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'Gangsta Rap': A Favorite Tool of White Supremacy

The Imus imbroglio has provided the platform for a much needed conversation about Hip Hop. It's pretty easy to see what's coming though: yet another opportunity to bash black youth and culture. White folks, stung by the public criticism of one of their own, have clearly jumped on this bandwagon. Even a number of African Americans are starting to reflect on this issue and are looking at this in only the most superficial of ways.

In consideration of this, we should be clear that Gangsta Rap is not a natural, organic evolution of the rap music that started in the 1980's. As clear as day, it is a fabricated manifestation of a corporate America that will sacrifice anything - our culture, our youth, and our future - for the almighty buck! By putting all of their money behind signing only one kind of act, and marketing only this particular aspect of our culture, white record executives with no intimacy or interest in our community have, effectively, defined the overriding culture that defines our youth today. To be clear, Gangsta Rap is not about art, or about an honest expression of our culture. Gangsta Rap is about exploitation. It's about exploiting African American culture. It's about exploiting African American artists. It results in the sacrifice of a generation of our youth who have bought into the mellifluous but narcotic and necrotic messages that do us harm.

If I were a strategist working for White Supremacy Inc. (WSI) and looking to control, subjugate, and exploit a people that I could no longer wantonly put in chains and literally control as in the times of slavery - then what would I do? I'd endeavor to control their minds. I'd initiate all manner of psychological tactics to influence their behavior and to warp their perception of themselves and their future to suit my purposes.

Folks - the marketing of rap music is the PERFECT case study for how this is actually happening. First and foremost, it is profitable for white folks. They get us to clown each other - to glorify anti-social and self-defeating behaviors and they actually make billions of dollars doing so! Gangsta Rap can be considered a wonderful tool of white supremacy because:

1) Gangsta Rap causes black people to act in ways that directly cause our own social and economic retardation. It glorifies those things that will harm us - "thug life", drugs, violence, sexism, homophobia, incarceration, sexual impropriety, etc., while denigrating positive attributes that will uplift us like academics, respect, discipline, family focus, professional aspirations etc.

2) Gangsta Rap reinforces white stereotypes about black people. It spews language and images that allow white people to continue to think of themselves as superior, while clearly positioning black people as inferior. It preserves the exotic/raw/edgy aspects of blackness that white people want to consume, while vigorously protecting their sense of racial and cultural hegemony.

3) Gangsta Rap supports the over-all economic system that drives American society - which is capitalism. It makes white folks LOTS of money. From the WSI perspective, that white folks have gotten blacks to pay them to harm themselves is the ultimate bonus of this whole thing.

Gangsta Rap is great for white America! That African America is complicit in executing this plan is a tragedy of epic proportions. It has madeWSI untold riches. It has contributed to African Americans denigrating each other in new and increasingly injurious ways. It has caused us to embrace illegal behaviors that mute the arc of our achievement. It puts us in jail. It gets us shot and killed by each other and by law enforcement. It pushes drugs on us that further retards our ability to do anything about our condition. It exacerbates class differences within African America further dividing our community. It honors a particularly virulent strain of sexism that attacks our women in profoundly damaging ways - even negatively influencing how we think about creating and nurturing families.

We've got to see this for what it is. We've got to seize control of our culture and our music and direct it toward OUR uplift! We're being punked in the most profound way and we are an active part of it. It's not a coincidence that 'bling' is such a component of this effort. Aside from the consumerism aspect of this, critical to 'selling' this music is establishing authenticity within our culture. If African America calls bullshit on rap music, the sales from suburbia dry up the next day. Showing artists in their extravagant homes, with their ˜over the top' cars, and with their grotesque jewelry is all about trying to lure the brotha on the street to aspire to that lifestyle - thereby establishing the critical authenticity and credibility to perpetuate the ruse.

Thoughtful criticism about hip hop shouldn't be about any one individual, but about a system that is designed to keep its boot on our neck. I have no doubt that those who have been exploited, but who have made their living from Gangsta Rap, could shift their creative energies and be just as successful with other styles of music - if only given the financial and cultural incentives to do so. African America needs to offer firm but affectionate direction to our people in the rap game that gangsta will no longer be permitted. We need to generate strategic and effective activism to tell corporate America that we will no longer allow our culture to be misappropriated for anyone's benefit but our own.

It's really clear to me. This is what we need to be talking about!

© MBM

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Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by ddouble:

Why do we insist on raising hip-hop to a status higher than simple entertainment?


Uh, because it defines the culture of our youth. Because it reinforces anti-social and counter-productive behaviors that negatively impact a generation (or more) of our young people. Because it is an artificial tool of our enslavement. Because it's not just "simple entertainment".

Take your pick. 15
I'm having a hard time with your equation:

Hip-Hop = African American youth culture

I think we agree that hip-hop is an over-emphasized part of our youth culture.

I also know we have not hashed this issue out:

One of the worst things you can do in hip hop is not Keep it Real, i.e. be fake. There is also the notion of street credibility, again a reference to being authentic.

Many non-African American folk think they are getting a peek into African America via hip-hop. Consequently, they buy the artists they are told by major companies are "keeping it real" (most authentic & believable).

Our youth show big corporations the trends and corporations rush to ride the wave while a style is in. Why not change the minds of the youth, (tastemakers) as they influence what is marketed to the masses. If the youth declare gangster rap fake, then the street credibility of those artists is gone. No amount of marketing can counter an artist or style being considered played or wack.

Wack = No Record Sales
quote:
Originally posted by ddouble:

One of the worst things you can do in hip hop is not Keep it Real, i.e. be fake. There is also the notion of street credibility, again a reference to being authentic.


It is the supreme irony that hard core rap is anything BUT real that makes this whole notion (keepin' it real) so hilarious. It may have started out as a real reflection of the frustrations of some of our youth, BUT corporate America throwing just about ALL of its money behind this (at the time) small aspect of the culture is what spawned the current over-saturation and over dramatization around the stuff.

quote:
Our youth show big corporations the trends and corporations rush to ride the wave while a style is in.


I believe it is much more that our youth create the trends that corporate America rushes in to exploit. In doing so - our culture and artists get pimped - white folks get rich - and those running the business push the business in whatever direction they think will make them the most money. To be clear - this has much less to do with where artists are organically evolving and almost everything to do with what some white guys in a conference room think will sell to their primary consumers - which you should remember are white kids in suburbia.

The BUSINESS of rap is not about sharing a music and a culture with the world, it's about white companies delivering what their white consumers want. That's it!

quote:
Why not change the minds of the youth, (tastemakers) as they influence what is marketed to the masses. If the youth declare gangster rap fake, then the street credibility of those artists is gone. No amount of marketing can counter an artist or style being considered played or wack.


If in 1980 I told you that I could turn rap music from a fun and playful genre about being the flyer DJ etc. into a genre that glorified violence, murder, drug use, criminal behavior, illicit sex, etc., etc., etc. - just about everything that could harm our community - you'd tell me that no amount of money could do that.

That's what happened my brother.
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fro gangsta rap music i.e. pimp mentality where prison type thugs define women as hoes, bitches and the "c" word, is a result of youth abandonment. Never before in the history of African American culture...where black children have been left to fend for themselves...to educate themselves.... to raise themselves.... [African Americans have always been the PARENTS to all children in this country.. they were the original caretakers of American children, including white folks kids...especially white folks kids].. until of course the white prison system discovered it can make more money off our children [than it did in slavery]... and make them the updated minstrel version of black entertainment. Fortunately for me... I come from good music...the old school...where men sing love to women in a lovely courtship of affection and beauty... good music that you can DANCE to....as a couple...as a group! Folks say about rap-I don't listen to the words...I listen to the beat...but look at the consequences of that! So I say to all brothas here....now is the time to show the younger generation of brothas what true manhood is in terms of respecting black women. And as always it starts with a song.... fro
All "gangster" rap music isn't bad or denigrating... sck

From "Somehow, Some Way" - Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Scarface:

Whether we dribble out this motherfucker
Rap metaphors and riddle out this motherfucker
Work second floors, hospital out this motherfucker
Some how we gotta get up out this motherfucker
Some day the cops will kill a motherfucker
I don't always want to be this drug dealing
Motherfucker damn
Wish I could take us all on this magic carpet ride
Through the sky I
Use to play the hall up fifth floor me and my boys we
All poor getting high I
seen the worst of the worst I deserve every blessing
I received I'm from the dirt
I planted my seed on unfertile land Myrtle Park
Marcy, Flushing and Nostrand and
Still I grew some how I knew the sun will shine through
And touch my soul take hold of my hand
Look man a tree grows in Brooklyn


The message is very similar to Marvin's Make Me Wanna Holler...

Black music has had popular racy & lewd artists performing since forever... time has moved the boundaries of what the FCC will allow on air.

The problem is a lack of balance right now.

IMO, if we write off the music young Black men are writing and producing, on some level, we write them off too. The assumption appears to be that they can never grow or change.

I refuse to believe they (and by proxy we) can't grow with nurturing & love.
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quote:
Originally posted by ddouble:

IMO, if we write off the music young Black men are writing and producing, on some level, we write them off too. The assumption appears to be that they can never grow or change.

I refuse to believe they (and by proxy we) can't grow with nurturing & love.


quote:
Originally posted by MBM:

Thoughtful criticism about hip hop shouldn't be about any one individual, but about a system that is designed to keep its boot on our neck. I have no doubt that those who have been exploited, but who have made their living from Gangsta Rap, could shift their creative energies and be just as successful with other styles of music - if only given the financial and cultural incentives to do so. African America needs to offer firm but affectionate direction to our people in the rap game that gangsta will no longer be permitted. We need to generate strategic and effective activism to tell corporate America that we will no longer allow our culture to be misappropriated for anyone's benefit but our own.
Although I view the sexist/racist comment of Imus as separate from the sexism in rap.....


Why is there ANY resistance whatsoever to the demand to stop objectifying sistas, thuggifying brothas, and druggifying all our youngsters????

Beats, Rhymes, and "realness" don't need ass jiggling, teef blinging, and weed smoking to be good music...
Peace.....

quote:
Why is there ANY resistance whatsoever to the demand to stop objectifying sistas, thuggifying brothas, and druggifying all our youngsters????

Beats, Rhymes, and "realness" don't need ass jiggling, teef blinging, and weed smoking to be good music...



The problem here is that censoring music would not be a solution, it would make matters worse. It would drive gangsta rap underground and it would imediately give street credebility to every rapper who dared to defy the "system". Remember Delores Tucker Vs. Tupac? Tupac became a political figure due to his stance against those who attacked gangsta rap, and it was for this very reason that his audience widened to whites...

Banning gangsta rap would be like puoring gas on it to douse the popularity.

You must not just snatch the lollipop out of the mouth of black youth, you have to show them something better and make them drop the sucker..Then while they are enjoying the other thing, you shelve gangsta rap away...

A competing rap form must be produced which is more appealing than gangsta rap. It can be done, but not in the same ole way...



Whirling Moat
I to believe that the "WSI"(I like that) would rather put hiphop out there with no substance more than ever and it's not a coincedence or by mistake. If you ask me, Hiphop was on the decline since the early to mid 1990's, but anyway.

There were some Gangsta Rap that I'm cool with for there was a time when Gangsta Rap would express the highs but then conclude with the lows of that lifestyle. Perhaps the WSI filtered out the 'lows'.

There were elements of conciousness in Gansta Rap once upon of time. ...Remember ICE-T's music back in the day. NWA before Ice-Cube left. Ice-Cube himself. ComptonsMostWanted and can't forget the Gheto Boys (before they broke up).

I aggree with ddouble in that there is no balance in rap music today resulting in Gangsta Rap becomming diluted and watered down (like pepsi that lost its fizz), where only the residue remains. And that Black music has "had popular racy & lewd artists" much earier in music's lineage. As a matter of fact many artist of the 1970's on down would say that they were saying the same thing, though a bit more 'coded', I must admit. "I be strokin! That's what I be doin, Hah!" -wasn't (to me) all that coded but yall get the jist. music

However, there is still a market for lyrical contented hiphop music. The fans who bought into it back then -are still here today and will buy the music if there were more of it and it got a legit amount of press. We bought it before, contributing to the success of rappers of yesteryear, so I don't believe that the record companies can not make money off of it -if that's what it's all about.

But there is something more at work going on here and I aggree with MBM's comment that there is an entity that endeavors to control the minds, initiate a manner of psychological tactics to the behavior and warp the perceptions of the self for future purposes.

To quote Mos Def, "Hiphop went from sellin' crack to smokin' it". I'm afraid what has happend to Jazz is happenning (if it hadn't already) to Hiphop. td6
I think one solution is for hip-hop artists to become a collective. Bill Rhoden talks about this as it relates to African American athletes in his book 40 Million Dollar Slaves. He notes that from an economic and media standpoint, there have never been so many young African Americans in positions of power & influence. Instead of every entertainer having their own charitable organization, imagine if they pooled all of their resources. Likewise, imagine if all the popular MCs pooled their money to create one record & distribution company that could compete with the traditional major labels. They could set their own agenda and present the images they feel comfortable with.

We need to encourage these young folk (our future) to step out of the status quo and let them know we will support them with our dollars for doing so. It's called positive reinforcement. All I see is a lot of folk kicking a dazed & confused person when they're already down. sad
ddouble,

I've been saying pretty much the same thing for years. In earlier discussions I've asked the question, how is it that you have so many rappers from the same block and sometimes even from the same apartment complex in a place like Brooklyn (NY) and these rappers don't own the whole block by now?

All these rappers making hundreds of thousand to millions of dollars and they haven't joined forces to 'lock down' all the commercial space right in their very dwellings. The same for rappers of Atlanta, Miami, L.A. etc. Not only is that economic might but that's political might.

Look in some of the major cities and you'll find China Town (NYC, PHI, CHI, SanFran, LA). Rappers can learn something from these folks. They could even learn from the gangters of early 20th century that they covet so much. How the mob took the money they made (illegally) and invested into something legally (zero emphasis with no intentions toward or on illegalities). Now folks are chillin hard from the establishments created from back then.

The blueprints are there for the taking. When are we gonna pick them up?
Questions:

When was the last time you bought a hip-hop album?

Honestly, would you start buying hip-hop on a regular, consistent basis (to make up for the loss in white sales, assuming they would not buy 'conscious' rap) if the message became more "meaningful"?


I think a lot of the people pontificating on "gangster" rap aren't consumers of hip-hop & wouldn't be, even if the message were different. If my assumption is correct, where's the incentive for changing the message?
I don't suggest we change the message, for I rally for balance.

As for buying hiphop albums their are a select few that I jump on whenever they decide to cut a record, so I can go from 18 months to 2yrs before buy 1 or 2 albums. Or until a new rapper comes through that I can get down with.

If the rap game today had nearly or as much depth as hiphop did from 1986 to 1993, I'd probably average 4-8 albums a year.
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor:
I don't suggest we change the message, for I rally for balance.

As for buying hiphop albums their are a select few that I jump on whenever they decide to cut a record, so I can go from 18 months to 2yrs before buy 1 or 2 albums. Or until a new rapper comes through that I can get down with.

If the rap game today had nearly or as much depth as hiphop did from 1986 to 1993, I'd probably average 4-8 albums a year.
yeah appl hat
I just finished watching the "Beef" documentary (not sure which should have the quotes Roll Eyes ) and it was kind of an eye-opener. G-rap is really nothing more than a business venture. Whites are the primary profiteers and consumers. The rappers make peanuts after they've paid for for all the recording time, advertising, etc. But, the black community worldwide is... better for it... or something. Roll Eyes
fro Same mentality when rhythm and blues came on the scene from the blues and jazz era. Massa made all the money and black entertainers got very little...black faces were not allowed to be on album covers of hit songs, blacks had to come through the kitchen in white clubs...plus white singers made BANK copying popular songs written and performed by black artists. [We all know this but] IT IS THE SAME THANG! DIFFERENT TIMES. SAME MONEY! In my view of course. This is an extension of massa's mentality and powerful hold on us many black folks are still in denial about. He'll make you think he's your best friend and got your back while stabbing you and robbing you blind-at the same time! Gangsta Rap is the dark side of Hip Hop....which is not uncommon for music....there is always a "flip" side to any positive genre...

Tool is a good word to depict what happens when black music attacks itself. Much like a "mad" dog...this is gangsta rap's image. And the massa will always be the massa [from past to present] as he keeps his "mad dogs" on leaches within reach of its own reflection-dripping with anger. Self-hate grows as the mad dog image growls against from where he derives. Very intersting how again, massa has a grand "massa" plan that continuously keeps his pockets full of money, status and power.....this all stems from maintaining deep control over the same people since slavery. Keeping the populus of this "phenomena" going. We are the only group of people to enrich another group of people's position in the world long term. Amazing. If we could turn that power toward ourselves.... music is that power. Have always been the power. It is our magic. But what do we do? fro

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