hi, very interesting thread and the first serious discussion I've come across about hip-hop... suprising, with hip-hop creating such a monumental global impact on music, fashion, attitude and identity.
I've been rading 'Where You're At: Notes from the frontline of a hip hop planet' by Patrick Neate... a UK publication/author with the attitude "It's ain't where you're from, it's where you're at".
I'm finding it a gret read... The book is one fan's quest to track down the true heartbeat of hip-hop... from NY roots > JBurg > Tokyo > Rio with some great history bytes thrown in. It looks at race + identity and commercial vs. grass roots conscious hip-hop. Worth a peek Smile
I had been wondering if there were many hiphop artists on this site... this post answers that question, lol.
I am always (more) interested in listening to 'indie' bands and musicians so some URLs would be great.
quote:
Originally posted by www.neo-kem.com:
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


tfro tfro tfro
quote:
Originally posted by HeruStar:
I defend it because the studio booth isn't a pulpit.


That's arguable...look at the followers.

quote:
I defend it because these are my people, from my circle.


That is the very reason I don't defend this mindless crap. Out of love for our people, especially the younger generation . JUST because an African/Black person does it doesn't make it defensable...especially if it is detrimental to the well-being of our people. Condasleeza and all other sell-outs of different types catch fire too.

quote:
I defend it because I can relate to their struggle, I haven't distanced myself that far from their/our reality.


I hope you aren't insinuating someone is "distanced" from the every day reality of our "struggle" because they don't defend gangsta/pimp/bling/bling BS? Come on Jesus Star, you can do better than that!

Our people's struggle is WAY deeper that the crap that Bad Entertainment Television and MTV pump into the brains of the youth. That's the whole problem! They aren't dealing with our struggle whatsoever.
Styles and Pharaoah

My life is all I have
My rhymes my pin my pad
And I done made it through the struggle don't judge me
What you say now
Won't budge me
Cause where I come from
So often
People you grew up with are layin in a coffin
And I don' made it through the pain and strife
It's my time now my rhymes my life my LIFE!
The hip-hop phenomena is such an interesting and important topic.

I've really enjoyed reading this post in fact I printed it out... all 27 A4 pages of it LOL !!
It's taken me some to read it in detail and although I am not a hip-hop 'head' there are a few comments I'd like to respond to (plus I have a few questions)... as a lover of music for its dialog, power, and potential for creative expression and change. I've also always been interested in the evolution of 'conscious' vs mainstream 'manufactured' music...

Due to my current work/life schedule that won't be for a day or so, so I hope your energies keep flowing through this thread - I'm keen to hear more!
I'll say right up front that I am probably the least 'qualified' person on this board to discuss hip hop - but I am interested in people and what they have to say. For that reason, my choice in music is usually lyrics-driven. So that's where I'm 'coming from'. Hip hop has lots to say... some of it profound, some of it crap.... like most music and most people, conscious or otherwise.
Apologies in advance if this becomes a rant, but I wanted keep this thread going and respond to what has been excellent reading so far. I've paraphrased dipped into Patrick Neate's book (author of Where You're At...) because he raises some interesting concepts and questions. I've also thrown in my own questions and concerns along the way. I guess I should also fess up that I'm in the 40+ age group. Not sure if that qualifies me as a granny or a great granny, lol? Smile

Has hip hop been hijacked by the mainstream "culture"? Undoubtedly!

Should hip hop be held accountable?
Does hip hop currently honour it's tradition (or legacy) as a conscious political voice? Why should it?
It hip hop local or global or 'glocal'?

The only absolute is that it's a hip hop planet!
Hip hop is undoubtedly African American in origin. However, if a group of kids thousands of miles from each other geographically, mentally and ethnically have nothing in common, except hip hop... is that such a bad thing?

To some people hip hop is just about adopting a sense of 'cool'. While that may smack of style without substance, in a country such as Japan - a society built on qualifications and conformity - choosing to dress a certain way might not be a form of social debate, but it's a start.

Hip hop has enormous "cultural capital". It this cultural capital that has been hijacked by companies and needs to be reclaimed. I quote: "Companies send 'cool hunters' to the basketball courts of Brooklyn and the Bronx in search of the latest 'black cool'." As Patrick N poignantly points out, "..the players on those courts have more cultural capital than anybody on earth... and less power than anybody on earth".

While some argue that the triumphs of the civil rights movement have actually seen a slip back to the negative stereotypes of an earlier era. Some people argue that hip hop plays a lead role in the promotion of these caricatures. But what is hip hop?
What is good music?
Is hip hop about representing yourself - keeping it real?
Art... or social commentary?

The global reach and form of hip hop does lead people to seek out more information.
Undeniably hip hop has become a brand signifier, but it also is/has a living, breathing underground culture, producing obscure records from one-man/woman independent labels and give a local voice and identity to countless 'conscious' hip hop heads. And unlike other music forms of the past technology has given hip hop the tools to create and transform music and identity and to travel around the globe via the internet. Independent artists are now empowered to have their own website and distribute their music and their voice via audio downloads. To think that hip hop has reached it's full potential is naive to say the least.

A person's musical and cultural 'diet' is only ever diverse IF they choose to seek it out. And now that is easier than it ever was.

Interestingly, in his travels to seek out hip hop around the globe, Neate notes..."In New York (he found) mainstream and hip hop culture frequently indistinguishable" and "depressing"... "as hip hop seemed only to further alienate the very people who once used the form to express their alienation". But in Africa he found the opposite, rhetoric about the potential of hip hop and "the scent of possibility".
It's interesting also to read in Neate's dialog with local youth in South Africa's Cape Town Flats that, in the last hard days of apartheid... "to be honest, we couldn't understand what these American rappers were talking about, being black and conscious and African. They were over there so what did they know about Africa?"
But the upside was it made them curious enough to find out what was happening. "When NWA put of the track 'F--k the police' we could immediately identify with that because we were going through the same thing..."

There is discussion of positive vs. negative hip hop and how to build a hip hop culture in Africa. Similarly to African Americans, they are asking "Are record labels in the USA destroying the diversity, ideals and objectives of hi hop?"
That says to me that globally, as well as locally, there is serious dialog about hip hop as positive or negative.

What about any form of music as positive or negative, socially responsible or manufactured pop?
Perhaps the main difference of true hip hop as a musical style (whatever the message) is it is driven by the DOING rather than just the consumption. In any art form the 'authenticity' of the message is ultimately driven by the individual performing it. Any artist's 'identity' that relies solely of the credentials of a "Fuck you, I'm king' mentality is hollow whatever form of artistic expression it is. And hip hop certainly doesn't have a monopoly on that!

I believe today's hip hop should have some knowledge and understanding of 'what went before' but only on level.
Hip hop is about flexibility (not always a quality found in the over 40's) which is why it is such a successful medium. Not everyone will listen to the lyrics whether they are conscious or meaningless. People digest music on different levels. It has always been the case that the most popular and commercially successful holds little in the way of social consciousness... but there are always the minority of consumers who do 'get it' and will take the time to track down and appreciate music that has both musical integrity and/or a message of value or identity.

I also firmly believe that this generation has the right to say what they have to say the way they want to say it.

Today's music belongs to the generation creating it - nobody else. To me it's more important to concentrate on the possibilities of hip hop (and quality music in general) - the potential to use existing and build new networks than can support political and social 'struggles' and to tell 'local' stories globally.

I haven't yet touched on personal responses in this thread - I think I'll give you a break and save that for the my next post.

I'll close by paraphrasing Patrick Neate.. "we are coming to these things (issues) from very different angles. At least though, hip hop has given us the context in which to have the conversations".
Jump Back To Step Forward

Hello all. After my last post, I left my computer area with a sore throat. I felt like I was screaming in an empty room, which I was, so I opened the door and walked out. I've had my breath of fresh air, ever watching the new posts. I must say heru has been holding it down! Much respect.

I'm particularly interested in talking about questions and answers, which is what "neo-kem.com" and "art_gurl" have been doing in their posts.

I appreciate neo-kem.com for the following post:

quote:
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.


Every time he gives out a CD or I do a black website, or Ebony talks to her grandkids about hip hop, or art_gurl reads Patrick Neate and shares his book, we as a people are communally finding positive ways to reclaim our music and our culture for our children. Communities don't just magically rally together to affect change. More often than not, it is one person that sparks in many the desire for revolution. Thus far we have talked a lot, also shared a lot; lyrics, books, websites, and our thoughts. Continue to do so.

Much respect art_gurl for sharing your thoughts as well as your age. This forum needs diversity, as well as individuals outside the current generation to acknowledge hip-hop's contributions as well as its faults. You made great points in your post, about how hip hop has made global impact and how any form of music can be viewed as positive or negative, socially responsible or manufactured pop.

Sometimes I feel like hip hop becomes the scapegoat for all things negative in the music industry. In spite of the fact that across the board there is an over use of drugs, sex, and materialism. Unfortunately, in the case of hip hop we also see the street violence, which the music simultaneously exposes and perpetuates bringing it to the forefront of media attention. I hate the ghetto mentality perpetuated by many contemporary rappers, but more than that I hate the society that created it. To me their anger, an extension of their peers in the streets, is equivalent to African rebels who kill, rape, and destroy the lives of their own people every day. How can they do this, you ask (partially disheartened, but predominantly disgusted)? In my opinion, when black kids in the hood or a hut grow up seeing friends killed, and parent's poverty stricken, their emotions die. They undergo a degree of trauma that makes them unable to value their own life, let alone someone else's. So many of these kids are living with dead hearts because of bad politics, yet cats get hung up on the music?

The music is a product of the society that birthed it and bastardizing it on a regular basis. But the emotion behind the music, the style, and its powerful presence, these are our tools as individual leaders. Use them to relate to the youth. We can do more than talk about the latest rapper in jail, or the least dressed video girl. We can show how hard it is for all of us striving towards better, to leave the mentality and chaos of the hood. We can share the accomplishments of the hip hop generation that goes unheard; political, global, community outreach and all. We can expose them to the world outside of hip-hop. We can bring new life to dead hearts.

More questions, more answers. More.

LHenry
Urban Dynamics | Search Urban
Hey blackoutloud thanks for your positive response to my post.
I have always found music a true joy and an important part of my life. Music and colour...two things I could never live without!

I don't have the answers, but I'd like to respond to both the original post and it's responses.

The bling-bling videos do piss me off to the max. Particularly from a female perspective. But these are typical music industry stereotypical images – a cultural variation of the white music industry's obsession with flogging sex instead of quality content.

But you've also got to ask who are the women in the clips? Maybe they see themselves as being clever, in control, fattening up their bank accounts.... what? All they really are, are props. Male props. I doubt there are many women in authority in the music industry in any culture.

I'd love to hear from some more women on this topic??

To quote on the comment ˜where are the videos showing hip-hop artist doing good in the community?' Well I agree on that, but I guess the bigger question is where are the young filmmakers and camera men/women to make them? I see digital video technology and it's pricing down to meet consumer demand making filmmaking on a grass roots level more achievable and accessible.

But you've got to have an audience to watch it. One thing I have learnt in life is that if you wait for someone to do it for you, you may wait forever. If you make a start, then someone usually pitches in and helps. I'm an ideas person and I don't know why someone can't film some of these aspirational and inspirational mini-docs and show them in schools, along with the guest artist making an appearance. If you're got an idea and a plan it can happen. I guess what I'm saying is, why do it yourself – check out some film-students, find a marketing angle and see what you can get started.

Hip-hop's positive power is about delivering a message, but it also provides exciting opportunities for self-reflection and personal ethics. What if there is no single standard ˜ethics' road map suits every situation and every person?

Beside the irony that middle class white kids are large consumers of hip hop – what are the issues and/or opportunities here? If hip-hop lyrics were written to take-the-piss out of that very fact... what would happen? Agreed it t could be a good laugh! But if those white kids stopped buying the hip-hop what would happen? I'm not asking a rhetorical question, I'm just suggesting thinking about these issues in a more abstract way.

To the current generation hip-hop heads, tired of the ear bashing, I say ˜it all has to start somewhere'. To the older generation doing the ear-bashing – give them a hand – you have the knowledge, the networks and maybe the connections.

WORK TOGETHER! But each side has to put aside the personal politics in the rhetoric. However, personal politics do belong in the lyrics. So... can there ever truly be a singular hip-hop manifesto?

In response to the comment "I would seriously like to know the mindset behind who this generation desires to follow and why?'" I'd like to hear that too – is there one common voice? – is this part of the discussion at the hip-hop conventions? Is it a valid question? Not every young person thinks the same way or has the same values. Neither does every person from the preceding generation. I hate to count the number of over 30's I've met whose musical diet never progressed past the 1970's. That is not an indication that music produced post-70's was inferior, more an indication of a comfort-zone mindset not open to taking in new information!

A pertinent point was made by ...... ˜... the fact remains than 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'. Sadly, talking doesn't always mean communicating. Communication means talking and listening – interaction. Not diatribe or monologue about ˜it was better in our day, blah blah...' OK? Maybe it was... who can say for sure.... today it's just different. And communication and conflict resolution I believe are the two most immediate issues that need working on and discussion. America invented marketing and it has become as invasive as a virus. Hip-hop is equally mobilized – it's various message/s can have real power.

But real power comes from finding one's own voice – and maybe everyone has something different to say? What I would see as a positive thing is more localized lyrical content and flava, not be a generic sound. Smaller, individual stories getting heard. It's great to hear imported hip hop from ˜the source' whether it's east coast or west coast USA, but it's laughable and sad to hear live hip-hop in Sydney with lyrics about San Francisco! It is rare to hear indigenous hip-hop here. It does exist, but it needs to heard alongside it's American cousin not replaced by it.

I guess that comes sense of pride in your own community, whatever it's circumstance. A pride in the spirit of oneself, one's inner circle and pride in speaking your mind about local issues.

Hopefully all those ˜small' stories build a bigger picture that can unite people's energies and creativity. Hip-hop (and it's pioneers) have given this generation the power to unite. Some people will find direction and inspiration, others won't ever see past the hype. In the end it does come down to human nature. Working together you can support the positive and maybe use hip-hop itself to ridicule the negative ????
Yeshua Star, You may want to cop some Dead Prez CDs for some REAL sh...

(It's Bigger Than) Hip Hop.

Uh, one thing 'bout music, when it hit you feel no pain
White folks say it controls your brain
I know better than that, that's game and we ready for that
Two soldiers head of the pack, matter of fact who got the gat?
And where my army at?
Rather attack and not react
Back the beats, it don't reflect on how many records get sold
On sex, drugs, and rock and roll, whether your project's put on hold
In the real world, these just people with ideas
They just like me and you when the smoke and camera disappear
Again the real world (world), it's bigger than all these fake ass records
When poor folks got the millions and my woman's disrespected

If you check 1,2, my word of advice to you is just relax
Just do what you got to do, if that don't work then kick the facts
If you a fighter, rider, ? bout'er? , flame ignitor, crowd exciter
Or you wanna just get high, then just say it
But then if you a liar-liar, pants on fire, wolf-cry agent with a wire
I'm gonna know it when I play it


...

Uh, who shot biggie smalls?
If we don't get them, they gonna get us all
I'm down for runnin' up on them crackers in they city hall
We ride for y'all, all my dogs stay real
Nigga don't think these record deals gonna feed your seeds
And pay your bills because they not
Mc's get a little bit of love and think they hot
Talkin' bout how much money they got, all y'all records sound the same
I'm sick of that fake thug, r & b, rap scenario all day on the radio
Same scenes in the video, monotonous material,
y'all don't here me though
These record labels slang our tapes like dope
You can be next in line, and signed, and still be writing rhymes and broke
You would rather have a lexus, some justice, a dream or some substance?
A beamer, a necklace or freedom?

Still a nigga like me don't playa' hate, I just stay awake
This real hip hop, and it don't stop until we get the po-po off the block
They call it....
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
art_gurl ...

You are quite the optimist, aren't you? Smile

LOL! Ultimately, I do believe in the power of music and art to transform the soul and the spirit by opening people's ears and hearts. Even if it's just one at a time.
Sometimes it takes reflection on the negative, to ignite the positive. Smile
Hi... me again.
I noticed these rather interesting titles on amazon.com a bit out of my budget etc but if anyone has read them... could be interesting to hear what you have to say about either the books or their authors. Smile

Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America -- by Bakari Kitwana;

The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture -- by Bakari Kitwana

That's the Joint! The Hip-Hop Studies Reader -- by Murray Forman (Editor), Mark Anthony Neal (Editor);

The Rap on Gangsta Rap: Who Run It? : Gangsta Rap and Visions of Black Violence -- by Bakari Kitwana;

Can't Stop Won't Stop : A History of the Hip Hop Generation by Jeff Chang, D.J. Kool Herc (Introduction)

Turning rhymes into votes: political power and the hip-hop generation.(Music)(Bakari Kitwana) : An article from: Sojourners [HTML] by Kate Bowman (Digital - June 1, 2004)

see ya
art_gurl
quote:
The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture -- by Bakari Kitwana


I read this book in particular, its a great read! I didn't know he wrote so much on the topic though, thanks for the insight. Next paycheck, I've got a few new things to buy Smile
quote:
Originally posted by art_gurl:
To quote on the comment ˜where are the videos showing hip-hop artist doing good in the community?' Well I agree on that, but I guess the bigger question is where are the young filmmakers and camera men/women to make them? I see digital video technology and it's pricing down to meet consumer demand making filmmaking on a grass roots level more achievable and accessible.

But you've got to have an audience to watch it. One thing I have learnt in life is that if you wait for someone to do it for you, you may wait forever. If you make a start, then someone usually pitches in and helps. I'm an ideas person and I don't know why someone can't film some of these aspirational and inspirational mini-docs and show them in schools, along with the guest artist making an appearance. If you're got an idea and a plan it can happen. I guess what I'm saying is, why do it yourself – check out some film-students, find a marketing angle and see what you can get started.

There are a few things that are already started as far as black films and documentaries. I wanted to post a response here, but as always I had far too much to say (what a mouth I have) so I made it its on post: Black Film Today

LHenry
Each One Teach One
Urban Dynamics | Search Urban
art_gurl post:
quote:
The bling-bling videos do piss me off to the max. Particularly from a female perspective. But these are typical music industry stereotypical images – a cultural variation of the white music industry's obsession with flogging sex instead of quality content.

But you've also got to ask who are the women in the clips? Maybe they see themselves as being clever, in control, fattening up their bank accounts.... what? All they really are, are props. Male props. I doubt there are many women in authority in the music industry in any culture.

I'd love to hear from some more women on this topic??


Again, I've got far too much to say as this is another Big topic, and I don't want it to shift the discussion of this particular post, so I started it in another one. Video Hunnies or Video Hos:Let's Talk about Black Women, Hip-Hop Culture, and Self-esteem. Art_gurl your topics have had me putting pen to paper all day Smile
hey blackoutloud... I look forward to reading up your other stuff! Great to get some female perspectives....great to have the dialog... Right now, it's Friday night, I just got home, and I'm heading out to hear 'local' Endorphin play live (not hiphop but reaaaaaaaaaally good dance music) I'm working all weekend so Monday is my 'Saturday'... I'll get back ta ya then! Smile

Just have to make a quick comment on these Dead Prez lyrics... (sadly not in HTML!!)

Again the real world (world), it's bigger than all these fake ass records
When poor folks got the millions and my woman's disrespected
If you check 1,2, my word of advice to you is just relax
Just do what you got to do, if that don't work then kick the facts
If you a fighter, rider, ? bout'er? , flame ignitor, crowd exciter
Or you wanna just get high, then just say it
But then if you a liar-liar, pants on fire, wolf-cry agent with a wire
I'm gonna know it when I play it

I love it!! tfro

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