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"Hiphop as a whole is wack."

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"And to those of you who say I know nothing about Hiphop, if “Blurred Lines” is Hiphop, I don’t want to know anything about it. So let me officially go on record now and say that I hate Hiphop. There are certain artists who claim Hiphop that I dig, but Hiphop as a whole is wack. It’s a parasitic culture that preys on real musicians for its livelihood. I may not know anything about Hiphop, but I don’t have to. Without real artists and musicians like me, you’d have nothing to steal. I know enough about it all to know that."


Nicholas Payton in, "An Open Letter To Pharrell Williams (Blurred Lines Vol. 3)" where he castigates Pharrell over his unwillingness to knowledge that he stole Marvin Gaye's tune, ‘Got to Give It Up.’


Payton goes on to quote Robin Thicke:


“Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up.’ I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it.”





Now the Mashup



Read Payton's article he has the vocabulary to articulates what I find lacking in so called hip-hop music.

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Talk about whack. There's something inconsistent about decrying hip-hop while celebrating Marvin Gaye and complaining that an arrangement of his sounds like a record released by hip-hop producer, Pharell. If this is the case then Marvin Gaye is hip-hop.  Can't have it both ways when it comes to the comparison between "Got To Give It Up" and "Blurred Lines".  Bottom line is that the renditions by both Marvin Gaye and Robin Thicke  are actually R&B funk.    

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Cynique did you get a chance to read the article on Payton's Blog


Also "Hip-Hop," in this context, has been co-opted; becoming a meaningless marketing term like "R&B" which doesn't clearly describe musical genre.  So you can call the tune R&B and young person would call the same tune hip-hop.


The bottom line is so much of the so called "hip-hop" music is taken from music created by actual musicians--something we are all accustomed to at this point.  But the problem here is that Pharrell won't even acknowledge this fact.

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Yes, Troy, I read the article where Payton was expounding on musicology in order to discredit Pharell's reference to sheet music. I don't know that Payton's deconstruction served any purpose other than to bedazzle in order to belittle. To me, his rant was simply the outburst of a Pharell hater.
And I beg to differ that R&B doesn't describe a musical genre. R&B is urban contemporary music. R&B as well as Rap do have specific separate charts on the lists of Billboard Magazine, the bible of the music world. There is also a specific R&B category on the lists of the Grammy nominees, the oldest and most prestigious of all music awards . R&B is not the nonexistant designation you want to relegate it to.The vocals of Marvin Gaye and Robin Thick on the 2 songs in question are R&B in style. Apparently, Rapper T.I. was added to the mix to appeal to the hip hop crowd. So "Blutrred Lines" is really an appropriate phrase where this recording is concerned.
All musicians borrow from and are influenced and inspired by the style of other artists. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Altho the base lines and vocalizing on "Blurred Lines" are similar to "Got To Give it Up", the 2 songs are distinguisable from each another. Pharell is entitled to make this argument. If the estate of Marvin Gaye thinks it has such a viable case, then its lawyers should sue.
To me,. R&B is the sound of mainstream and old school soul music. Rap, by virtue of the fact that it is not mainstream, is the sound of the hip hop sect. Rap is not an extension of traditional music and it can exist independently of it. When Rap artists sample music on their spits, they are simply paying tribute to whomever's music they are sampling and the sampled artists do collect royalties for this.
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Well Cynqiue, sort of...


I'm not sure I'd use the Grammy Award categories (which I admittedly don't follow) as the benchmark for defining musical genres indeed they are part of the problem if you ask me.  I see the Grammy as part of the problem.  I also see that at a couple of white guys named, Ryan Lewis & Macklemore beat Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Drake for best Rap Album of the Year....hummm, OK.



Rap artists famously lifted beats from musicians without crediting, paying or acknowledging this fact (as I argue is true with Pharrell).  James Brown and George Clinton are single-handedly responsible for catapulting Rap to where is is today.  I doubt anyone would argue that they have been fairly compensated for this, no matter how much anyone thinks they should feel "flattered."  


I still think the terms R&B and Hip-Hop used to describe music is not clear at all.  Rap is more clear in that it contains spoken word.  Hip-hop music however does not have to have a rapper as it the case with Blurred Lines which apparently Pharrell considers hip-hop.   It seems to be anything made by a young Black "artist" is considered hip-hop.


Do you think Hip-Hop Music and R&B Music are mutually exclusive?  Is Blurred Lines, for example Hip-Hop, or R&B? 


Every one knows classical music, funk music, the Blues, country music sounds like when they hear it.  And sure music can be influenced from various genres and may be impossible to ascribe to a single one genre.


In my mind R&B is like the term "World Music,"  Which like R&B does not really mean anything.  In the world music case, it is just a marketing term to describe music not from America which does nothing to describe the nature of the actual music.



I admit I'm biased. I miss bands.  I miss singers.  I miss actual musician.  I miss performers.  I miss Marvin Gaye... and have zero interest in the Pharrells--even with the Happy Song.


Later this evening I will be going to see Gregory Porter and the Revive Big Band, for free, in Central Park.  Thank God there are still a few remaining alternatives


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First of all, as I previously noted, Rapper T.I. also performs on "Blurred Lines", something to be considered when saying the song rips off "Got To Get It On". Secondly, I'm not here to defend hip hop or rap. Just to explore the many facets of the music world. To me, everything that is hip hop is not rap, but everything that is rap is hip hop. Rap is a sound associated with the hip hop community. It's not a sound indigenous to R&B.  Sampling the music of artists like James Brown may enhance a rapping performance but it does not duplicate Brown's music.  And do Rappers in hoodies and t-shirts and low slung jeans and gym shoes and bald heads or dread locks, loping up and down the stage bear any resemblance to James Brown in a tuxedo with elaboratedly coiffed hair, and dazzling foot work????  James Brown was about the funk and soul.  Rappers are about the profane and profound. I personally think Rap is more akin to the frenzy of Be-Bop. 
I also don't see a problem with categorizing music. All types of songs make up the music spectrum. You, Troy, are apparently a fan of jazz fusion, which is in a class by itself. Then there are the black slow jam love ballads, which often have the cross over appeal that lands them under the adult contemporary banner. Variety calls for differentiation. Moreover, this is the era of branding. Music, for all it artistry, is still a commercial enterprise. BTW, if you miss singers it's because you are not checking out such vocalists as John Legend and Maxwell and Alicia Keyes and Rihanna and even Beyonce who all have melodious tunes in their repetoires.
Music is, of course, a universal language and race is not a factor when it comes to fans of a particular type of it. White people like rap and jazz and blues. Black people like pop, metal and C&W. But the genre is what it is. Just because a black person performs classical music does not change the genre of this music; just because a white guitarist sings and plays the blues does not change the fact that the music is blues. Or is anybody forced to listen to music they don't like or respect. There are choices for those who look for them.
  Finally, performers of whatever sound they represent become popular because they are good at what they do, their detractors be damned.
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Music for me is a matter of styles and attitudes than categories. Outkast are Rappers Hey Live is more Popular than Hip Hop. Hat Beck track wasn't blues it was pop. In my opinion. I have to admit when I heard a white guy singing the blues in a small restaurant. It sounded like an impersonation or parody. And up until a decade ago I wouldn't classify M&M as a rapper.

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In expressing your opinion, Delano, every statement you made refererred to a category. For clarification you had to use the genre of the music you were making comparisons to in order to make your point.  In referring to the white singer's bad performance, you had to identify what he was attempting to sing as the "blues"  and "blues" is a category of music.You used the terms  "pop" and "rap" which are also categories of music  Artist do the interpreting, but what they are interpreting is a genere of music which they may be converting into the style of another category of music.    All music is not the same. Certain things differentiate one type from another. How listeners perceive music is filtered through a criteria of what is classified as what. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a little "left field" of the subject but still relates to the state of hiphop today.......

I'm very disappointed with the state of hiphop also because I don't like how low quality and low class some of the artists are performing.
Hip hop used to be the envy of the world.

Black urban culture produced some of the best dressers, best dancers, and best rhymers and it was political.
Especially when it was on the East Coast with the strong Carribean influence.
Then it went West Coast and gangsta....but still decent.

But something happened when it went down South to places like New Orleans.
Instead of smooth rhymes and sharp dancing skills.....artists started talking like they had a mouth full of marbles. Mumbling and grumbling their lyrics.
Instead of snappy dressing, cats just started getting fat and sloppy wearing long white t-shirts and rocking back and forth on stage like apes.


No, no....seriously.

Look at the dance moves of earlier hiphop and then look at the monkey-crap so many of the artists started doing in the late 90s down in the rural areas.
They started talking funny, looking crazy, getting fat and ugly.
On stage slinging their arms and rocking back and forth with a grim growl while rapping....savage.

Instead of strong rhymnic beats....just simple bass sounds began to dominate the track.

It became rare for these southern rappers to even talk politics on their track and when they did...you couldn't figure out what the hell they were saying or where they stood.  I saw some artist (maybe Lil' Wayne but I'm not sure) with a damn Confederate Flag on this album talking about the South will rise again!!!

Artists getting tatoos all over thier bodies and wearing their hair messy...looking like clowns and savages instead of musicians.
People around the world couldn't related to that damn back-woods unsophisticated garbage.

This is not to diss all southern artists.....TLC, Arrested Development....they were excellent.
But the generation of clowns after them....((shakes head))..just sloppy.

Now the current generation are trying to move away from that country crap and are using thier creativity again...but for the late 90s and much of 2000-2010 hiphop was going straight down the toilet.

Black people are the most creative people on the planet.....WHEN we apply ourselves.
But when you get lazy and sloppy it just looks terrible.

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  • 2 months later...

I avoid these dialogues because I am Hip-Hop and I consider myself a person who grew up in the culture. I admire it and love it and defend it often, but doing so with people who I don't think really know Hip-Hop and couldn't talk to me about the variety of artists in the culture that have delivered line after line of beautiful lyrics and developed the turntable and sample into instruments of creativity, while also generating a form of dance that is now incorparated into classical dance, seems a little bit like a waste of my time. You guys aren't of the culture and you don't care for it, so anything I say will be battled back by your own perceptions which is what debate and discussion is.


So I won't go into a lot of detail here, just list out a few of my thoughts.

1. Blurred Lines isn't Hip-Hop. Just because there is rap in it, doesn't make it Hip-Hop

2. My favorite emcees are the GZA, Genius of Wu Tang, Nas, Pharoahe Monch, Common and Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey.

3. My favorite DJ is Premier and Ali Shaeed Muhammed

4. My favorite hip hop track of all time is Cell Therapy (I have others and this changes daily, lol)

5. The Roots are the most creative artists in Hip-Hop

6. Eminem is dope

7. Outkast has shown the maturation of Hip-Hop artists better than almost anyone in the culture outside of Nas (Life Is Good is Hip-Hop for the adult crowd)

8. Red Bull has done a lot to save B Boying (kind of absurd right... and Chinese people)

9. Pop Rap music has done more to damage the culture than anything invented

10. Hip-Hop is a culture that is still vital and as I and other grow older it takes on the values that we bring to it. However the culture is still in it's infancy and the first generation of Emcees and B Boys are now in their 60s. Hip Hop hasn't learned how to transition from youth to adulthood and that is what is concerning to me. 


Everything you guys have talked about above is basically opinion based like my post here is opinion based. But Troy, the artists who pulled from samples were paid. You can go back and look into a number of cases where bands like Funkadelic and even James Brown were paid royalties. I know this for a fact because I've seen guys like Jonah Ellis who wrote Yarbrough and Peoples hit "don't Stop the music" buy Mercedes with their royalty checks from Hip Hop samples. In other words that's not actually true. These artists also were taken on tour in some instances and featured in concerts reviving their careers specifically in the case of dr. Dre and George Clinton who actually was featured on Ice Cube's Bop Gun. Like I said though I have a deep knowledge of this culture. I've seen Justin Bua transition from being a B Boy to a respected artist instead of "just" a graffiti or street artist. I've seen Crazy Legs open dance studios and take Hip Hop all over the world.


Your whole point with Pharrell and this Blurred Lines thing is basically just another shot in the dark at the culture because you just don't like it. The thing is Hip Hop has opened more doors to a variety of cultures than any other musical artform created. If you don't think so, then consider the fact that people who love Hip-Hop are often the first ones to support and buy old Blue Note albums because of guys like Madlib who was given the complete Blue Note catalog as a DJ and producer from Hip-Hop. Consider Common bringing the Last Poets back to the forefront with The Corner. Consider Public Enemy actually performing with Metal band Anthrax in the 80s. Hip-Hop ability to utilize a variety of forms has enhanced culture. Even the Ailey Rep has incorporated elements into its performances and while people weren't watching Esperanza Spalding bridged classical, hip-hop, jazz and blues to garner a grammy. Hell even Nelly infiltrated Country Music.


What I am glad about is that at least you all are honest in saying you simply don't like it. I respect that... but to have a full blown conversation about the culture that you don't care for seems a bit weak especially when the conversation is based on Blurred Lines which as I said earlier isn't even Hip-Hop.


And for the record Blurred Lines is a piece of shite, lol.


When I think about Hip-Hop this is what is in my mind outside of emcees and deejays: 

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Chris your argument is reminiscent of an couple of others made here by people who disagreed with me on this subject.  There however is one fatal flaw that is always made.  The biggest of which is the assumption that I do not "know anything" about hip-hop.  You say you grew up in the culture.  But I would say that my upbringing in hip-hop trumps yours by a long shot.


Sure you may know the new cats better than me, but I don't really follow pop music, so I suspect you know more about new R&B performers too.


Also, I never wrote that I dislike hip-hop. Honestly I don't really know what hip-hop means anymore.  It is a dubious marketing terms that can apply to blurred lines depending upon who you are.  


Also it is not clear to me why you say what everyone else writes is opinion based.  I'm not the one saying George Clinton, for example, is not being paid the roylties he feels he is due, he was the one saying that: http://articles.latimes.com/2001/may/20/business/fi-241 


I'm 52 years old and was raised in Harlem.  I been to actual street parties and freaked to Grand Master Flash whose equipment was connected to a street light.  I've been to Kool Herc's Disco Fever.  I have been to Harlem World, Mister Souls and countless other clubs you never heard of where the culture you love so much was being formed.


To this day I see DJ Red Alert, Grandmaster Caz and other cats you've probably never seen live because they don't roll through your your neighborhood.  


I knew many b-boys that far better break dancers than Krazy Legs or anyone else in the Rock Steady Crew.  Because I was a gymnast and knew other gymnasts that performed internationally as break dancers.


I witnessed the transition of mixing incorporate scratching, and the rise of the DJ over bands then ultimately the MC over the DJ to the point where the the Bands are relatively meaning less. Which to me was tragic loss culturally.


Finally you like others in love with hip-hop cherry pick all the positive things and make believe hip-hop has never done, and is not doing, anything negative.  But that is fine.  I understand.  


I'm willing to acknowledge hip-hop has some positive aspects, but I can't ignore the negatives.


I guess at the end of the day the hip-hop I know, or at least willing to recognize, is very different than the one I know.   I'm not trying to convince you to change your mind because this is a religious argument, pointless.




In the James Brown documentary, Clyde Stubblefield, the drummer, who created the Funky Drummer beat which rap artists have sampled to death. (Even thinking about the beat brings a smile to my face).  Clyde said he "hated" that beat (comes in at the 5:35 mark and lasts less than 10 seconds)--I was floored.  I've seen Maceo Parker perform live, I've seen Fred Wesley perform as well.  These guys are accomplished musicians.  That fact is lost on most people.  The music they played for James was like playing chopsticks on a toy piano relative to their ability and skill.  Still James treated them poorly.



Now I was introduced to the Funky Drummer beat through hip-hip or rather B-boy music.  As bad as I thought that beat was, hearing that beat, and so many others in context was much more rewarding.  In other words I'd rather listen to the actual song than any rap song that sampled it.


Now that is a pretty basic beat, wanting to hearing musicians perform more complex rhythms is really what drew me away from hip-hop music.  That and the fowl language and lyrics that no longer resonated.


Eminem is good.  I can say that his first CD is the last Rap CD that I was excited about purchasing.  Sometime I listen to it and wonder why.  Although that rap with Dr. Dre still cracks me up:





Isn't fascinating how to people can agree about one subject so strongly and disagree about something else just as strongly?  



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The only thing you have on me in regard to Hip-Hop is that you were birth in the area and had direct access to it. That is something I simply can't replicate so by default, your experience is more vital, but not any more authentic or better than mines. You stated that you didn't like it in the original post and that you preferred Gregory Porter and other artists. I took that as your decision to not support the art form. Hence my analysis. I never said that Hip-Hop doesn't have any negatives, quite to the contrary I stated that it had failed to create a connection to the past that sustains and builds. I say that because as we both know, Hip Hop is just reaching it's maturity.


My birth in Hip-hop derived from listening to the Cold Crush Crew and Punk rock rap. Now this is in the south, in Memphis where Soul music dominated. The Bar Kays practiced in the gym that we used to play ball in. I went to church down the street from Stax and lived on a corner where American music was and where guys like Chips Moman established the Memphis sound. Now with that as my foundation, it was Hip Hop and Kool herc that caught my attention and changed my life. Just as you used a quote from George Clinton, I gave you an example of the man performing with the same people who sampled his music. He was paid for that. I also gave you Jonah Ellis as an example of how many of those artists were paid. Now when sampling started(became prominent) of course there were multiple problems with clearance and a lot of people weren't paid, but neither were the emcees. But this is a problem that exists in more formats than just Hip-Hop.


I respect that you were raised around the culture, but to state that it isn't positive is to choose the negative aspects and focus on that instead of looking towards the moments where the artform builds and unifies. Is the mainstream saturated with garbage? Of course it is, but if you are a purist then you can say the same thing for film, books and any artform. The problem is Hip-Hop is being tossed around as a label for a variety of things that shouldn't be labeled as such. 


We both agree on this. As far as old artists and emcees I'm more versed in the older artists but I'm equally as informed about the newer ones which is why I can say emphatically that the culture is still there beneath the surface and a lot of amazing work is being done. You aren't interested in the newer stuff which is why I continue to say that I can't really discuss this with you because if I say Ras Kass' "How To Kill God" and Big KRIT's "Cadillactica" are modern classics, you'll say "huh?" or you will look it up and say damn those are interesting which is really the point of this dialogue. 


I don't ignore the negatives, but when I see such a generalized topic (which i know is the foundation of discussion) "Hip Hop as a whole is wack" I have to respond. You knew this would happen and that's the sign of a good teacher. Trust me though DJ Red Alert, Marley Marl, Grandmaster Caz(s), Flash, all of the OGs, I'm well versed in and can speak about Sedgewick Ave and Cedar just as quick as I can speak about DJ Quik and his underground tapes, or Ball and MJG out of Memphis, and Scarface out of Texas as well as 2Live Crew out of Miami and Common and No ID from Chicago. I love the culture and study it so that I can speak about the positives because if I don't share and discuss the good, all there is the negative commentary that is out there. Is Young Thug wack, yep. Is 2 Chainz wack? Yep. Are the majority of the mainstream artists wack? Yep. But I love the idea that Savion Glover is Hip-Hop. I love the fact that In The Heights has elements of Hip-Hop. I love the fact that Bobbito Garcia and Stretch are hip hop and carry the culture all over the globe and it's positive. What I am always reaching for is an understanding that those elements of the culture are still here and being upheld by guys reaching back and putting Rakim and Big Daddy Kane or Slick Rick on tracks with Mos Def like in Auditorium. Hip is not wack and the fact that you fired back with such life altering experiences shows me you have a passion for the culture so I can understand your frustration with it. We probably both want it to be a lot more than it is, but we also want people to read more and care more. It's a tough thing to face.

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The Barkay's Holy Ghost once a big jam back in the day. I've visited Stax the last time I was in Memphis (I visited Graceland too).  I have an interest and curiosity in music in general.  Music is an important part of my life, as it is with a great many people.


So when an accomplished musician (which most hip-hop artists are not) like Payton says "Hip-Hop as a whole is wack," I listen.


I could immediately react by saying that he knows nothing about hip-hop, the way many self-proclaimed hip-hop headz would.  Instead I read what he wrote and tried to understand his perspective.  Because he absolutely knows more about music, and the business of music, than I do and he knows more about contemporary hip-hop as well.


You see Chris, I simply don't have a romanticized view of hip-hop the way you do.  I live in a community where hip-hop was strong.  Very few benefited.  Many of the DJ's who spun records are struggling.  They are walking around looking broke down. Very few who embraced the art form and the culture have little to show for it other than memories--but you would not know their names, or the people.  Certainly the community has not benefited from it.  Even the hip-hop museum they had in Harlem could not survive.


Still rap music was an outlet for many in a bad situation.  Us kids however would have benefited more from better services and educations.


While graffiti (or the aerosol arts) is a nice art form; it was, from my perspective, a blight on the city for many years.  


The young men walking around with their pants below their butts are hip-hop, while when I was hip-hop even our jeans were creased.


The biggest beneficiaries of the so called culture are corporations, its biggest consumers are white kids.  


You question my knowledge of Big KRIT & Ras Kass because you know these folks are largely unknown to people who are not devote hip-hop offianados. 


Do you have to like Jay-Z in order to like hip-hop, or is that tantamount to disliking Christ and calling yourself a Christian?  I know people love Kanye West.  I literally try to avoid him and his antics.  Does that mean I don't know anything about hip-hop?


But again different strokes for different folks.  I'll pursue my interest in music outside the genre, but i will check out Cadillactica


I've seen most of the artists from Big Daddy Kane, PE, Biz Marke, even Vanilla Ice, perform live back in the day.  Less than a year ago I saw TI and Little Wayne perform live.  Not one of these live performances were better than the last Prince show I saw, or the last The Ohio Players show, or the last Stevie wonder Show, I could go on.


I will say that my favorite live hip-hop show was MC Hammer's during the mid 1980's (many hip-hop devotees on the east coast said Hammer was wack too). 


Chris would you you rather see perform live Ras Kass or Stevie Wonder?



I really like the lyrics on this rap.  You actually have to know quite a bit to understand all the references Rass makes. The looped beat used, as with most rap songs is becomes monotonous after a while.  While I don't particularly care for the beat it is adequate enough to support the lyrics.


After hearing the song once, and enjoying it.  What else do I with it?  If is not like you can play it during a party and get people to dance to it?  While I actually like the lyrics I don't have a need to listen to it again, because I did not learn anything new.  In other words, I have no desire to download the song to my personal collection.  Perhaps my 20-something self would but not the 50 year old version of Troy.




Is there a song on the above album you would recommend?

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I think what is being discussed here is whether Hip-Hop has added value to the musical cannon of Black art. My answer is yes. What you seem to be saying is Hip-Hop hasn't improved or generated jobs or a livelihood for those that created it. Which is a completely different discussion that moves us towards analyzing the corporatization of Black art and the co-opting and stealing of culture. No Black musical artform has sustained where it was created. Detroit is a broken city. Motown didn't save it. Memphis is a broken city and Stax is finally being redeveloped by White Memphis; before it didn't save South Memphis. Harlem is gentrified and wasn't saved by Hip-Hop. Kansas City, New York and Oakland weren't saved by Jazz, but white people  support the music at a higher rate than Blacks, just as in Hip Hop, right?


So my view isn't romanticized at all, it's based on the positive aspects that Hip-Hop has generated in a very short time. Some of Black musics best artists in the last 30 years evolved from Hip-Hop: Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Musiq, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott and this list of impressive and very gifted performers has grown and continues to grow with groups like Foreign Exchange and Zo! I've already given examples of how Hip-Hop influenced and shaped Broadway plays and what you call blight and what many others called or thought of as blight has developed into Banksy and a new artform labeled street art and is given credibility by museums in LA and NYC. Hell even Jay Z has performed at the Moma. Has Jazz done that and sustained? Not really... I would even say that Jazz has been resurrected by Hip-Hop. I love Jazz and have an extensive collection, but to be honest, my mother didn't bring me to Jazz. Hip-Hop did. Had Miles Davis not made Doo Bop, I may not have ever head of Miles Davis! (If Miles found Hip-Hop valid enough to experiment, excuse me if I state that Nicholas Payton can beat it talking about something he obviously doesn't understand outside of the musical or lack of music he thinks Hip-Hop has. I also think Brandford Marsalis would have something to say also since he created Buckshot LeFonque and also along with Terrence Blanchard used it on Spike lee's Mo better Blues soundtrack with Guru).


Mystic brew the sample for Electric Relaxation by Tribe Called Quest brought a new generation to Jazz (well this happened with other Hip-Hop cuts but you get the idea). It also led to Jose James being signed by Blue Note and Blue Note releasing albums with serious Hip-Hop influence (just to bring up a new artist again). Has gospel done that? Not really. Rock has, but not to the same extent. Hip Hop has built up other musical artforms, not torn them down. So is this romanticized? No it's real. I can't stress enough that I want Hip-Hop to be greater and create economy and jobs. I wish there was a retirement plan for the emcees and djs, but like old blues and soul artists, it seems that all of Black music tends to die penniless and unloved if we focus on the negative and that is what it seems that you and the others here want to do. 


Soul Food is a great track on Cadillactica. In regard to not wanting to download the track from Ras, in another board you say the new generation is dumbed down. So instead of touting the fact that Ras Kass is introducing young people to new information and getting them to look up and use the internet for more than just Facebook, you say "I listened once and moved on," that's you. You are a well read person who uses Cress Welding just as casually as a verb! Everyone isn't like us and I find it inspiring that the emcees are still working hard. I also love that the culture of Hip-Hop is reaching across cultures and bringing dance and art to different people. I guess we are coming to an end on this post, and I have to say that I love the engagement. I may pull these posts and create a new series of blogs on my own site. I do hate mainstream rap and how it dictates the dialogue though.


In regard to who I would like to see live? The last concert I went to was Sade and before that the legends of Hip-Hop. I did blog posts on both. I love music and while I would obviously want to see Stevie Wonder, why would I even compare an emcee to a man who has a catalog of work like that? I'm surprised you'd even ask that question... Concerts are great, but I'm in my car more than I am anywhere except my home and I listen to all types of music. If you were to make the statement "Jazz (country, rock, pop) as a whole is wack" we would be into another long back and forth. Which is okay with me.

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I found this exchange of views about hip-hop interesting  inspite of the fact that, as a member of another generation, to me hip-hop is "much ado about nothing". Whenever I ask a hip-hop fan what constitutes hip-hop or to explain why they consider this culture so special, they are always  at a loss for words.  Or, like CDBurns and a few others, they, themselves, go into their own rap defending hip-hop rather than defining it. The few artists who I have developed an ear for are contemptuously dismissed by those who considered themselves hip-hop purists. So there are apparently pseudo hip-hoppers and the real ones, an arbitrary distinction that lies in the eye of the beholder.  As I said, "much ado about nothing".


Hip-hop does seem akin to a religion that possesses its faithful disciples.  As a Zen devotee, the impact of pauses between words, and spaces between the lines resonate with me; the room left for the imagination.  Guess that's why the "in-your-face" and "leave-nothing-unsaid" aggression of Rap, and the self-described "uniqueness" of the hip-hop population leave me yawning.    

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Chris my Stevie wonder question was absolutely fair, You described Ras' music as a "modern classic."  I consider Stevie to be classic from a previous generation.


I also do not understand why Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Musiq, Anthony Hamilton, and Jill Scott are considered hip-hop artists.  The same type of performer from an earlier generation would have been consider Soul or R&B (two more nebulous terms developed for little more than marketing purposes). If all of those artists are hip-hop artists you can just as easily say that any artist is Hip-Hop including Nick Payton. (btw I saw Musiq Soulchild perform this summer; his performance was, in a word, horrendous.)


I'm fine with narrowing the scope of the conversation to "whether Hip-Hop has added value to the musical cannon of Black art."  I would say yes too, but would put it's contribution behind Jazz, Blues, Gospel, R&B, and Soul.  


What is the contribution musically when the music is mostly looped samples.  The lyrics are no more profound that what poets were reading before the word hip-hop was ever invented. 


Today I think the corporate controlled version or hip-hop, the one most of us will ever see, has been largely detrimental, profoundly so.  Many of our movies were dominated by rap artists.  While you would say that has been good.  I say that has prevented us from enjoyed better trained actors.  I saw a Raisin in the Sun on Broadway.  Puff Daddy was in the lead role.  Again the audience saw a sub-par show because a better trained actor was not in the role. 


Honestly, I don't see how you can also completely ignore the misogynistic, obscenity laced, crime glorifying lyrics so common in the most popular hip-hop songs. 


​Here is a joint that being listened to by many more folks than "How To Kill God."  The relative number of youtube views will reflect clearly what is more popular and therefore much more influential.  I submit to you, DeJ Loaf's, "Try Me" a much more representative example of contemporary hip-hop.


The hook speaks for itself.  



I think the guys at Cash Money Content are doing some great things--especially with literacy, so I recognize there are some positive impact, but when you tally the figures I think we are in the hole, and have been for the last 25 years as far as hip-hop is concerned.

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Cynique, before I wrote a word you and Troy were simply having a hatefest on Hip-Hop. Neither of you took the time to try and define it, but you both were giving the culture the blues. Your idea that it is much ado about nothing, is exactly the problem that creates a disconnect between this generation and the Civil Rights generation. The dismissive tone leads me to think that you wouldn't even spend your time attempting to reach a kid who only understands and listens to hip-hop or even an adult who only listens to Hip-Hop. Which means that we don't have a connection being made between the generations.


For the record, Hip Hop is a culture. I assumed that you knew that consisted of 4 facets DJing, B Boying, Graffiti and Rapping. For the sake of discussion Hip Hop is rap music. Boom, there it is. There is your simple answer. Now Troy go back and reread what I wrote about those artist. I said that many of your singers today who are held in high regard were born from Hip-Hop. In other words, without the Roots, there wouldn't be a Jill Scott. D Angelo was a part of the Soulquarians and was a writer and producer in Rap. Erykah Badu was a rapper first and a 5%. I didn't say they were Hip-Hop I said they were born from it. I also gave countless examples of Hip-Hops influence on culture and genres, which neither of you took the time to address and talk about.


Troy let's be serious, do you think I overlook the negative aspects? Why would I sit and debate or talk about the negative when you guys seem to have a very good grasp on the negative aspects? That would be simply talking and adding to the same conversation, which accomplishes no insight into a new point of view.


When I say Modern Classic it is in regard to rap. I think what Ras Kass did is worthy of mentioning and discussing. The beat is banging. A rap classic would be Rapper's Delight, my use of modern was to state that it deserves attention. I should have clarified myself there. I do apologize. I also need to clarify that when I say Hip-Hop in regard to rap that I think of Hip-Hop as a more vital and important art than rap. How can I make this distinction? Easy, this is something that everyone in the culture does automatically and we know that we are analyzing what is being said, how it's being said and if it carries any weight or relevance on social issues or a very uinque sense of wordplay.


If I've said once, I've said it several times throughout my commentary, mainstream rap is shitty and sucks. Some underground rap sucks. This is the same with every music genre, but no one talks about any other artform with such venom. Cynique I don't think you are interested in me bringing up the positive aspects because you don't care about the music at all and you don't think it's music. It's just talking. That's fair. Troy, you keep bringing me back to the negative that you said I am overlooking. I've written a series of blogs about the mysoginistic and negative influence of Hip Hop. I've gone as far as stating that if Hip-Hop fixed itself, Black people become stronger. But what good would it do this conversation if I simply restated the negative aspects here along with what has already been posted? You would have a message board that simply regurgitates the same position over and over and where would the fun be in that. I repeat, if you say Pop music sucks, we can start this again and I will ultimately take the opposite position to what I see as the majority. I love music. Take a look at the Get To Knows on my blog and you will notice that my choices run the gamut from Country, to Pop, to Jazz. I am simply fighting for my position here so that there is an alternative to the same rhetoric. BTW, the Dej Loaf is wack, lol and it is contemporary and popular, but that bring us back to the discussing of how corporate America rapes our culture.

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Hummm. I scanned all through this thread, CDB,  looking for someplace where I "hated" on hip-hop.  But I found none.  In fact, I rebuffed the professional musician, Nicholas Payton, who was the one who referred to hip hop as whack in the lines Troy quoted.  My other observations contained no rancour. They were just comments because I actually don't hate hip-hop. If I'm guilty of anything it's of being indifferent to it. So your overreation adds to the schism. 


What strikes me further about your attitude is how sensitive you are when it comes to hip hop. In fact, if I were in your presence, I would want to put my arm around your shoulder and reassure you in a soothing voice that it's OK to be geeked about hip-hop.  We all have our passions, and pining for the validation of others is not necessary. 


Sooooo, the definition of hip-hop is that it's a "culture", huh?.  OK. 

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Cynique below culture is defined. So the obvious answer to your facetious question is yes.
the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period:
Greek culture.
development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group:
the youth culture; the drug culture.

In regard to my sensitivity, you say potato... I call it giving the conversation more depth especially since Troy's message board is indexed and used as search material for the search engines. I feel it's my duty to provide a completely different perspective on Hip-Hop in this exchange. I'm okay with accepting this task. I have done so in the classroom and outside of the classroom and it has enabled me to have really good discourse with people younger than me who only know mainstream artists. Everything to me is an educational moment. My time spent on Troy's board is a part of the one hour a day I get to leave the business world alone and do what I really like to do which is write and talk about topics I love. I love music. This is not pining for validation. I've been writing essays about this topic for years without sharing it or trying to attain an audience. I wrote those essays because I thought it was needed so if anyone ran across them it was available to read.


I tend to get invested in conversations because everything is fodder for my own blog and writing. It's a good thing. I think what happened with my response to you is your indifference (at the end, not early on which you basically addressed genres and music in general) is such a typical thing with older people that I lumped you into that category and wrote you off based on your ho hum response, and your much ado statement did kind of irritate me (+1 Cynique, lol).


Once again, I pick and choose what to respond to based on how it will help me generate content for my blog and how it piques my interest level. I do appreciate this exchange and forum.

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My question wasn't really meant to be facetious, CDB.  Culture is a generic term.  I wouldn't consider R&B a "culture" since its fans are not monogamous.  Have you written any essays focusing on Hip-Hop mores?  Educate me...when you get a spare moment.


BTW, as an older person, I don't mind being lumped with other old people.  I still think Hip-Hop overrated.  And if this alienates me from young people, then - so be it.  I have yet to meet a young person who gives as damn whether or not I like Rap.    

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I don't have any essays about the mores or values in Hip-Hop, that's a good idea though. R&B is a title, Hip-Hop is definitely a lifestyle and a culture. Hip-Hop, as Troy would state, began with Kool Herc and has its roots in dancehall toasting and the DJ. As it began to develop, it was not about just the music, but the Graffiti, Turntable techniques, Rap and Dance. Those things associated with it became synonymous with a particular segment of the community. When you dressed a certain way, spoke a certain way, drew a certain way, etc, people automatically identified it as belonging to Hip-Hop. It didn't matter that the artform was born in New York, the things associated with it were automatically recognizable anywhere.


I do tend to get personal in regard to Hip-Hop so hearing that it is overrated always amazes me. I care that you don't give a damn, because I think as a writer Hip-Hop has a lot to offer to the literary world. I've been able to do some incredible things utilizing Hip-Hop in the classroom. It has allowed me to connect to my students in a way many of my older peers just haven't been able to... I don't hesitate to say that because of the indifference and disdain for the music by older teachers this has contributed to a lot of the problems in education (not all obviously, but a lot of the communication is broken down. Especially in regard to Black kids and literature).  


I was posting a web book on my site, but I got away from posting it and working on it as I began to launch my sneaker company. I avoid putting a lot of links on Troy's site because I don't want people to leave his site and move around. I'm sure he would thump me upside the head for thinking like that though, lol. Here is a link to some of those pages I've written:







Here is an old paper I wrote about Gil Scott and his influence on Hip-Hop:




I think taking some time and hanging out on a few websites might help a bit with looking at Hip-Hop in a different light. 


Do you know Hip-Hop is at the forefront of bringing Afrobeat to the masses? Femi Kuti works with Questlove of the Roots. The Roots basically established the first site on this site. Hip-Hop, the people in the culture, are doing some very good work, important work.





These are some very good sites to look at in regard to Hip-Hop. I hope this helps some.

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Chris (everyone) I encourage you to put links on the site (my name is not Mark Z.) AALBC.com is part of the world wide web, not a walled garden, you need links to make the WWW work.  I put links to external site on every page I create.  I only have an aversion to it you people start to get spammy.


Chris we can agree there are positives and negatives with hip-hop.  This is true for most things in life.  Because of our experiences with the "culture", you Cynique and myself have different perspectives.


Cynique has praised some artists you would call hip-hop in the past on this very forum.  She rocks a tattoo.  She could be lumped into "Hip-hop," but clearly she is a much more complex woman than the confines of hip-hop would allow to be expressed.  Indeed it would be silly to try pigeon hole her that way.


From my perspective: about 10 years ago I was to talking to a buddy (who happens to be Harry Allen's brother).  He was surprised to learn that PE was one of my favorite groups.  I explained why and also expressed to him I was not interested in much of the new stuff.  He explained to me that I was too old for it.


I rarely encounter people in my age range, who proclaim they are part of the hip-hop culture.  Hip-hop is a youth oriented culture.  Wouldn't you agree?


As a youth oriented culture hip-hop simply does not speak to me the way it once did.  Sadly very little in the popular culture speaks to be as a grown Black man (what else is new), what I find resonates most with me is music from a period before rap was co-opted, or new music that is influenced by music from an earlier period.


As I mentioned I teach young people as well and have been around teachers most of my life.  I can appreciate that you can connect with your students, using hip-hop, in a way that your peers can't.  I'm sure some of those peers would argue that might not be a great idea.


People like Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West are known for dropping Kanye or Biggie lyrics when speaking to an audience with young people.  Shoot, West has even done a rap album.  But there are other great communicators who don't quote rap lyrics but still connect with young people.  


I know you are not saying hip-hop is the only way to communicate with young people, but the implication is that you can't unless you do.  Besides, not every young person associates themselves with hip-hop.  


Chris when you say that hip-hop is at the forefront of bringing Afrobeat to the masses it sounds like hyperbole.  Much more of Femi's influence came from Fela, who was influenced by musicians that predated hip-hop.  


We see the term hip-hop applied so liberally it is no wonder it is not clear to most people what it actually means. Hip-hop is a marketing term really that give whatever it is applied to a hip, youth oriented, street cred.


I was supposed to go to an event last night where Questlove was the DJing.  He was playing for the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 event.  I guess you would say that hip-hop even influenced the staid National Book Foundation too.  Maybe we will see some "Hip-Hop Lit" as future nominees for National Book Awards.

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I definitely think you will see that if I get to work, lol. I'm not saying that in education Hip-Hop or using rap will make things better, I'm saying the disconnected and indifference to the music leads to a separation between teacher and student. We both know there are alternative methods in teaching and that a diversified approach is always required, but there is something amazing when a kid feels like what they love is important and connected to an educational tool. Does it have to be this way? Yes, this generation is not as focused and they are distracted, to keep their attention Hip-Hop is definitely a great tool. My instruction though comes from a very strict teacher who taught me poetry in a very strict and formal way. I have found that the foundation of all literature is poetry and because of Hip-Hops closeness to poetry some serious connections can create a solid tool for improving literacy.


I do agree the term is used so much that it makes it difficult to discern what is or isn't Hip-Hop, but isn't that evidence of how influential the culture is? In regard to it being for young adults, I think it is, but as the artists grow up it's changing and shifting. I responded to your comment on my site with what I think fits perfectly here. You asked if it was worth saving. This was my response: 


"It is definitely worth saving. Bonz Malone once said on a De La Soul album that Hip-Hop is the only music genre that creates jobs for "mfs" that don't even love it." He's not right in making that statement, but his point is very good. We have to save it because it is the most profitable creation (outside of the internet) in the last 40 years.

Hip-Hop is beginning to take back what belongs to it, but it will be a long process. I think The Roots on Latenight is a gigantic step towards bringing balance back to the culture. Their active participation in creating a discussion on the culture is expanding because of their status. Questlove has had a NYT bestselling book.

Talib, with Pharoahe Monch and 9th Wonder have formed a collective named Indie500 #Indie500. This will begin to shift some control back to the artists I think.

2 Chainz's second album was a flop, which is a good thing. His art is about nothing and does nothing. While a lot of the new releases are dominating the airwaves the stuff isn't selling, but Kendrick Lamar and J Cole are both getting set to release more Hip-Hop that is vital and important. While it seems that Dr. Dre founding a school at USC is not really beneficial to the Hip-Hop community, it shows the growth of the culture and maturation. That's a good thing. Just like the celebration of Nas' Illmatic 20 Years being given a black tie performance at the Lincoln Center with a full orchestra also shows that the change in the air. It's up to my generation of Hip-Hop to begin resting control away from the corporate powers and that is happening as we speak. It will take time, but it's happening. A very good sign of this is rapper Lecrae releasing a chart topping crossover album. The guy is a really a gospel rapper! Even Cash Money, who I don't really care for, is one of the best business models in Hip-Hop. If they could take the effort they place into literature and actually change some of the stuff they release, the change would happen faster. Sorry about the long response, but I'm optimistic."


In regard to West and Dyson, I tend to place both in the section of people capitalizing on the culture and somewhat overdoing it. There isn't a right way to do whatever you want to do, but when I say use it in education, my essays I started on my site that you read one of, is actually the parts of a book that I published with my students at a local high school. The book was called Redefining The Labyrinth: http://www.cbpublish.com/?s=Redefining+the+labyrinth

These students are of the Hip-Hop generation. What I did was take a lot of commentary from rap and we looked at older essays from Shadow and Act and by writers from the Harlem Renaissance. The students then had to create commentary that addressed social issues ala early Hip-Hop. They took it one step foreward and made the title of each chapter an allusion to a song in Hip-Hop.


Long story short, Hip-Hop is associated with young people, but I think as we move along we will begin to see the development of more Last Poets and Gil Scotts out of Hip-Hop. We will also see more control by the late 30 to early 50s crowd in the next few years. I just feel that things are going to shift.

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Cynical contrarian that I am, the problem I coninue to have with hip-hop hype is its ambuity. Get a few afficionados together and before long, each guy will be rattling off names of obscure or famous groups who, according to his standards, are either real or fake, the criteria for judging being based on the taste of the individiual who has appointed himself an arbitrator.  Hip-hop fandom is rife with members dissing each other's choices in regard to who is the real deal. I also look askance at the tendency to romanticize  anything as edgy as Hip-Hop. 
Complaining about commerializing music genres also escapes me. It's like saying certain music is not for public consumption and should only be available for elite groups. Is it ever taken into consideration that comercialized music can be an appetizer to whet the taste of listeners for the gourmet version of a music genre?
Art is an expression of individual creativity. If a person uses hip hop as a vehicle for self expression, who is to say that the result is not authentic just because it gets media exposure. Insistence on restricting hip-hop to a street venue is a contradictory ploy that attempts to give cult status to something that is ubiquitous.
To me, if something appeals to you, in your world that resonation is authentic. If I like Rapper/punster, (Lil)Wayne, screw all of his sneering detractors.
"But", you say. "There have to be standards!" To which I respond, "I'm waiting to hear what would be the credentials of the those who set hip-hop standards?"
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I don't complain about commercialization as much as I do about the pushing of one sound into the mainstream.  25 years ago you would hear Public Enemy, Kwame, Big Daddy Kane, X Clan, Kool G Rap, NWA and the Geto Boys on all on the same radio station. You had balance. Today, there isn't any balance, so when you hear a person who loves Hip-Hop address the commercialization of it, that pertains to the repetitious songs that clutter the airwaves and leave people like Common or Talib to streaming or to be found by seeking out a different form of music. The only thing you get on mainstream radio is Lil Wayne and it's not because the beats are the best of the crop, it's literally being forced on kids. (Lil Wayne is just an example, you can insert Two Chainz or Young Thug or any of the commercialized stuff). Kids don't even know a song like How To Kill God is available to them. It used to be WBLS or Hot 97 or whatever radio station would have an hour a night dedicated to local or other styles of Hip-Hop. Those shows are gone. This is obviously a problem with Clear Channel's control of the airwaves. 


So commercialization is bad because of this. No one who loves and admires Hip-Hop is saying that they don't want Young Thug, they are saying we want more choices. We want  a Roots song along with a Lil Wayne song... not Lil Wayne all damn day.


Let me put this in a way even you will probably agree with. When you watch VH-1s or MTVs countdown there is pop, soul, rap and every genre except country represented. When you watch BETs countdown it's pretty much a hoochiefest and bunch of the exact same sound. So kids watching BET only have one image to aspire to while the kids watching VH-1 aspire to be guitar players, singers, rappers or use all types of instruments in reaching for a career in music. All the BET kids see is a dude hopping around on stage using "witty, puns". Mos Def plays the Timpani throughout the song Quiet Dog while he raps. Was this video played on mainstream radio? No, neither was the video. The Roots play their own instruments, but none of their videos make the BET rotation so the BET kids don't know that rappers actually play with live instruments. The only person kids may have seen is Kendrick Lamar performing with Imagine Dragons, but people don't realize he has a band! (At least he is a rapper who has something to say with his party songs) 


When something is controlled by corporate america we know the outcome is never positive. Since I am acting as the voice of the Hip-Hop crowd I'm telling you right now that we don't think there have to be standards. What we want is equality in the presentation of the music. In the past when you had Two Live Crew you also had Public Enemy. Kids and adults (you Cynique) today can't tell you who the conscious rappers are because they aren't being introduced to them although these artists are selling records and shows and are not really underground at all. (I do have to say that Lecrae is at the top of the charts, but if you turn on BET his video isn't being played and it definitely isn't on the radio. That is the issue here and this is what we want as the standard: equality.)


Whenever I've addressed any of the commercial artists I said I personally don't like them, that doesn't mean they aren't rap/Hip-Hop, I just draw the distinction for the purpose of saying that the music being made is easily tossed to the side. it's disposable. To this day It Take a Nation of Millions is still thought of as a groundbreaking record, not just by Hip-Hop heads but by anyone who reports on music. Will Lil Wayne be thought of the same way in 25 years? Probably since kids aren't being introduced to Mos Def or Pharoahe Monch. I've never said that certain songs are not authentic.. ever. Don't put that on me. I said I don't like it and it's wack. I can't claim authenticity for an artist. I can only say it's wack. 


P.S. Hip-Hop is only as edgy as Rock and Roll once was. Once again we are discussing a new artform that is still only a few decades old. We are just now beginning to see elderly Hip-Hop artists. What I find interesting is this conversation probably couldn't take place about any other music genre which speaks to the influence and power Hip-Hop has (or it should have).

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Chris I agree with most of what you wrote above.  


I recall hearing Talib say he does not want to be considered a "conscious rap artist."  I forget his reasoning, perhaps he did not want to be put in a box.  I suspect once you are considered "conscious" that means you are not gonna make any money, because you are no longer commercial.


Like selling Black books, you aspire to be a "conscious" rapper it because it is important, not because you wanna become wealthy.  But most people, including rappers, "jess gots to get paid."  


Besides what conscious rap artist is current enjoying commercial success, or has a top record?  Has there been a conscious rap group whose music you'd actually play at a party since Arrested Development? 


I think the reason for this is that all the conscious rappers just are not very good compared to the TI's and LIttle Waynes. If you don't have a bagin' beat as a rap artist you are basically done.


At least a signer can create music with their voice.  You need the music.  The lyrics are secondary, always have been... even from the beginning of hip-hop.


Combine a dope beat with great lyrics and you've got a hit.


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Not quite accurate. Mos Def, Talib, Common, Black Thought are all ten times better than Lil Wayne (this is subjective of course) but most people realize that the conscious emcees are also better lyrically. It really is a case of commercialization and mainstream music being promoted at the expense of better emcees. 


This song gets 1000 more plays on mainstream radio



Than this song: 



Let's be serious... which song is better. Hell which song can you decipher the lyrics? LOL! The consicous rappers are all better. Oddly enough T.I. is not "conscious" rappers, but he makes more positive anthems than most people. He has a great amount of balance. He can get ratchet and drop some very good songs. All of these emcees have club bangers as well positive stuff, but the problem is the songs are not being played equally. It's like shelf space at the book store, if gangsta lit is selling then you will see gangsta lit on the tables while books that are more literary languish.

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I think on a certain level rap has killed pop music. It's gotten to the point that the break is looped and you miss all the foreplay. So know we have bunch if orgasms but no foreplay and no after play. Rap has turned popular musc into porn. I criricise rap but I love what it was and can be a voice of the disposed or those who speak to the dispossed. Which explains why rap is popular with white suburban kids and black urban kids and lots of folk in between. Which rapper is better is ant of a pissing contest. I think Jay Z can flow but he is no longer hip hop he's a corporation. He's said so in his lyrics. I'd say Kool Moe Dee has it all over LL Cool J. Except LL had better beats and marketing. Rap still speaks to it's audience however I don't know how much of it is hip hop

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Yo Del Happy Belated Birthday Man!


Chris I'm not surprised the 2nd song it more popular.  It has a more engaging flow.  I have no problem understanding the lyrics.  Again, as you suggested "better" is subjective.  



I'm not sure the problem is equal playing time.  If I were to extend your book analogy, that would mean I could sell more copies of Toni Morrison's Beloved simply by promoting it more.  My experience tells me something different.  Often books that sell best on my site are books I was completely unfamiliar with, and not promoting at all.  Usually they are not of the caliber of a Toni Morrison novel.


Sure after I discover them, through sales I may begin to promote it and ride the wave.  People buy what they enjoy.  Rational vendors promote what whats poppin'


Sometimes you have people like me who push products I think are important for people to consume, knowing darn well there will be fewer takers.  We are mission as well as profit driven.  But you make less money that way.


Ultimately as all sellers focus on what is most popular, everything else gets crowded out.  We are seeing this in the book world as we lose platforms.  This happened to rap music a Long time ago.

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Try as I may, I just can't take Hip-Hop that seriously.  Mesmerizing by way of its beats and repetitive candences, yes, but  what's so astounding about its message?  How many times can we get excited over the glorification of the thug life or the injustice of the hard knock life, or  the rhapsodizing of an alternate lifestyle?  So what else is new?   Does schlepping around, spittin out verses make things better?  Do break dancing and casual clothes and cool slang make this culture awesome? Or is it that this community provides an outlet for the frustration of racism and all its repercussions?


Oh well, what can you expect from someone who grew up listening to doop wop and be-bop and Nat Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.  When Emmit Till and Rosa Parks got violated, we took to the streets to demonstrate. Back then, music was a respite not an expression of protest.  Time brought change but did it improve the situation?  Not really.  It takes more than mad niggas to reform America.



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No one really takes any art form very serious anymore. Which is why book sales are sinking, music sales are not very strong and the purchase of art is now being subsidized by internet auctions on eBay or random websites. Your point of view is everyone's point of view about most things. When I look at people around me they don't like or respect much of what is around. Hence the US lags behind other countries in the creation of art careers. It's a sad state. I'm passionate about Hip Hop, books and art, so I go out of my way to buy all of it. I'm sure you have something you make sure you buy...maybe. My dollar is my vote for the importance of things I think should be important. My blogs and responses promote these things. That's the best I can do and I enjoy it. That's what great about life. To answer your question about whether dancing and emceeing make the world better, yes it does. Crumping and clown dancing prevents gangbanging, just like jookin in Memphis keeps some kids off the street. I've seen dancing unite cultures. I've seen rapping inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and turn on mental lights in my classroom. Hip hop isn't for you and that's just fine.

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The hoi poloi have never been receptive to what's aesthetic or abstract. They like to keep things simple. They want to be entertained, not challenged. Those who rise about such low-brow mediocrity are special people who are born with an innate proclivity for what is extraordinary.


One thing I have noticed, is that rapping is no longer a specialized skill. All young people nowadays can rap, including white ones. They all know the patented moves and gestures and the verbal techniques. My grandchildren can rap. So rap has lost its exclusivity. It is commonplace and, as such, I don't really think of it as an art. Rap is a movement that is becoming institutionalized.


I'm kind of passionate about preserving the art of cursive writing. Most pubic schools no longer teach it. Kids nowadays can barely print. It's a shame how this personal tool that is such an extension of one's individuality that people can identiify who wrote something because they recognize the handwriting, is in danger of becoming extinct. I have even thought of conducting summer school classes for youngsters who parents want them to learn the Palmer method of cursive writing. No credentials are necessary because it's something I am qualified to do by virtue of the fact that I have a decent legible handwriting. And, of course, there are workbooks you can purchase to help with the instructions.

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We are homeschooling our children and the program "Handwriting Without Tears" is excellent.

In regard to rap, everyone can do whatever they like. That doesn't mean they do it well which is why I used the two videos above. I've gone over the reasons why it is art including the fact that it has been integrated into Broadway, Lincoln Center jazz, and performances at the Moma and other art galleries. Not that it requires validation from you, but when Nikki Giovanni and other great poets acknowledge it as art... You get my gist. I think the last two Roots albums are solid concept albums. Who in music still makes concept albums? Hardly anyone. I had a music professor tell me I should feel about spoken word they way you and he feel about rap and music. He said that my training should make me hate spoken word people who call themselves poets because they have no understanding of versification, line length, meter, etc.

He has a point... But to take things away from the craft created by people who haven't been trained is to create an elitist almost isolated form of art. This is the reason jazz almost died, its the reason gospel is almost gone, traditional gospel, and its definitely the reason literature and other art forms are suffering. All of this is not to convince you, it's to conclude my participation in this. Rap is an art form akin to a gateway drug that leads to other things. Rap allowed DJ Quick to now produce RnB. Rap has allowed Jay Z to be featured in the MoMa and write songs about Picasso. Rap allowed The Roots to infiltrate nighttime television and create skits like Black Simon and Garfunkel. Rap allowed David Banner to use his Masters degree to develop plans of action to improve Mississippi. Rap has created Justin bua as a street graf artist who is now a respected artist in elite circles. The same with Mr cartoon.

These are the things I love about rap. I love that kids are trying it and doing it. That doesn't diminish it. It keeps it alive. It just has to find its way out of this corporate phase. The art is only 40 years old. People don't get their own lives right in this amount of time.

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I quit m job after listening to Public Enemy on the way to work. Hip Hop is relevant because it moves us. Clothing is a part of culture. And it can be signifiers for status. Location and sexual orientation. About five years ago I went to a hip hop event in Sydney. Met a brother from the Bromx. We are about the same age. He said did you think hop hop would go world wide when you were a teenager. Nope.

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Del at the time I did not think hip-hop would go global either, but then I had no real framework to appreciate how corporations could capitalize and exploit it.


Chris I could not disagree with your professor more.  His assumption is that spoken word artists do not understand poetic form.  That is what we call stereotyping.


I actually doubt, Chris, that you understand how I feel about rap music.  Lumping me in with your professor tells me that.  Just because I don't consider myself a disciple of hip-hop, and I don't really like much of the popular rap music out today, does not mean that I dislike all rap or that I think rap artist have no musical ability.  My feelings are much more nuanced, not stereotypical. 


Part of the problem in America is that Black people's art is often thrust into a tiny box, stereotyped.  If you are Black and write about an urban setting, you are automatically a street/urban/hip-hop author.  That designation brings in a ton of baggage, most of it not good.  


Indeed, the same is true for being a African-American author, who writes about Black characters.  The mainstream culture puts you into a category that means only Black people will like you books (read: it won't make any money).  It is only interesting if it talks about dysfunction, crime, slavery, etc


The only reason what we call "hip-hop" has gone global is because of corporations.  Hip-hop has become a corporate tool.  Corporations are the primary beneficiaries.  Most of the brothers and sisters who originated this thing you call hip-hop are not benefiting from it financially, nor are the vast majority of devotees.


You give hip-hop a lot of credit for doing things that I would assert have been done previously under another name.


Del, Public enemy was a very powerful force back with hip-hop was a reaction to an oppressive culture.  Today hi-hop is a tool an oppressive culture.


No I did not expect hip-hop to go global, but I also could not have imaged that the most popular music would be riddled with the n-word and use bitch and ho like they were terms of endearment, but then I had no framework on just how corporations operate.

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I think you misunderstood, what I was doing there. The Professor was a Dr. of Music who was a peer at an HBCU I taught for a few years back. I was not lumping you into the same category, I was looking at how people don't consider rap music and how they used an educational approach to qualify why people shouldn't respect rap as an artform. 


I can't claim to understand your feelings on rap, but for the sake of discussion I am placing values onto you. I don't think you hate the culture, you are the culture and your frustration is the same as mine. I am simply arguing the positive aspects. If this were a debate I would have offered a refutation and attacked Hip-Hop as a failed experiment that has not carried the banner of music in Black society. I would take it a step further in this refutation and also say that since the late 80s and early 90s Hip-Hop has systematically contributed to the Prison Industrial Complex and destroying the movement generated by the Civil Rights movement. That would have been the accurate way to approach this debate. However, if I did that I would not have been able to really pull the discussion in favor of the positive aspects of Hip-Hop.


What is tragic is that all of the positives are far outweighed by the negative aspects of the music and that for all of my support of Hip-Hop, I am the first person to state that if Hip-Hop changed, it could be as influential as James Brown was to the Black Power/Pride movement, or as vital as Sam Cooke was to the Civil Rights movement. Hip Hop is the only artform created by Blacks that has failed to move the people forward. Something Cynique said somewhere in all of that writing is that music was a respite. When we analyze Black Literature music is integrated into the literature and it has never been just a respite. It has always been a tool in the Black community for empowering. Black music has always been a case of the chicken or the egg in every major movement. Field songs either enabled escape from slavery or was a tool in the escape of slaves


Gospel and Blues either created the movement of slave during the Great Migration or was a tool in helping Blacks move forward.


Blues and Jazz either started the Harlem Renaissance or was a tool during the Harlem Renaissance


Rock and Roll either started the Civil Rights movement or was a very strong contributing factor to integration.


Black Power was either inspired by Nina Simone and James Brown or was a tool in the creation of Black Power


Hip-Hop was doing a fantastic job with songs like White Lines and The Message and then with the H.E.A.L project and Stop the Violence, but in the last 25 years the corporatization of the culture has contributed to the destruction of a new generation. 


I know this, but to state it overshadows any good that I discussed above...

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Very interesting observations.  I'm not in total agreement, however, that music was either the creation or the tool of all black movements.  Maybe back in slave days spirituals were coded but  I don't think they played a role in slaves being freed. Or did the great migrations have a lot to do with music. The songs back then had to do with either unrequited or exulted love or  stompin good times.   The big band swing music artists of Duke Ellington and Jimmy Lunceford and Cab Calloway along with minstrel-like Broadway musicals were the music of the Harlem Renaissance which was more focused on the "literati" or "nigerati" as Zora called them.  I don't think music played a role in launching this movement or advancing it. (White publishers discovering what already existed  did that, to the amusement of the "new" negroes who capitalized off of being the latest fad among white patrons of the arts.)  Black gospel music had its popular origins in Chicago in the 1930s  and was all about trustin in the lord, an ongoing impetus for black folks.


Yes, "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday was a protest song of the 40s and it's said the Be-Bop instrumentalists of the 50s adopted their improvised frenzied horn playing to keep white musicians from stealing their stuff.


In the 60s,  Nina Simone was a voice of the black militancy movement and folk guitarist Richie Havens was a counter culture hippie artist and along with other black artists like Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye and James Brown and Stevie Wonder and your guy Gil Scott Heron all recorded social commentary albums  about situations that already existed.  And surely you didn't mean that Rock and Roll propelled the civil rights movement.   More like R&B.  Rock and Roll was about Elvis and the Beatles and bubble gum pop artists, some of whom did covers of Motown hits, and also heavy metal music.   


My point is that music was concurrent with movements.  In my opinion, it didn't begin or enable them; it did what music does.  It accompanied them.    

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By default music played a role in the escape of slaves "O Canaan" and songs of that like which gave directions to passage as well as songs at camp meetings allowed the passage of information. Music was a tool. As the abolitionists began building the case for ending slavery their a number of songs that were made to assist in delivering information and building a better understanding of the movement. While gospel was not influential in initiating the great migration, it did inspire the blues and those songs weren't just about good times. You should know that "times is getting harder" and songs like detroit and depression... Those songs actually sent the message that moving north wasn't exactly what it seemed. The gospel songs were key in establishing the community that led to the foundation of what would become the civil rights movement. I honestly don't know how you just spouted all of that about the Harlem Renaissance and completely overlooked James Weldon Johnson or even the series of blues written by Langston Hughes! Music didn't propel the Harlem Renaissance?

When I say rock and roll I'm talking Chuck Berry. The music itself was a movement that generated RnB and Motown which was a political act just by its creation. I could find support if I took the time to look up how the Black Arts Movement was intricately woven into Black Power and how artists like James Brown and Ray Charles forced integration before the political acts of blacks accomplished this.

If you think music wasn't and hasn't been a motivating factor in all of the movements of black life, then we definitely have a completely different idea about how important music is to Black people. In my mind hip hop's inability to create a sustaining movement that empowers is at the core of many issues in our community. Our music has always been fun, entertaining and engaging. It has also held us up and provided a positive face for those who never interact with blacks. Hip hop with all of the positive things I've tried to fight for, has made it okay to call us niggas and bitches. How powerful would it be if rap music changed how we addressed each other? How powerful would it be if we created songs like Nina Simone and Gil Scott?

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What you say is interesting.  But I still don't agree that the movements in question stemmed from music or achieved their goals because of it. The meager number that Harriet Tubman transported on the underground railroad  didn't depend on music; These were surrepticious one on one expeditions and music obviously didn't have a successful impact on failed slave uprisings.   Or did Lincoln  free the slaves because abolitionists stood around singing songs. Also, I wasn't aware that Black Gospel music spawned the Blues.which have been around a long time or that songs motivated or inhibited Blacks when it came to migrating North.  I also dismiss your contention that a few obscure blues songs by poet Langston Hughes "propelled" the Harlem Renaissance. I will give James Weldon Johnson points for the Negro national anthem but still this song was an accompanment as was "We Shall Overcome" for the Civil Rights movement which was spurred by Rosa Parks and Emmit Till not Chuck Berry.  I would further argue that R&B ala Motown  came from DooWop not Rock and Roll.  But, just because I don't' think music germinated movements doesn't mean that I don't think that it's wonderful!  


So we remain at odds. I think the reason we cannot agree is because we are conceptualizing things differently.    LOL  

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That is what is going on but I would suggest researching music and its ability to change things. At the core of communication for many cultures is the drum. Many would argue that the removal of the drum from the African in America is partially to blame for the way slaves were broken. I definitely feel that the shift in music from loving and empowerment, to disrespect and ignorance is the thing that has broken black America. There has always been racism and various isms in society. There have always been roadblocks. The one constant in our communities was music. But I'm not alone in this. If you think about the regression in the black community it coincides with the rise of Hip-Hop and Reaganomics. Black music lost its voice and control...the griots were silenced. James Brown went from black and proud to living in America. Jazz moved from Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra to Kenny g. The beauty and power of Motown was lost in the moonwalk and hip-hop was silenced by corporate America.

Oddly enough if you research the origins of We Shall Overcome you will find that it is tied into the labor movement and foundation of unions so this point had more to do with how music actually shaped a movement prior to Rosa. You should also look at the Freedom Singers and Berenice Reagon who wrote about this. I remember teaching a course and the essay music in our hands was my one of the sources I used in argumentative essays. I'm on my kindle so I'm not going to dig that deep but I definitely plan on revisiting this in a book. I think people are failing to understand just how influential music is. Also James weldon johnson was more than that one song and his life and music shaped more than most blacks know.

To minimize the importance of music and say that Lincoln didn't free slaves because of music, or slave uprisings weren't successful is to overlook that often slave uprisings were planned during camp meetings were faux worship was taking place. Music undercut what the masters thought was taking place and music humanized blacks and assisted in abolition. And that meagerly number was at least a number attempted by Tubman and countless songs were involved.

But we are looking at music differently. I see solutions there.

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I am not minimizing music.  I am elevating it by giving it its full due. It exists independently of everything else and is universal, - in sync with the pulse of humanity. Movements come and go but music exists independently of them.  "We Shall Overcome" is a song is a song is song.  The civil rights movement  proved to be superficial but "We shall Overcome" is still what it always was; a song. 


You've relegated music to being a tool. I think of it as a companion.  But this is quibbling. It can be both and that's the beauty of music; it different things to different people.     



Also, you and Troy keep saying that corporations have taken over Rap/Hip Hop.  What do you guys mean by this?  Are moguls like Jay-Z and Dr. Dre. and Puffy Combes and Russell Simmons  a part of the problem or a part of the solution? 

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Yes Jay-Z, Dre, Puffy and Russell's, are part of the problem.  They, like Bob Johnson a generation before, are fantastically successful because they operate like or operate at a high level in corporations.  


However, they could absolutely be part of the solution.  But I don't see that happening.  I don't even hold that against them, they are no different that most people.  Besdies the media elevates them so it is hard to imagine them doing anything differently.


People celebrated gangsters like Bumpy Johnson while completely overlooking his illegal activity.


Like a drug dealer or a cigarette manufacturers corporations are about getting paid.  The impact on the culture is inconsequential.  If there is any benefit, that is purely incidental.  But they will tout all benefits and make believe the negative impact does not exist.  Cigarette manufacturers and drug deals create jobs, right? 

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How do we learn? Through repetition and by visually and auditory methods. The most prominent method of learning and teachingis through rhythm and cadence. This is why meter is so important in poetry. Repetition allows the mind to organize details in an efficient way. Whether we admit it or not music is a tool. That doesn't mean it isn't or doesn't offer simple pleasure and hedonistic satisfaction. Unfortunately music by default teaches through cadence and of course repetition.

So if a kid 50 years ago heard "my girl " over and over by the temptations when he approaches a woman he will do so based on what he has seen and heard. This means his approach will be full of sunshine on a cloudy day.

If a kid today watches music videos and listens to the same trappers over and over, he will approach a woman to "beat the pussy up like Emmit Till, " a line from one of cyniques favorite rapper: lil wayne.

Music evokes and provokes feelings. That is always what it does and always will. Now what does corporatizing hip hop do? Once businessmen realized the power and influence of the music the diversified approach to playlists on the radio changed. Before you had songs like:

The Message

Crack killed applejack

White lines

My philosophy

Self destruction

Heed the words by x clan

Ladies First by Queen Latifah

UNITY by Queen Latifah

Colors by Ice T

All in the same gang

And the list goes on and on with fight the power by public enemy played in the same rotation. As soon as corporate America gave trappers the ability to own labels they only allowed puffy, jay z, lil wayne and baby to sign artist who represented the street. These moguls, all of the people Troy mentioned, didn't sign the artists like krs one. And only Arrested Development snick through the door along with Digable planets as popular rap. Everything else became street and the kids and adults copied the style of what was presented.

At the same time the prison industrial complex grew. This is not a coincidence. Kids began acting out what they saw as successful: drug dealers turned rappers. Who became the big stars? Snoop, 50 cent, jay z, while the more socially aware rappers like black star were pushed to the fringes and out of radio rotation.

How do we learn? Repetition ... if a kid hears "bitches aint shit but hoes and tricks " and "fuck that nigga whoop that bitch" on the radio all day and watches videos with half naked women what do they mimic? In the late 80s rappers wore Africa patches and hbcu sweaters so did the kids. Today...

If that doesn't lay out the problem for anyone reading this I don't know what will. I'm on my kindle so I apologize for not using videos and links but I think these words are okay.

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Questions that come to my mind when I hear these familiar complaints.  Am I to believe that a nebulous cabal of evil white men known as corporate America force rap millionaires, who own their own labels, to put out records that fill black kids' heads with negativity so they can emulate the thug life and end up in prison? And, is it true that white suburban kids buy more rap albums than black kids? Further, what is the role of censorship in all of this?  Plus, since the "the art imitates life" axiom  can be applied to gangsta rap, is this a case of impresssionable kids being introduced to the street life or of them being provided with music they can relate to because the lyrics describe what they see in their environment?  Where is the credit due for the many kids who say they know that gangsta rap is just music and that they don't take its message seriously, kids who are apparently able to compartmentalize their music taste. 


And what can be done about black adults in the inner-cities who are responsible for filling their children's heads with sordidness because they are the role models who inspire Rap lyrics. What can be done about the indiscriminate breeding of young black females bringing children into the world who will replicate their aimless single mothers and absentee fathers and perpetuate a dead-end culture of illicitness and violence to be celebrated in song? They are the matrix of the thug life that rappers rhapsodize.   Eugenics is not a bad idea to me but it would never fly.  Baby mamas and their baby daddies are too comfortable in a lifestyle that pits these weave-wearin dramas queens against their saggin-pants bed mates, not to mention outcries of genocide that would emerge from black activists.  So there is little hope of reversing what thwarts black progress and inspires rap verses.   Classism will provide a niche for upwardly mobile Blacks but racism will continue to be a factor. It's a hard scenario to capture in rap vernacular. "Got-it- made niggas answerin' when you aks 'em whussup. Me, gettin paid cuz I know how to suck-up."


And speaking of kids acting out what they see, it seems like all these defiant black victims going down in a blaze of bullets from the guns of racists cops are becoming heroes who black youngsters want to be like.  Their lives have become so empty and meaningless that they are willing to risk them if it means that in death they will become famous and revered. In the past it was playing Cowboys and Indians but now it's homeboys and cops.  Bang! Bang!  You're dead.  Rest in peace, Pookey.  You were a good kid, but you challenged the wrong person. The latest victim  caught on tape being killed by over-reacting policemen is an 11 year old black kid loitering in a park, brandishing a toy gun, aiming it at passers-by.  When the cops were called and appeared on the scene, he pointed the gun at them and was shot down dead. SMH. Time for some repetitive rap lyrics brainwashing kids on how not to provoke trigger-happy cops. 


I'm done. 

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I think you know better than to think that either Troy or I are speaking about a network of white men. What we are discussing is the failure of our generation to build a movement that has empowered Blacks. Every generation up until ours has done their part in creating a stronger Black culture (or at least what they thought would be better) Hip-hop culture, our music, and our movies have contributed to the destruction of much of the progress that was attained through the 70s.


I tend to base my discussions on my life and what I find to be true. I do research a lot as well, but I always think my experience is often the best source (albeit isolated). I know for a fact when I was a child the door didn't have to be locked when I went to sleep. I was raised in the most impoverished neighborhood in Memphis. The child of a single parent household where 6 people lived in a two bedroom apartment. In the 70s I could walk down the street or 3 miles away without any fear for my life or threat. In the mid 80s to the late 80s  all of this shifted, but I still was not afraid of where I lived. I did however start seeing Crips and Bloods in Memphis. How is it this happened? We were introduced to it by rap music. We were still poor. I moved to California and in the early 90s even in the worst part of San Diego and LA, there was honor among thieves. What I think is interesting is that I have seen the influence of rap music over the last 20 years as it shifted from party and empowerment to party, misogyny and violence (this shift changed as the music became more popular... also just because white kids are buying doesn't mean Black kids aren't listening). So I'm not aiming in the dark. I've seen kids from Memphis to Los Angeles mimic their heroes. When I was in the classroom from 95 to 2011, I saw the acting out of the lyrics and music videos. As a basketball coach, I saw kids living what they thought was cool based on what they listened to. I lost three kids to it. These were kids that didn't even live in the neighborhoods, the worst neighborhoods in San Diego, who found themselves dressing and acting like their heroes. 


You can be done all you want, I'm not. I talk to kids every day or whenever I get a chance about how powerful words are. I know for a fact these kids and parents build their entire personas on what they see on television. You asked what about the kids who say they know it's just music... You know what internalization is so answer your own question. What people think is often subconscious and not on the surface and very often they don't even know what they believe. I've seen words, repetitious words destroy lives because those words became actions that couldn't be reversed or stopped. 


This is not a problem I'm sure you can see or understand because it's not the problem you grew up in. Your problem that you've seen and grown up in was Civil Rights. This new problem is a Hip-hop problem and the biggest problem with most people who are in a prominent position is they just don't see how this music has been so destructive. While you state a sarcastic statement in repetitious lyrics that teach kids not to be killed by cops. I actually think you are right. If rappers sat down and all organized and began to create empowering images of Blacks and created songs that could both party and uplift, maybe just maybe we could fix ourselves. Because at the end of the day, I'm not afraid of a cop. I'm more afraid of my own brothers... it wasn't like this before rap music and the attitudes it created in my generation.


I won't pretend to overlook the systemic problems: Reagan's cut to colleges, Clinton's removal of jail programs that reduced recidivism, the influx of guns and the horrible poverty that has generated gangs and drug dealers. But what I find interesting is that you seem to overlook that your generation damn sure had things a lot harder than my generation did and you didn't kill each other. Maybe having a common enemy in the White man was the saving grace of previous Blacks?


If our(black folks) situations were far more dire all the way through the 70s, what the hell happened that made my generation so violent? It couldn't be that the images and words we hear daily, that have changed us created our problems could it? No way, it's stupid to think music and words can affect the mental status of people. That's impossible right?


In regard to the the cabal of white men controlling Black men, it amazes me that none of these Black men (wealthy) black men have taken the time to create distribution networks, television stations or anything of substantial value to the culture outside of increasing the wealth of white men and themselves. We have more black millionaires than in any moment in history, but we have more death and decreasing college enrollment and broken families now than any other time. Keep thinking that it's not in the music, I will keep talking and writing about how it is.



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I'm not stuck in the '50s civil rights era or removed from what's happenin in today's world. I lost my 22 year old grandson and a 17 old grand nephew to drive-by shootings. Waaay back in the 40s my late husband lost his uncle to gun fire.What does this prove?  Nothing more than what your story proves. Shit happens. I don't think either grandson or nephew were big rap fans; they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have another 23 year old grandson who has served time in jail and has 2 babies by 2 different skeezers.  He's a triflin dude who thinks Lil Wayne is a fool but likes him just the same.  Whatever. You can't win 'em all.   I have other grand children who are just the opposite. Over-achievers - who also listen to rap.


I don't live in a bubble, I live in a suburb of Chicago and previously lived in another suburb of Chicago which was a microcosm of Chicago aka "Chi-raq" because of the crime and violence that permeates the streets of its Bronzeville and Hispanic neighborhoods. This is nothing new in Chicago. It has always gone on but was under reported which was why in days past it was known as the underworld.  So Rap is art imitating life and - life is a bitch. And the NRA is an enabler.


Your love-hate relationship with Rap music kinda clouds the issue. You wondered previously which came first the "egg" of rap or the "chicken" of the thug life.  Have you decided on an answer to this yet? 


I'm so used to people blaming things on the omnipresent  White Man that I wasn't sure just who you and Troy were blaming for the havoc of Rap.  I thought at first you were maybe talking about the white Ad industry when you used the code "Corporate America" because advertisers are the pillars of corporations


Sorry, but your monologue didn't shock or enlighten me. (I've heard it all before including what the guy on the video is saying.  Question: Who are the villains?  Da white man or da niggas puttin out the records? It's all very ambiguous. ) "Time brings change" has always been my mantra and currently my "hope" for the future. 

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