, that really, most youth can't be expected to grasp the concept of, because, in truth, wisdom is definitely something that comes with age!! It still amazes me how many hip hop artists come of age and totally change their whole tune about how they related to their fans. How many of them say, What I was doing back then wasn't really cool ... and now I'm about to do something else!

    But, being ever the optimist, I'm still keeping the faith! And will continue to do so, especially where my youth are concerned. Big Grin
  • quote:
    Unnessary burden"? Do you really think the struggle is over and we, as a people have nowhere else to go? And if it is not you, our youth, who is going to take us there, then who do you supposed we look up to?



    No maam, I don't think the struggle is over. Hip-hop is a form of revolution (not fluffy renaissance) that our Mothers and Fathers don't understand. If you look at the spirit of hip hop as a whole you will understand that we rebel. We rebel against our opposers who deny us Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of OWNERSHIP of our rightful compensation. We can't obtain this through an intellectual medium, because half of us (our artist) don't have a formal education. But we can darn sure express ourselves.

    When our leaders give us access to positive and forward moving education, maybe then we'll require our artist to have at least a bachelor's degree.
    quote:
    Originally posted by HeruStar:

    When our leaders give us access to positive and forward moving education, maybe then we'll require our artist to have at least a bachelor's degree.


    Peace,

    A bachelor's degree is not needed for direction and character. However, leadership with the qualities of insight, empathy, discipline and character is a necessity. This is what our generation lacks.

    Ebony, I believe that wisdom, sometimes comes with age....not always. In my humble opinion, wisdom comes from the insightful and sometimes painful practice of developing one's character...consistently.

    Right now, the majority of the images the world sees of us are degrading. Point blank. No matter how much good exists, it doesn't get airplay because it's not in the profitable interests of record companies (black and white), nor is it the true interest of the artists. Who, in my opinion seem to express frustration with oppression, but no frustration with the roles they play in the oppression of their own communities. I see leadership placating this mentality, simply because it doesn't know how to relate, which in truth, makes them ineffective. The few "leaders" that speak out about the hip hop culture's failings as well as those who have failed hip hop do little more than talk. If change is to happen the entire culture would have to change and no one seriously wants that to happen, because maybe someone would have to stop smoking blunts, or popping their booty in the air or glorifying guns or speaking sado machistically about harming Black women in particular during sex, or excusing ignorance....or displaying their cartoonish prowess....this wouldn't be, well, fun. What I do believe I hear that is sincere, is the plea to stop the killing, I truly believe that this is an area where our generation wants help but does not truly know how to go about it and their "leadership" is impotent.

    Peace,
    Virtue
    quote:
    Originally posted by HeruStar:
    quote:
    Unnessary burden"? Do you really think the struggle is over and we, as a people have nowhere else to go? And if it is not you, our youth, who is going to take us there, then who do you supposed we look up to?



    No maam, I don't think the struggle is over. Hip-hop is a form of revolution (not fluffy renaissance) that our Mothers and Fathers don't understand. If you look at the spirit of hip hop as a whole you will understand that we rebel. We rebel against our opposers who deny us Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of OWNERSHIP of our rightful compensation. We can't obtain this through an intellectual medium, because half of us (our artist) don't have a formal education. But we can darn sure express ourselves.

    When our leaders give us access to positive and forward moving education, maybe then we'll require our artist to have at least a bachelor's degree.

    Heru,
    As I said early, I do believe that there is a great deal of potential that has been in hip-hop for some time. Yet, if we are talking revolution, are we not talking about political, economic, social, and cultural power. How do you see specifically hip-hop addressing these issues. How does hip-hop confront those institutions and structures that subjugate, dominate, exploit, and marginalize the oppressed?

    You mention a bachelor's degree for example. I concur with virtue that it may not be a prerequisite, but what in lieu the academy has hip-hop provided in any significant fashion educationally. While there are true autodidacts that acquire a great deal of knowledge and wisdom through the dent of their own will, this is not true for most people. They need some kind of structure and community in which to be educated.

    Likewise, with respect to the economic well being of the community, I hear, and importantly see very little in hip-hop that provides a critique of capitalism and the market society. Instead of radical redistribution of wealth, I see excess, indulgence, extravagance. You mention charitable organizations, but what percentage of ones resources are you talking about.

    Finally, this leads to the issue of an ethic. The ethic that I see in hip-hop is not one of delayed gratification, sacrifice, altruism, and community. It is often one of commodification, objectification, and violence. As such, again, it is not really a critique or alternative to the status quo. Thus, where is the revolution.

    I would love to be wrong in my analysis. I do listen to Tupac, Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, The Coup, Zion I, Talib Kweli, Michael Franti, Mos Def, Wyclef as well as "old school" stuff such as PE, BDP and KRS-1, X-Clan, and Gil Scott Heron.
    Greetings once again ER, it's always a pleasure to converse with you. I'm quite pleased to see the new responses. I hope everyone keeps the controversial conversation coming, while keeping in mind that every point should be written in such a way that we the people can comprehend it. I'm all for big words, but even as a Columbia University grad, I see the futility in using a vernacular that won't reach my people. I'm not trying to underestimate anyone's intelligence; I'm simply keeping in real. If anyone here is more concerned with their writing skills than the topic at hand, please reconsider your approach to this particular forum. Again, I love the energy and hope we can continue to come together through dialogue, rather than be separated by it.

    A Little Give a Little Take: Talking to the Predecessors of the Hip Hop Generation

    I'll begin where you [ER] began because it places us all on the same page: it is time for your generation to pick up that baton and pass it on to the new generation. It is time for you all to lead us, while acknowledging that we too can lead the way.

    -Afeni Shakur, Former Black Panther, Mother of Rapper Tupac Shakur
    I've heard enough of [our youth] to know that we ought to be holding them up and sharing with them what we know instead of standing on top of them telling them what they're not doing right. They're doing a lot right and some things wrong. We continue to fail these brilliant, very talented, very creative and courageous young people because they're not saying what our message was. But for Christ's sake ... we're about to enter the 21st century. Something should be different. And they may be right about some things. (Kitwana, 2002, p. 3)

    You all have a wealth of knowledge to give. As virtue points out in a previous post, we have concerns about gang violence, and as Kresge suggests there are ethical issues at hand, which we can address with the assistance of older generations. Breaking the cycle of oppression requires a level of consciousness, in that we must understand the negative actions to be broken. This is where the experiences of old wisdom become valuable tools to the hip hop generation. On some level we need to see how our brothers selling crack on the corner is the old school cats running numbers on a more degrading, and oppressive level. We need to understand why single mother begot from single mother begot from single mother originates from slavery destroying the black family structure. We need to see how Southern blacks use the communal power of the church to balance the oppressive struggle of racial injustice. These connections have been made on some level by most adult blacks whether through there work experiences or personal obstacles. This is what you, the predecessors of the hip hop generation can give to us, a better understand of where we are coming from.

    What you must equally take from us is acceptance of our reality. This is crucial, and I feel many, even you [ER] are apprehensive with respect to this request. To a certain degree your refusal to acknowledge our approach to contemporary culture is because you are stuck in the mindset that we have no minds. In every retort you [ER] emphatically express the belief that "many young people seem to think that they have ended up in a good place. " You feel that this generation is so immersed in materialism that they can't comprehend the more important issues at large. This belief in turn creates a disconnect between us. If you constantly tell a child listen, you're doing the wrong thing, and seldom apply positive reinforcement or objective criticism to that child's lifestyle; you can't expect the child to listen.

    What you need to hear is this, the clothes is a cover-up. Most urban youth can't articulate the one thing they deeply internalize: the use of materialistic wealth as an escape from a negative environment and substitute for insufficient positive reinforcement from familial adults. Momentarily subtracting rappers and hip hopers out of the equation, young people today live a harsh lifestyle and they know it. Reread my last post, or simply look around. More than any other race, young intelligent black children go from A's to C's during their transition from elementary to junior high school. Their support system depletes, their class sizes enlarge, they look around and see the smart girls get no love, the nerdy boys get punked, the innocent ones get robbed, the too hard too soon thugs get shot, the hard working moms don't get a break, the dead beat dads can't find a decent jobs, the teachers don't look like them and don't understand their home situation, the issues are endless. Ask young kids how many of their friends died in the hood, or how many friends had abortions on the down low and you will be exposed to big little people with grown folk issues. I say this to emphasis to an infinite degree how conscious we are, though most of us seem not to be. Many kids live in denial because their scared, misguided, and simply don't know any better. If your mom is weak enough to buy you a $300 jacket without breaking down the value of a dollar, or your dad sees you with new Jordon's on and looks the other way without asking where you got the money for them, what difference does it make what a rapper says. Many of us need a balance between superficial hip-hop heaven and hood hell. We need truly grown folks with the courage to ask about a child's day before assuming how that day went. Rappers and hip-hoppers a side, you can't analyze the minds of today's youth if you don't acknowledge the trauma they experience every day.

    Here are a few lyrical lessons that put a name to such communal pain:

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Kanye West "All Falls Down"
    Oh when it all, it all falls down
    I'm telling you ohh, it all falls down

    [Verse - Kanye West]
    Man I promise, she's so self conscious
    She has no idea what she's doing in college
    That major that she majored in don't make no money
    But she won't drop out, her parents will look at her funny
    Now, tell me that ain't insecurrre
    The concept of school seems so securrre
    Sophmore three yearrrs aint picked a careerrr
    She like fuck it, I'll just stay down herre and do hair
    Cause that's enough money to buy her a few pairs of new Airs
    Cause her baby daddy don't really care
    She's so precious with the peer pressure
    Couldn't afford a car so she named her daughter Alexus (a Lexus)
    She had hair so long that it looked like weave
    Then she cut it all off now she look like Eve
    And she be dealing with some issues that you can't believe
    Single black female addicted to retail and well

    [Chorus - repeat 2x (w/ Kanye ad-libs)]

    [Verse - Kanye West]
    Man I promise, I'm so self conscious
    That's why you always see me with at least one of my watches
    Rollies and Pasha's done drove me crazy
    I can't even pronounce nothing, pass that versace!
    Then I spent 400 bucks on this
    Just to be like nigga you ain't up on this!
    And I can't even go to the grocery store
    Without some ones thats clean and a shirt with a team
    It seems we living the american dream
    But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
    The prettiest people do the ugliest things
    For the road to riches and diamond rings
    We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us
    We trying to buy back our 40 acres
    And for that paper, look how low we a'stoop
    Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coop/coupe

    [Chorus - repeat 2x (w/ Kanye ad-libs)]

    [Verse - Kanye West]
    I say fuck the police, thats how I treat em
    We buy our way out of jail, but we can't buy freedom
    We'll buy a lot of clothes when we don't really need em
    Things we buy to cover up what's inside
    Cause they make us hate ourself and love they wealth
    That's why shortys hollering "where the ballas' at?"
    Drug dealer buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack
    And a white man get paid off of all of that
    But I ain't even gon act holier than thou
    Cause fuck it, I went to Jacob with 25 thou
    Before I had a house and I'd do it again
    Cause I wanna be on 106 and Park pushing a Benz
    I wanna act ballerific like it's all terrific
    I got a couple past due bills, I won't get specific
    I got a problem with spending before I get it
    We all self conscious I'm just the first to admit it

    Missy Elliot, "Wake Up" featuring Jay Z
    [Verse 1 Missy Elliott]

    ______ betta wake up, stop sellin crack to the black
    Hope you bought a spare for your flat
    ....
    Yep im a top leader
    I got the Martin Luther King fever, ima feed yah what yah teacher need to breat yah
    Its time to get seious
    Black people all areas who gon' carry us it aint time to bury us
    Cause music be our first love, say i do lets cherish it

    [Chorus]

    If you dont gotta gun (its alright)
    If yah makin legal money, (its alright)
    If you gotta keep yah clothes on, (its alright)
    You ain't got a cellular phone, (its alright)
    And yah wheels dont spin, (its alright)
    And you gotta wear them jeans again, (its alright)
    Yeah if you tried oh well, (its alright)
    MC's stop the beef lets sell, (its alright)

    ...

    [Verse 3 Jay-Z (Missy Elliott)]

    I need rims that dont listen and boomin system
    First piece of change i see im gon' get one
    745 no license to drive
    I aint even gotta home i gots to live in my ride, ___ it
    (Rewind)
    I can hear myself but i cant feel myself
    I wanna feel myself like Tweet
    745 no license to drive
    I aint even gotta home i gots to live in my ride, ___ it
    Couple of karats in my ear wont hurt
    Need a nice chain layin on this thousand $ shirt
    Evisu Jeans cover the rectum, i kick game just like David Beckham
    Anybody in my way i wet them
    Ima be this way until the cops come catch em
    To detective sketch em on the sidewalk wit chalk New Yorks infections
    Till i got taught a lesson
    Couple niggaz gone couple wink corrections
    And Marie got 10, Tie got 15 nigga even my kin
    Got 5 years bringin 19 in, i just think i used to think like them
    Now they gotta live through the pictures that i send em in the pen
    Hope you dont start yah life where i end

    ---------------------------------------------------------------


    Getting back to the hip-hop revolution I will say this, from writing a rhyme, making one dime, to getting kids on the voting line it's all political. So what if kids came out and voted because Russell told them to, the point is they had a leader who respected them enough to tell them that their vote mattered and they had the power to use it. Tell me who of our predecessors can spark such a movement within the youth without respecting their current experiences. Who has gotten millions of black kids out to vote before this time? I'll be the first one to tell you I hate the fact that cats in the hood want to spend $300 plus on some rims when they can't pay rent but guess what, if Puffy doesn't bank on the hood mentality somebody else will. Before you get too infuriated by our business mentality, I have two important points to make here: you strongly argue that hip-hop money is not good to the community, stating:
    quote:
    When a 2Pac or a Jay'Z or a 50 cent joins that industry, thus allowing themselves to be exploited and bring and encouraging others to do the same, it does not polically or socially uplift the community. It may uplift the bank account of the artist or the record company, but it doesn't send our children to college, it doesn't renovate dilapidated neighborhoods, it doesn't supply elementary and secondary schools with text books. And then the artists who make it big, who establishes the recording studios, or record label or the clothing line turn around and use that same method of exploitation to make even more money!


    First point in response to your comment: The quality of his artists is arguable, but Puff Daddy is a politically conscious, socially responsible business man in so far as he has a number of qualified intelligent, black people on his payroll and he does do his part to donate to kids, schools, and urban youth at large. I hated his show "Making the Band," but I respected the fact that the majority of the hire-ups around him were black. Everyday black people single handedly make white businesses flourish, and get nothing back in return. If Puffy can sell rims, make clothes, and still run the 2003 New York City Marathon and raised $2,000,000 for the educational system for the children of New York, I say more power to him. As you mentioned there will always be unethical brothers and sisters in the business, I neither condone their work nor use it to support my theories about how hip-hop can be used as a political tool. At the end of the day it's up to parents and close adult figures to balance the negative aspects of the world that we live in. As my boyfriend always says, he looks up to Pac because Pac's words kept him out of the street, but at the end of the day Pac is not his role model. His role model is his mother, because she taught him how to be financially independent, she showed him how hard work can create stability; she taught him the importance of creating a family, not babies, and owning a house. He can respect Pac's words and his mother's actions because they both took the time to respect his experiences as a poor black man in Brooklyn. That my friends is how the balance begins.

    Point Two: From Usher to 50cent and many black performers in between, they understand something that very few talented blacks have understood in the past. Like Ray Charles, who demanded ownership of his master's, these young cats understand that at the end of the day it's not about being performers, they want to be business men. Perhaps this need isn't apparent because as I've said time and time again, the older generation is so focused on the glamour, but the fact remains they are starting their own businesses, hiring black folks, and giving back. Ok, you don't like some of their tactics. But do you like all of white America's tactics? Are you boycotting all white products and publicly denouncing their lack of influence in our communities or are you saving all that negative energy for your younger generation. Yes, I agree there is much talk about thug life, but that's not all the hip-hop generation talk about. And to be quite frank, guys like 50cent will tell you he's not glorifying the lifestyle, he's explaining how harsh a life it is. One of his biggest fears in life is having to go back to the hood, and you can't fault a brother for that. As for all the gangster rappers and street thugs out there, don't let them raise your children. You raise your children. Take a minute to contemplate how the same generation you can say is so talented in one breath, you can chastise as being untalented because they sample your generation's music. Consider how R. Kelly's inclusion of music from the Isley Brothers helps connect the new generation to the old generation in ways that you all usually do not, and help to keep old R&B artists in the public eye with more royalty checks coming in. Hate their tactics if you will, but at the end of the day the young cats are concerned about how everybody is going to eat, and they are trying to turn their talent in the streets into profits in the boardroom. On the same token, they need some guidance and collaboration from black business owners. White media capitalizes off of black music every day, it's time older blacks start interjecting, finding the positive attributes within hip hop and collaborating with these artists because they are building gateways to the future.

    They are doing things. I can't say that enough. You just don't want to see it because their not doing it your way. If you want to get respect you got to give respect. If you want to teach us the old, you got to let us teach you the new. There has to be a little give, there has to be a little take. As quick as my mother bought me a pair of sneakers, she beat my butt when she caught me writing on the apartment corridor walls. I know I'm entitled to the good things in a good life, just like young white women, but I also know that for as long as I'm living in the hood I've got to preserve the appearance of my community. Respect your kids. Teach your Kids. And help hip hoppers turn their talent into communal wealth. These are the things I think we are willing to take, what are you all willing to give?


    LHenry
    Urban Dynamics | Search Urban
    quote:
    If change is to happen the entire culture would have to change and no one seriously wants that to happen, because maybe someone would have to stop smoking blunts, or popping their booty in the air or glorifying guns or speaking sado machistically about harming Black women in particular during sex, or excusing ignorance....or displaying their cartoonish prowess....this wouldn't be, well, fun.



    Virtue,

    I would expect this observation from an obnoxious conservative white analyst or critic that was paid to demoralize the black youth. But coming from my own, it's pretty saddening. I don't know. Maybe you didn't grow up where their was a liquor store on every other corner, and a church on the corners where the liquor store wasn't. The Hood. That's cool. But I have to disagree with your views on our culture. Read the topic {Black Identity and Unity}

    quote:
    A bachelor's degree is not needed for direction and character. However, leadership with the qualities of insight, empathy, discipline and character is a necessity. This is what our generation lacks.


    bs This positive movement that you guys implied was not authoritative or paternalistic. It's mommy and daddies job to instill discipline and character.

    quote:
    ... Yet, if we are talking revolution, are we not talking about political, economic, social, and cultural power. How do you see specifically hip-hop addressing these issues. How does hip-hop confront those institutions and structures that subjugate, dominate, exploit, and marginalize the oppressed?


    David Banner's "Bush"
    This song is very political. It's hard on the ears of our predecessors, but I understand his anger. He's coming from one of the poorest and least educated states. Nothing to "trickle" down to the blacks in Mississippi

    The Game "Hate it or Love it"
    Shows our economic status. It shows what we do to rebel against it. It also implies how we've exhausted all of our options socially and politically, to obtain our share (which is non-existent at the moment)

    I chose these two artist particularly because they have the ears right now. Hip hop artist good or bad, always have social, economic, and political revolution on at least a few tracks on the album.
    quote:
    Originally posted by HeruStar:
    David Banner's "Bush"
    This song is very political. It's hard on the ears of our predecessors, but I understand his anger. He's coming from one of the poorest and least educated states. Nothing to "trickle" down to the blacks in Mississippi

    The Game "Hate it or Love it"
    Shows our economic status. It shows what we do to rebel against it. It also implies how we've exhausted all of our options socially and politically, to obtain our share (which is non-existent at the moment)

    I chose these two artist particularly because they have the ears right now. Hip hop artist good or bad, always have social, economic, and political revolution on at least a few tracks on the album.

    Heru,
    But what is the next step. Expression is good, it can be evocative and cathartic, but what follows substantively. Giving voice for the voiceless is to be commended, but unless it helps to change the situation and circumstances of people, it is at best a palliative, or worse, an opiate.

    Or to put it differently, functionally, does it put food in peoples mouths, does it put clothes on peoples backs, does it educate.

    I also want to say, that I do not think there is one model that should be preferred over others. I also do not hold the youth to a higher standard than they those who have gone before. In fact, I think that many of the mistakes of the past are being perpetuated in the present for lack of critical analysis and reflexive thinking.

    E.g., Is Puffy any better or worse than say Berry Gordy.

    Note to blackoutloud: I just can't go with you on your assessment of Puffy as being a politically conscious, socially responsible business man. Kudos for his raising money for children. Yet, I can not dismiss "Making the Bands" which at times looked like a new age minstrel show. Moreover, while he may employ African Americans, I am not impressed with what I have seen of his managerial style or the image he projects and the products he purveystd6.
    Virtue ...

    That was an extremely astute observation! Smile

    There's not much I can add to it, but as far as the wisdom thing, it's not that you're not absolutely correct ... however, there is more truth that goes along with it.

    No matter how much you know or are able to comprehend, there are some things that only experience can impart knowledge. That is why the saying goes as it does. It's not that a 25-year-old can't be "wise" but, it's hard for one to be as wise as a 35-year-old, because there are things that the 25-year-old simply hasn't gone through yet ... the 35-year-old has 10 additional years worth of time to have gathered that information. And the more you know, the more you know. You know? Smile
    blackoutloud ...

    There is so much to respond to from you post, but I'd like to get some sleep tonight, so I'm not going to possibly try to respond to all of it. A couple of quick points I'd like to get to, though ....

    Although you effectively made it a point to assume a lot about my perspective of hip hop as a whole, I will reiterate that I don't find the entire concept of hip hop as a total undesireable entity. I will go into it more pointedly later, but I know many that fall within the boundries of the hip hop generation that are well-adjusted and successfully navigating life right now. Most of them are in college getting an education. Many of them look at but do not imitate the negative stereotypical images sold to them by the record industry, perpetuated by their artists, and broadcast as an example of "success" to viturally every nook and cranny of the world. They do not present themselves as thugs, hos, and hoodrats. Additionally, they don't try to vehemently defend those that do present themselves as such. Accordingly, they are afforded, by me, all the respect that that deserves.

    I do know how to appreciate that that deserves appreciation. But I simply cannot appreciate (I believe I heard it was 50 cent) or any other artist swiping a credit card down the crack of a girl's ass, and then being told there's nothing wrong with that and that I should understand the sentiment behind it. Eek

    You continue to say, "yeah, there's negatism, but ... " or "Yes, some of what is going on may not be quite moralistically acceptable, but ..." or "Yes, we allow ourselves to be exploited, and will even exploit ourselves, but ..." And I would submit that if you were to defend what comes before the "but ..." as intensely as you defend what comes after it, then perhaps this generation would be able get a little bit farther toward actually making this movement move, on their own even, (due to the negligence of the preceding generation to educate) -- taking into account the high level of talent and prowess that does exist within this generation.

    I don't think you can have it both ways. You can't have young women that will revere a song that celebrates being a "baby momma" and expect that they will recognize the socially rewarding quality of building strong family units for positive uplift as a community and the benefits of rasing your children with the father as an intergral part of the family. Touting the new wave of entrepeneurs within the generation, but failing to express that, since most them are not the Puffys and the Jay'Zs, many of these new "start-ups" are not and are never going to be careers or mega money making ventures. Selling bootleg CDs/DVDs on the street is not the same as buying into a storefront property and opening up an entertainment shop.

    Yes, we need to pick up that baton and pass it on to you. But, as both you and HeruStar have said ... how many of people in your generation even want to listen to these things we have to say ... let alone actually do it. Yes, there are some that we do teach and that do listen. But what about the "thug" or "gangster" that sees nothing wrong with his/her perspective. In tryin to "teach" such a person that that there is actually a better way, who do you think the true thug is going to believe ... me or the person on that video with tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry on, driving the Benz, simulating having sex on it, that tells them the easy way is the best way?

    As a rebel, that question should be a no-brainer. It has been for every rebel generation that has preceded the both of us. Roll Eyes
    quote:
    Originally posted by EbonyRose:
    I do know how to appreciate that that deserves appreciation. But I simply cannot appreciate (I believe I heard it was 50 cent) or any other artist swiping a credit card down the crack of a girl's ass, and then being told there's nothing wrong with that and that I should understand the sentiment behind it. Eek

    That's in Nelly's Tip Drill video. Here are the lyrics that go along with the imagery.

    Yo this fo my nigga Dj 618
    Oh
    uhh ohhhhh
    (Chorus)
    I said it must be ya ass cause it ain't yo face i need a tip drill i need a tip drill
    I said it must be ya ass cause it ain't yo face i nedde a tip drill i need a tip drill
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go

    (Verse 1)
    We throwin money in the air like we don't give a fuck lookin for a tip drill i need a tip drill
    We throwin money in the air like we don't give a fuck lookin for a tip drill i need a tip drill
    Now mama girl you gotta friend that don't mind joinin in ima tip drill i need a tip drill
    Now mama girl you gotta friend that don't mind joinin in ima tip drill i need a tip drill
    Now baby girl bring it ova let me spit my pimp juice i need a tip drill i need a tip drill
    Now baby girl bring it ova let me spit my pimp juice i need a tip drill i need a tip drill
    I said it ain't no fun unless we all get some I need a tip drill we need a tip drill
    I said it ain't no fun unless we all get some I need a tip drill we need a tip drill

    (chorus)
    I said it must be ya ass cause it aint yo face i need a tip drill i need a tip drill
    I said it must be ya ass cause it aint yo face i nedde a tip drill i need a tip drill
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go

    (Verse 2)
    I said now come on girl you know what we came here for cause you a tip drill we need a tip drill
    I said now come on girl you know what we came here for cause you a tip drill we need a tip drill
    You lookin good in them shorts but they look better on the floo' cause you's a tip drill cause you's a tip drill
    You lookin good in them shorts but they look better on the floo' cause you's a tip drill cause you's a tip drill
    See now i wanna let you ride but the rubber might slide you's a tip drill girl you a tip drill
    See now i wanna let you ride but the rubber might slide you's a tip drill girl you a tip drill
    Toot that ass up mama put that dip in ya back and let me tip drill just let me tip drill
    Toot that ass up mama put that dip in ya back and let me tip drill just let me tip drill

    (Chorus)
    I said it must be ya ass cause it aint yo face i need a tip drill i need a tip drill
    I said it must be ya ass cause it aint yo face i nedde a tip drill i need a tip drill
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go

    (Break down)
    We be like undelay undelay mama ei ei uhh ohhh a what's poppin tonite
    I said undelay undelay mama ei ei uhh ohh get that head right i be there every night
    We be like undelay undelay mama ei ei uhh ohhh a what's poppin tonite
    I said undelay undelay mama ei ei uhh ohh get that head right i be there every night

    (Verse 3)(Girl talking)
    I said it must be ya money cause it aint yo face you a tip drill nigga you a tip drill
    I said it must be ya money cause it aint yo face you a tip drill nigga you a tip drill
    My apple bottom lookin right i know you wanna bite you's a tip drill i heard you was a tip drill
    My apple bottom lookin right i know you wanna bite you's a tip drill i heard you was a tip drill
    I got you payin my bills and buyin automobiles you a tip drill nigga you a tip drill
    I got you payin my bills and buyin automobiles you a tip drill nigga you a tip drill
    I know you a trick gon' spin that shit you ole' tip drill you funky ass tip drill
    I know you a trick gon' spin that shit you ole' tip drill you funky ass tip drill

    (Chorus)
    I said it must be ya ass cause it aint yo face i need a tip drill i need a tip drill
    I said it must be ya ass cause it aint yo face i nedde a tip drill i need a tip drill
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go

    (Break down)
    I need a freak Ooh to hold me tight I need a freak for 7 days and 7 nights ooh I need a freeak ohh that will not choke ohh i need a freak to let me stick it down her oooooh

    (Chorus)2x
    I said it must be ya ass cause it aint yo face i need a tip drill i need a tip drill
    I said it must be ya ass cause it aint yo face i nedde a tip drill i need a tip drill
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go
    Said if you see a tip drill point her out where she at point her out where she at point her out there she go

    St. Louis got tip drills(tip drill)
    Nap Town got tip drills (tip drill)
    Cleveland got tip drills (tip drills)
    KC got tip drill (tip drills)
    Miami got tips drills (tip drills)
    New Orleans got tip drills (tip drills)
    Detroit got tip drills (tip drills)
    D.C got tip drill (tip drills)
    West Coast got tip drills (tip drill)
    Sha town got tip drills (tip drills)
    ATL got tip drills (tip drills)
    Oklahoma got tip drills (tip drills)
    Iowa got tip drills (tip drills)
    Memphis got tip drills (tip drills)
    East Coast got tip drills (tip drills)
    The Whole World got tip drills (tip drills)


    But on the positive, Nelly does have the P.I.M.P Scholars Program brought to you courtesy of PIMPJUICE. Roll Eyes
    Oh dang, kresge ... ek ek ek

    First of all, let me thank you fornot telling me exactly what a "tip drill" is or means. ek I think I can pretty much surmise ... but I really would rather not go there!!

    Secondly, I'm trying to put the words "positive" and Pimpjuice" together in some comprehensive light ... but, you're going to have to give me a minute ... I'm having a little bit of trouble making that connection! Roll Eyes
    quote:
    Originally posted by HeruStar:
    [QUOTE]If change is to happen the entire culture would have to change and no one seriously wants that to happen, because maybe someone would have to stop smoking blunts, or popping their booty in the air or glorifying guns or speaking sado machistically about harming Black women in particular during sex, or excusing ignorance....or displaying their cartoonish prowess....this wouldn't be, well, fun.



    Virtue,

    I would expect this observation from an obnoxious conservative white analyst or critic that was paid to demoralize the black youth. But coming from my own, it's pretty saddening. I don't know. Maybe you didn't grow up where their was a liquor store on every other corner, and a church on the corners where the liquor store wasn't. The Hood. That's cool. But I have to disagree with your views on our culture. Read the topic {Black Identity and Unity}

    ---
    Let's, see what is it that you object to? Somehow I do not understand Black youth (of which I am one, by the way), because I did not grow up around liquor stores and churches on the corner? (which I did by the way). Well, let's see what is it that I have mis perceived. Hmmmm...So I am wrong about the high presence and promotion of drugs in hip hop culture? So young girls are not promoted as the sexual toys of young Black male hip hop artists? Oh, I must be blind when I see the videos, they must be dressed in modest attire and are the epitome of elegance and role models for young women. And this must be the majority. Forgive me. And guns do not feature prominently in the lyrics and imagery of these artists. I must be mistaken. I learned what a glock and an Ak-47 was from watching just a few videos in rotation......but according to you....maybe not. Maybe it wasn't urban violence promoted and glorified maybe they were just talking about hunting and self-defense against THE REAL criminals. Oh. And perhaps, again I was mistaken when brothers(?)talk about "hittin it from behind" and demanding women bend over to get a better view and etc. etc. What they were actually saying was "Excuse me Miss. What's your name. May I take you out tonight?" Oh, but I guess to clear my myopic view of PREDOMINATE hip hop culture, I need a liquor store and church. Brother, please.

    And I do not have to be white, or obnoxious to see how the acceptance of destructive behaviors destroy us all. I am simply stating that, as you are proving, that some people, no matter what they say do not truly want change. I simply addressed both sides of the coins.


    quote:
    A bachelor's degree is not needed for direction and character. However, leadership with the qualities of insight, empathy, discipline and character is a necessity. This is what our generation lacks.


    bs This positive movement that you guys implied was not authoritative or paternalistic. It's mommy and daddies job to instill discipline and character.

    ---
    Here is where you are correct, Sir. It is mommy and daddy's job to instill discipline and character. Do you know how that's done? They make it easier for their children to maintain their virtues by requiring that the environment reflect a wholesome situation with which to raise their children. Just like some people would prefer a less stressful way to exist in a society that does not judge their drug, sex and violent habits....Many parents long for less stress in raising children in an environment that does not condemn them for wanting to raise their children with dignity, Sir. The way to do this is to request that those who oppose virtue see the error of their ways. Unfortunately, our previous generation did not do enough of this.....But you can't have it both ways. You can't say "understand, that I have a problem" and when someone empathizes and says "yes, you have a problem" you say, " see, you're wrong for pointing that out".
    quote:
    Originally posted by EbonyRose:
    Virtue ...

    That was an extremely astute observation! Smile

    There's not much I can add to it, but as far as the wisdom thing, it's not that you're not absolutely correct ... however, there is more truth that goes along with it.

    No matter how much you know or are able to comprehend, there are some things that only experience can impart knowledge. That is why the saying goes as it does. It's not that a 25-year-old can't be "wise" but, it's hard for one to be as wise as a 35-year-old, because there are things that the 25-year-old simply hasn't gone through yet ... the 35-year-old has 10 additional years worth of time to have gathered that information. And the more you know, the more you know. You know? Smile


    Peace and Blessings Ebony,

    You are correct. I stand corrected. Or more accurately....enlightened. Smile

    Peace,
    Virtue
    While I haven't been following this thread closely, I think it applies.

    Published on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 by the Boston Globe
    Kenneth Clark's Unfulfilled Dream
    by Derrick Z. Jackson

    The most twisted moment of Kenneth B. Clark's historic psychological research was when he showed a black doll to a black boy in Arkansas. Clark said the boy pointed to the doll, smiled, and said, ''That's a nigger. I'm a nigger."

    That was the lowlight of groundbreaking findings in the 1940s and early 1950s by Clark and his wife, Mamie Phipps Clark, who found that black children in both the South and the North overwhelmingly said white dolls were nicer and prettier than black dolls, and black dolls were bad. The tests were so traumatic, Clark said, that in Massachusetts, some black children refused to participate, running out of the room in tears. This evidence of pyschological damage was so searing that the Supreme Court cited it in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing segregated schools.

    The damage was so deep that in the mid-1980s, as the optimism of the civil rights movement was stripped by the Nixon and Reagan retrenchment, Hofstra University researchers Darlene Powell-Hopson and Sharon Gopaul-McNicol found that two-thirds of black children in the United States and three-quarters of black children in Trinidad still preferred white dolls over black ones. The secretary general of the Trinidad and Tobago teachers union responded to the findings by saying: ''Even in Trinidad, where 85 percent of the people are black and we have a black government, we have not recovered from 400 years in which blacks knew the white man as the boss."

    The damage was so deep that in a 1995 interview with The New York Times, Clark was asked what would the doll test would show today. His said, ''The doll test today probably would not be that much different."

    That is the most horrible part about thinking about the death this week of Clark at the age of 90. On this issue, time has stood still since that black boy in Arkansas. A half-century later, black boys all over America call themselves the n-word.

    The context makes it much worse. That boy in Arkansas knew that if he dared to suggest that he was not the n-word, that if he dared to express manhood, he risked a lynching. Today, black men shout the n-word to announce their manhood. Short of physical suicide, it is the ultimate defeat, dehumanizing themselves among themselves in the streets and declaring themselves to be less than human to all of white America. White Americans now make up the majority of purchases of the hip-hop/rap genre.

    Clark did not work hard to see black people sell themselves cheaply. Sure, racism, bad public schools, and lack of jobs in central cities continue to play a terrible role in depressing black opportunity. But that cannot excuse the fact that all 10 of Billboard's Top 10 rap singles artists at the close of 2004 use the n-word on their uncensored albums.

    The rapper known as 50 Cent, the number one rap artist at the end of 2004, is currently causing a stir at school dances with his misogyny. What should be of equal concern is that America's youth, of all colors and in the privacy of their headphones, are under a racial assault. On the same album that has parents aflame about lewd sex, 50 Cent has a track that has 23 uses of the n-word. To be clear, the rappers take the n-word and substitute ''as" or ''az" for ''er." Some say it's just harmless friendship talk. The last time I checked in the dictionary, the n-word means, ''a disparaging term for a black person."

    James Baldwin once wrote, ''You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger." When all Top 10 rappers use the n-word, including Kanye ''Jesus Walks" West, that is a depressingly wide swath of destruction. Many of the top rappers and hip-hop artists who use the n-word were in the Top 20 of the general Billboard 200 at the end of 2004, such as West, Outkast, Jay-Z, and G-Unit. Often, the n-word is used in conjunction with glorifying violence.

    This cannot bode well for the future. Schools a half-century after the Brown decision have become more segregated. The image of black males in the privacy of headphones is more perverted than ever. At some point a black child hears the n-word enough and decides -- through bad grades, pregnancy, or crime -- to destroy himself or herself. At some point a white boy or girl hears the n-word enough and decides -- when they become adults and leaders of industry -- that those people are not worth their time. Clark tried to show us a twisted mirror a half-century ago. It is time for parents, civil rights groups, and America to pick up this mirror and smash it to bits.

    © 2005 Boston Globe
    EbonyRose
    quote:
    "I do know how to appreciate that that deserves appreciation. But I simply cannot appreciate (I believe I heard it was 50 cent) or any other artist swiping a credit card down the crack of a girl's ass, and then being told there's nothing wrong with that and that I should understand the sentiment behind it.

    You continue to say, "yeah, there's negatism, but ... " or "Yes, some of what is going on may not be quite moralistically acceptable, but ..." or "Yes, we allow ourselves to be exploited, and will even exploit ourselves, but ..." And I would submit that if you were to defend what comes before the "but ..." as intensely as you defend what comes after it, then perhaps this generation would be able get a little bit farther toward actually making this movement move, on their own even, (due to the negligence of the preceding generation to educate) -- taking into account the high level of talent and prowess that does exist within this generation."


    Kregse
    quote:
    "Is Puffy any better or worse than say Berry Gordy.

    Note to blackoutloud: I just can't go with you on your assessment of Puffy as being a politically conscious, socially responsible business man. Kudos for his raising money for children. Yet, I can not dismiss "Making the Bands" which at times looked like a new age minstrel show. Moreover, while he may employ African Americans, I am not impressed with what I have seen of his managerial style or the image he projects and the products he purveys"


    Less criticism, more construction, no buts.

    On the topic of negativity in hip hop, I never say "but", I explain why. I'm not here to make excuses for the glorification of baby mammas, wanna-be pimps and women with more dollars on their mind than sense. Folks like Snoop dog wouldn't know about pimps and hos if he didn't grow up on Super Fly and all the negative sixties/seventies sexism that oozed out of black exploitation films. I don't validate the video hoes and the rappers they cling to, I verbalize how all this content is negative baggage from the past recreating itself on higher levels in our present. I try to explain where these urban youth's minds are at, and where they are coming from to create a passageway for some level of understanding and communication between our generations. Unfortunately that is not what you all want. You all want to exasperate the fact that there are pimps and hoes in the videos, with no more than two sad words on the fact that these young kids don't have enough parents to drag their butts off the video sets. No body wants to talk about the fact that we were born in negative debt, or how previous generations aren't taking whatever finances they have to steer this industry or these kids in a different direction. You want to constantly remind us that this generation has no morals, and conveniently ignore the fact that previous generations didn't have significantly more morals than we did, or any money for that matter. If they did, how come this generation went astray? If these youth are the downfall, where did they learn their negative traits? Is this all just an act of rebellion? Are they not products of their society? Does everybody just want to ignore my comments about poor schools and unemployment, because it's so much easier to blame the videos? It's so much easier to focus on the image, without once taking the time to explain where that image originated from. If you feel that I'm dismissing the negative side, or making excuses for it, explain to me why you are dismissing the positive side and downplaying it? Puff Daddy is not a saint, but he has done a lot more for his community and opened more doors in the cooperate world than Barry Gordy! Yes he is wealthy, and you are right some of Puffy's business tactics are not as sanctified as we would like it, so because we don't like his business savvy we are going to ignore the fact that this man has enough skill to rally kids to vote and get over 2 million dollars in funds for education. You are going to downplay the fact that the hip hop generation has enough political clout to get blacks to claim their voting rights as American citizens and come out in an historical number because there was no preaching, protests, or perhaps because democrats and republicans alike saw that hip hop had the potential to spark influence in a political movement. Oh I'm sorry was I naïve to use the term "political." After all it's too hard to hear young people protesting poverty over that loud music. But hip hops only been around for a couple of years, and these kids are young. They have done more damage than good, or perhaps their struggling to do both as most humans do. You're going to ignore the fact that young hip hop kids of this generation are not only taking the time to tutor urban youth but busting their entrepreneurial butts to start youth programs and generate black business so they don't have to suck up to white faces in the pursuit of white money. They don't have to worry about getting stuck on that corporate ladder as lesser qualified white peers pass them by because their too busy trying to pave their own way and get their own piece of the American pie. Hustling is wrong, right? White people don't make their way to the top by any means necessary in an attempt to make it and support their own. They make it to the top the white – oh I'm sorry, the right way, so I guess all those hardworking black boys who keep getting scammed by "security certification companies" and job agencies telling them their too black, under qualified, and have too much hair, they should keep on keeping on up that white ladder. Or perhaps seek advice from black business owners in their community who are not busy trying to play white, or make sure they are the only minority within the minority of financially better off. Your going to tell me street thugs transforming themselves into hip hop Celebs who try to educate kids about the harsh realities of the street, and create forums like the hip hop summit to give these kids a voice and a space to learn financial responsibility is ok, BUT not that important seeing that apart from youth programs, socially conscious lyrics, and a handful of interested adults, these kids have no one to turn to. What part of that is not political or economic? Explain to me how it's not commendable for someone watching their family starve to go around promoting their albums and turn the worst aspects of being poor in America into a financial tool for helping the poor. But that's not a strong argument right, because for the first time in their lives they have enough money to enjoy themselves in the way they see fit, and it's bringing down the whole race because the addition of rappers and apparent subtraction of parents does not go hand in hand. Explain to me how it's so easy to focus on the political gains our previous predecessors have afforded us, while ignoring that they didn't make enough financial gain to create spaces in which their children wouldn't have to be exploited by white media. If today is such a modern day minstrel, explain to me our historical group of mass media puppets who not only personally capitalized on their wealth but developed businesses and figured out at some point they had to take the black face off and put a black suit on. I have much love to myself and every hardworking black youth who made it to college, but explain to me how you expect my young sisters and brothers to do the same, to remain educated and work their way to decent jobs when they get caught up in the hood life of which these rappers speak; when they have more substitute teachers than real ones, their academic institutions place them in high school and they can't even read or write. Explain how they can get a decent job in today's society where your class of "labor workers" no longer exist, so young people either need a degree to work in today's technologically advanced service industry or they suck it up and fill out that McDonald's application, and spend the rest of their lives making $5 bucks an hour because they were born into poverty. Explain to me why this infuriating term "bling-bling" overshadows the possibility that maybe this generation is striving to acquire a financial stability that the previous generation did not. And maybe their tactics aren't as moral as they should be but where do they learn morals they were seldom taught and how do they work without a system meant to keep them down? Explain to me this present day America that has created so much positivity that we can see hip hop's negativity as a savage product of itself with no connections to anything but its own demise. Explain to me why I should defend, or invest 10% of my energy on music videos, when I'm too busy thinking about the fact that there's no parent there to turn the TV off, or better yet sit down, listen and filter the good from the bad explaining all the madness in between. I'm more interested in listening to rappers on interviews, when they tell you that half the video props are rented, and at the end of the day you have to know more about business than music to survive in the rap game. I'm more interested in supporting young black business seeing as how we seldom support our people, young or old in any major financial ventures they do. Rather than get a Russell Simmons credit card and support a man who devotes a portion of his time and money to teach urban youth about finances and income taxes, lets just go with the white businesses, they don't help us but those rap videos are bad. Let's forget about the cigarettes, the FDA approvals of medicines that don't medicate the billion and one white industries we regularly support but seldom criticize because they aren't doing anything to our communities but continually depleting our resources and brainwashing our children. Explain to me your politics. Explain to me the positive images this generation should be living by when no body gives 2 nickels about them yet they are some how managing to acquire more financial status than their predecessors without the help of an educational system and a government created to hold them back. Ask of us young black intellectuals, ask of me, how hard it is to climb that academic ladder with people stripping at your culture the further you go out and friends dieing at your side every time you go back. From putting on suits, to selling out of cars this generation is filled with young people trying to make up for the fact that in addition to not getting morals from our parents, we didn't get any money either. But you know what it doesn't matter how I put it, how heru puts it, or how any of us put it, because we are all saying the same thing. Still everyone wants to get hung up on the videos. It would be too hard to give these cats some credit for rising above the educational system that pissed on them. It would be too much to acknowledge the youth programs, the deep lyrics, or our political contributions because they just aren't political and after all you don't think our businesses will last. If you think its enough to quote a few personally liked rappers, claim allegiance, and say "they raise ALITTLE money that's nice"... your missing my points. My factual data, my articles, my lyrics, my examples haven't turned one head away from the booty shaking videos, but that's all we are to you. So give me some facts now. Tell me how the past was significantly better; tell me what they left behind to build on. This generation is everything to me, but apparently we aren't "anything" enough for you? So tell me, what are we, where did we come from, and how do we rise above/change a system we did not create in ways that are aesthetically pleasing, politically conscious, and financially beneficial to us all?

    LHenry
    Urban Dynamics | Search Urban
    Blackoutloud,
    When you say that hip hop has only been around for a couple of years, what are you basing that assertion on? From where do you date its genesis. I believe that it is well documented that it goes back to the 70's and is approximately 30 years old as I stated in an earlier post. Thus in accessing hip hop as a movement or way of life, I think that there is ample evidence out there for investigation.

    Again, if you are suggesting a radical break or paradigm shift within the tradition that would indicate a substantive change in the affirmative over early periods, I would be interested to know.

    I do not think that anyone here wishes to give up on the youth. I was a college administrator for 12 years who is working on a PhD in order to go into the classroom full-time. At my last job, I had a number of students from inner city Detroit. I and others did our best to help them succeed, and fought to create a space for them in the academic community. We helped some and probably failed others. In the position before that, I was involved as a community liaison in two maximum security prisons were I dealt a great deal with young adult offenders.

    I do not intend to romance the past or the present. I think that if we are to advance as a people, that we must not shy away from asking tough questions and holding people accountable, ourselves included. To not do that, is not doing anyone any favors, in fact, to not hold persons accountable is in my opinion to deny their humanity, it is to assert that they (we) are somehow less than. That is unacceptable to me.
    blackoutloud ...

    That was quite a mouthful Smile

    But, I only have two comments ...

    First of all, I'm not understanding what part of "I will reiterate that I don't find the entire concept of hip hop as a total undesireable entity." are you not grasping?

    Let me put it to you point blank. I do not and have not ever condemned the hip hop generation as a whole. I know too many of every kind of youngster who is a part of it. But ... the rap video/entertainment/music industry part of is more so than less disgusting and void of any sort of social redeeming quality. I find it indefensible and morally repugnant. And that's the long and short of it.

    So now ... we are left, in our conversation, with -- we obviously agree that the entire realm of the hip hop generation is not doomed to hell. And we either agree or disagree on the opinion that, generally speaking, rap videos and (and the artists who perform them) present a negative, stereotypical image to the world of the Black community. I am of the opinion that it does. What say you? Yes or no?

    Secondly, of all of those social ills that you mentioned and especially the ones you attribute to the previous generation leaving and creating for you, how many songs/videos have been made that are not only articulating all of that, but offering a solution to cure it? And who are they?

    In other words, okay, the school system is failing. How many videos are or have been that address fixing the school system? Or the deficit? Or the lack of adequate parental guidance? Or not enough jobs? Or poverty ... Who has videos detailing how to overcome poverty? You intellectuals ... who has made a video about them? Is the industry not big enough to perpetuate the good as well as the bad? Is balance unnecessary because it is non-existent? Why can't I see all the good things about the hip hop generation on a video, instead of hearing about them from you?

    At any rate, I have to reiterate ... it's not just what you do, but how you do it. If you do not understand what that means, it's okay ... because someday you will. Of that I have no doubt. It's just a matter of whether that time is now or not! Smile

    Oh, and one last thing ... throughout this thread, some names of artists that you have referred to as "leaders" of your generation have been mentioned. And I got to thinking this morning about some of them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but ...

    2Pac and Biggie, were both violently killed by gun violence perpetrated by their own kind, weren't they?

    And R-Kelly ... isn't he indicted on child molestation charges?

    I believe 50 cent and The Game are involved in some kind of dispute that has encompassed gunfire, aren't they?

    And Puffy ... wasn't he the one in that shootout at a club, who reportedly convinced his body guard to take responsibility of unregistered gun in his vehicle?

    And who is the young girl going to jail for perjuring herself in front of a grand jury? Isn't she pretty popular?

    Confused
    I'm assuming that the conscensus for the dissent is that Hip hop artist should be "held accountable" for the harm they are causing our culture.

    What?

    If anybody should held accountable it should be the parents for not having the time to teach their children the "art" of self-expression. Shame on the parents that filter the Black art, depriving their child of understanding self-expression, keeping him/her close-minded and socially detached from the black existence.

    As I've said. Hip hop is a form of escapeism. The most compelling and fascinating form of expression to this day.

    Hardly any of the voices of hip hop are saints. Their real people with real problems, and mistakes. This makes them more tangible. This makes their expression more intimate. I can only think of one artist that blatantly disregards quality in character. For the most part however, these are good-hearted individuals, which IMO assures that they are making quality music.
    quote:
    Originally posted by HeruStar:
    I'm assuming that the conscensus for the dissent is that Hip hop artist should be "held accountable" for the harm they are causing our culture.

    What?

    If anybody should held accountable it should be the parents for not having the time to teach their children the "art" of self-expression. Shame on the parents that filter the Black art, depriving their child of understanding self-expression, keeping him/her close-minded and socially detached from the black existence.

    As I've said. Hip hop is a form of escapeism. The most compelling and fascinating form of expression to this day.

    Hardly any of the voices of hip hop are saints. Their real people with real problems, and mistakes. This makes them more tangible. This makes their expression more intimate. I can only think of one artist that blatantly disregards quality in character. For the most part however, these are good-hearted individuals, which IMO assures that they are making quality music.

    Both must be held accountable unless you subscribe to some kind of infinite regress, i.e., at some point as adults, one has to take responsibility for their actions and not put it on someone else. That is what it means to be an adult and not just grown. That is what it means to be a person of character.

    Also, I believe that we all need outlets for self expression and release, but escapism? That is a dubious proposition to my mind. How is escapism revolutionary? How is escapism socially transformative? Instead of something transformative, it sounds like it is an abdication of responsibility, an avoidance, and quietism.
    Rebelling is our release. Revolution is our relief. The "entertaining" aspects of hip hop makes it a "form" of escapism.

    No one is responsible for the misintrepretation of our ART except the ones who misinterpreted.

    The last thing HIP HOP is, is apologetic. "We didn't land on Plymouth Rock..." So we have no reason to apologize for "our" trangressions and conform to social standards through our music. As I said, we rebel, and we clearly have a reason to.

    I tried to right a rhyme pointing this out. Feel free to give me a critical analysis of "MY" interpretation of Hip Hop.


    'Our Means'

    Anyway neccessary
    This is our means
    We came over as slaves
    But now we're praised as Kings
    Got the American Dream
    Got the glow and the gleam
    As galantly as it seems
    This is our means


    I think it's pathetic
    Just how much you're indebted
    How you gon' steal from me
    Without repercussion expected
    Now my percussion is hitten back
    In my ride sittin back
    Ridin' through your neighborhood
    Shaken your home, bass got you fearin' black
    Television or prison
    There's no where you're safe at
    My race is taken it's rightful place
    I know that you hate that
    At first you stole all our culture
    Then hung us out to dry
    But you won't get ____ from this generation
    So don't even try
    Cause we created a style
    That you can't comprehend
    Makin' amends bout to transcend
    So ____ you and CNN
    I could care less if you think I'm violent
    This is the violence that you bred
    Roosters comin' home to hatch
    Off the backs of my ancestors
    That's why the star spangled red


    Anyway neccessary
    This is our means
    We came over as slaves
    But now we're praised as Kings
    Got the American Dream
    Got the glow and the gleam
    As galantly as it seems
    This is our means


    Back then we was taken yo' lash
    Now we taken yo' cash
    By the dawns early light
    Won't be nothin' left but yo ash
    Tried to creat your own mix
    When you needed a fix federally
    Used and abused our women
    Treated em' like a _____ literally
    Now your litters flaunt it in your face
    Won't admit you wish you could have a taste
    Instead you turn up yo nose
    Pretendin' your smellin' waste
    But they the sexiest creatures
    You try to manufacture their features
    By puttin' fat in your lips
    Now you want to show your glutes and hips
    It's a trip how things changed
    We go from being estranged
    We came over in chains
    Now we holdin' the reins
    To what's hip and what's not
    We make all your children hop
    By shootin' beats and rhymes at they feet
    They try to dance till they drop


    Anyway neccessary
    This is our means
    We came over as slaves
    But now we're praised as Kings
    Got the American Dream
    Got the glow and the gleam
    As galantly as it seems
    This is our means


    Consider this revolution
    As a just retribution
    For your sins against humanity
    And your unjust executions
    Guilty of the guillotine
    That you put on our fallace
    You damn right there is mallace
    Now we abatin' your pallace
    Sniffed out your cowardess
    And boastin our prowess
    So deal with watchin your supremacy tumble
    Watch the kings make you humble
    If you didn't want your empire to crumble
    Shouldn't brought the lion out of the Safari
    And the tiger out of the jungle


    Anyway neccessary
    This is our means
    We came over as slaves
    But now we're praised as Kings
    Got the American Dream
    Got the glow and the gleam
    As galantly as it seems
    This is our means
    For Herustar,
    How do you read Romans 14 in light of this conversation:

    12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
    13 Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.
    14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
    15 If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
    16 So do not let your good be spoken of as evil.
    17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
    18 The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval.
    19. Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
    20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat;
    21 it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble.
    22 The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God.
    quote:
    Originally posted by HeruStar:
    oh... and "infinite regress"

    Hip hop is will become progress when we stop being misunderstood.


    When their are artists like Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, and even old school artists like KRS-1...

    What is being misunderstood? Hip-hop has turned into a mistrel show, run by the corporations, employing those who sold out the artform(the rappers), giving the youth the wrong image to immitate, while entertaining the white kids.

    Most Hip-Hop has turned into blaxploitation. Period. The part that hasn't isn't commercially viable.

    And I'm a former Hip-hop head.
    Blaxploitation... minstrel show?

    You've got to give your peers more credit than that. Do you feel that the we are that dense, that we wouldn't be able to detect if we were being exploited? We entertain ourselves first; our entertainment is energetic and magnetic.
    quote:
    Originally posted by HeruStar:
    Blaxploitation... minstrel show?

    You've got to give your peers more credit than that. Do you feel that the we are that dense, that we wouldn't be able to detect if we were being exploited? We entertain ourselves first; our entertainment is energetic and magnetic.


    If you don't see the minstrelsy then at the very least you are definately that dense. About the Blaxploitation...you are right. Blaxploitation isn't as bad as some of these mindless music videos.

    I give my peers THAT DON"T SELL OUT OUR PEOPLE AND OUR STRUGGLE major credit. Not those helping to imternationalize the the image of African males born in Amerikkka as oversexed fools that throw away all their money on diamonds stolen from Africa and cars.

    Jesus star....How spiritual is any of this stuff? I thought you were practicing a "higher" form of spirituality than the rest of us? How can you defend this stuff that manifests our "lower animal nature"?...lol
    In my opinion the problem is not the fake gangsta wannabees or the talentless thug-mugs.

    There has always been gangsta and hard-core sides to hip-hop.

    It's just that now only the negative gets any face time.

    Why?

    The same reason i like the Sopranoes, I get a graphic look into the life of an Italian mobster. I get to see the violence, the sex, the depravity of these people that i will most likely never come in contact with. Just like the white middle class teenager gets to see the gansta pimp negro in all his depravity.

    The Hip Hip that is promoted is not promoted for the entertainment of black people. It's promoted for the entertainment and voyeurism of middle and upper class white people.

    Even though music that is the OPPOSITE of this is still made to promote it would mean empowering the people you are exploiting.

    One way this can be stopped is if cats stop creating bullshit businesses like "thug-juice" and Smurf-daddy's "bling rims" and start owning radio stations, everybody got a damn record label but no one is a distributer. Or if the cats that cater to the lowest common denominater to get paid start making uplifing music once the've made their fortune.

    Another way this can be stopped is if we the people who's lives are affected by this "culture control" stand up and demand a fair and balanced representation of our culture.

    And by the way I love hard core music, just like i love conscious music, but being over 30 I grew up hearing both sides of the coin, these kids aren't hearing anything but the ass end of the mule. They don't know that their is more to it than what 106 and park expose them to.

    For those of you of the previous generation who want to help expose kids to better music why not buy some conscious Cd's and give them to the thugs on the block (or the teenagers in your family?).

    For my radio station I made a mix cd of conscious hip hop and gave copies to the bootleggers and asked them to them away to people for free.

    I posted a link here awhile ago to a form you could send the fcc to complain about the music you hear on your local station (the link is no longer active but all you have to do is google fcc complaint form). Take a stand, stop complaining about it and do something.

    www.saywordradio.com

    Add Reply

    ×
    ×
    ×
    ×