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Hip Hop And Black Creativity....

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Sometimes when I'm driving down the street and listening to Hiphop...especially old school Hiphop artists like Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Pete Rock And CL Smooth, ect....I have to marvel and shake my head at the creativity and wisdom involved in coming up with the lyrics they rhyme.

Not just the lyrics but the flow.

When you sit down and think about it, you have to say there's a Divine Spark in some of these brothers that allow them to not only come up with the words but to put them together in such a captivating and entertaining way.

It's just a shame that it's often used negatively.

Nobody can tell me that that same Creativity can't be used to build buildings, come up with cures for diseases, repair severed limbs, ect.....


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What a waste of time and what a bunch of useless nonsense. Its a bunch of machine’s not real music and some clown singing about knockin up ho’s, shooting, selling drugs, and wearing silly looking clothes.—- hip hop ! Get a job.

I saw a supposed hip hop guy over the weekend in his 40’s and he looked and acted like a complete idiot. He talked and acted like a 14 year old. Im not kidding.  

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1. For a man in his 40s to look and feel good enough to act like a 14 is a BLESSING.
Many people in their 40s are thinking about heading into old age and have health concerns.

If you gave me the strength and energy at 60 to run around acting like a teenager...I'd trade in the "maturity" for that wonderful feeling!

2. You're talking about the CURRENT (past 30 years) generations of Hiphop.
But when you look at Hiphop from 1995 and prior to that...you seen an entirely different brand.
Far more creativity, style, and lyrical creativity.

Even when it comes to so-called Gangsta Rap....the lyrics were potent and hard hitting and you have to wonder where did the talent come from to come up with the lyrics and put them together like that.

Here's just one example from around 1990 in Ice Cube's  The Product

Listen to how he tells the journey of being conceived after his parents had sex all the way up through becoming a baby, going through the racist school system, and dropping out to become a criminal on the street and eventually incarcerated and contemplating suicide as he laments over his jacked up life......all in a matter of 3 minutes or so.

The GENIUS involved.
The SAMPLES used to mesmerize you while you listen to the story.

With due respect to them.....neither Edgar Allen Poe nor Shakespeare couldn't hold a light to this!

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@Pioneer1, that's what black folks do almost effortlessly. We've been doing it for thousands of years.


Innate creativity comes from a divine wisdom and spirituality that cannot be taught or trained.


Hip-Hop lyricists do not have advanced degrees in art,  literature, poetry and prose, etc., yet they're able to paint pictures with words over the music we produce. 


This is just one example of how black folks are supremely gifted and talented. We just take it for granted.  😎

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Trouble T-Roy

Man, thank you for that wonderful jam!!!

I was wondering what Cube got some of his samples from.

You're a little older than I am so when you hear those 90s Hiphop songs and their samples you can pinpoint the ORIGINAL songs they were sampled from more accurately.

Sly's song was more uplifting and inspiring.
Certainly more uplifting than feeling things were so bad that he wished his father would have shot his sperm on the mattress instead of in his mother....lol.

You didn't see the amount of destitution and depression and hopelessness among the artists of the 60s and 70s that you started seeing among the artists of the 90s and certainly not like today.

But this illustrates another issue that I've been seeing over the decades.

The DECLINE of creativity among so many of our people as compared to yesteryear.
Right up until the 80s we made our own music from scratch.....no sampling prior music.

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As you all have probably gathered by now...music is a huge part of my life. 😁


I know enough about black music to write a book but I'm just a musician.🤭


Black music has always documented our plight...peace, joy, happiness, love, sorrow, sadness, despair, etc.


Music reflects the environment and conditions in which it was created. Listen to black music from any period of time and you'll get an idea of how they were living and saw the world around them.


Once music became a profitable form of entertainment, capitalists scoop it up and eventually dictate the narrative according to what they believe will sell.


Every generation believes music is *worse* than the soundtrack of their lives. But, the reality is there's always been *good* and *bad* music. 


I remember when older folks thought 1990s Hip-Hop was a bunch of noise being made by n8gglets who couldn't sing or play real instruments.🤣


Today's music isn't any better or worse than the music of yesterday.  It's just reflective of the environment in which it's being created. 


No shortage of talent either. For example,  Kendrick Lamar is a throwback to early Hip-Hop lyricists. 


The older we get, the further removed we are from the folks creating music. The folks whose music we listened to have gotten older too. They have branched off into other aspects of entertainment.


It's harder for Ice Cube to make gangsta records now that he's a multimillionaire. His environment and circumstances have changed as well.😎

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Good and bad music is subjective to the listener.
But what we SHOULD be able to agree on within the realms of reason is that the more samples of OTHER people's music an artist relies on for their music, the less creative they are being.

A lot of people sampled James Brown's music....but I don't think he sampled anyone's music who came before him.



Interesting cartoon shorts on the troubles of Rick James....very interesting.

Outside of the sadness of so many of our artists becoming addicted to drugs, another thing I noticed about the second clip is how 

a) There were no women in the cartoon and
b) All of the men had long straightened out or braided hair LIKE women.

This is very telling about them and their mindset.

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@Pioneer1, it really helps to know the history of Hip-Hop in order to understand sampling. Might help with perspective too.


Hip-Hop was built on cats rhyming to records being spun by a DJ i.e. breakbeats. They didn't have a band.


Musical instrument technology allowed DJs and music producers to record (sample)  those breakbeats into a computer and loop them. 


The funny part is that the inventors of the sampling technology had no idea that it would be used that way.


They just figured musicians would record drum sounds and other instrument sounds into a machine to program and play them.


The creativity that is black folks took the original concept of that machine to another level. We turned a machine into a whole band and invented a whole new style of music (Hip-Hop) and influenced electronic music production. 


Of course, black folks do not get credit for it. 😎



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I really think we should get back to mastering musical instruments like the trumpet, piano, drums, ect....and then INVENT more instruments to use.

I saw a Black woman walking around with a guitar the other day and just KNEW she was with a White man for some reason......and later on I saw that devil pop up grinning with her as they bounced down the sidewalk.

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@Pioneer1, bro, you need to listen to more music. You definitely cannot rely on mainstream media to hear it.


There's no shortage of black folks past through present who've mastered every instrument ever invented.


The *problem* is black folks don't have enough outlets for our music.  Those that do exist choose to play the flavor of the month. You're not going to hear a trumpet virtuoso behind a Trap song.


The entertainment business is only interested in pimping, er, selling the McDonald's version of music. 😎

3 hours ago, Delano said:

Black people get pimped for our culture.

Facts. We haven't stopped *selling out* yet. 


After Motown,  I really thought n8gglets would take the lessons learned and make Hip-Hop a black-owned businesss. Nope.


As soon as record companies dangled big checks, nigglets cashed out like they were at a casino. 😎

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57 minutes ago, ProfD said:

After Motown,  I really thought n8gglets would take the lessons learned and make Hip-Hop a black-owned businesss. Nope.


As soon as record companies dangled big checks, nigglets cashed out like they were at a casino

Sly Stone only got the rights to his music back in the last few years of his life. 


Phil Jackson gets paid because he trademarked threepeat. But I believe it was  Byron Scott  who said it.


We create wealth for others.

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@ProfDYesterday i attended what turned out to be a huge gathering of a diverse cross selection of people. My local high school held an all alumni reunion picnic, attracting graduates from all classes. Although this school had been racially-integrated since the 1920s by the time the 1990s rolled around it was about 95 percent black, and there was less than 1 percent of whites who showed up for this crowded event.  As an aside, i might add that as one of the few surviving members of the Class of 1951, it was determined that of about the 3,000 or so people assembled,  I was introduced as the oldest alumni present,  and I became an object of curiosity, especially to the Millennials.. But that's a whole other post. 


What was outstanding to me was the atmosphere of this immense gathering of  black people. It was loud, jubilant, and animated.  (Greg would've recoiled and collapsed into a glob of mayonnaise had he been there.) Naturally, there was music added to the mix via a rotation of DJs playing upbeat music.  For some reason, what i became most synchronized with was the throb of house music, which as you know originated in Chicagoland. and is a genre almost cult like in its limited popularity and for some reason it became the only background music being played  as the day wore on. I say all of this to point out there were no lyrics to the selections being played, just an incessant throb of drums and instrumental syncopation. I was almost mesmerized by this sound while the crowd just seemed  naturally attuned with the incessant beat. When my 2 daughters and  i were finally ready to go, walking toward our car i could still hear those drums in the distance.


I say this to say that sometimes no words are necessary to verbalize the environment.  Just a captivating beat. Music is also what sustains me. 

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@Cynique, it's awesome that you were able to attend your school's reunion and be  recognized too.


The drum is the genesis of music.  Strip away every other instrument including vocals and as long as the beat goes on, we're good.


Soul brother #1 James Brown understood, embodied and emphasized the beat to perfection.


James Brown laid the blueprint and heavily influenced black music from the 1960s and beyond. That's why his beats were heavily sampled too. 


Chicago's House and DC's Go-Go music grew are great examples of a beat keeping folks entertained for hours. 


The Whispers knew it to when they sang....and the beat goes on....😎

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@Cynique I was fortunate to see  Rap in Haffen park in the Bronx. Cool Herc the was the architect of Hip Hop his dad had a the record store two blocks from my home. I also saw house in the last days of the Paradise Garage. The DJ was Larry Levan and he took Frankie Knuckles under his wings. Which is where Frankie learnt how to DJ. He was initially doing the lights. Frankie is from New York. Larry Levan turned down the gig in Chicago and suggested Frankie Knuckles. I grew up on rap and later became a house head. Later on I heard some Jazz Legends play live. As luck would have I also met the leader of a band called The Family Stand. Went to a couple of their shows. One of which the female lead Jackie McGhee brought me on stage and sang a song to me. 

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On 7/10/2022 at 12:54 PM, ProfD said:

Today's music isn't any better or worse than the music of yesterday.  It's just reflective of the environment in which it's being created. 

I not sure, you are a musician and may know more. 

The discoverability of the variety of music out there today (as with books) has become more challenging today despite the web and technology. So I don’t know what am missing.


That said i mostly listen to music before my time. Sly Stone heyday was really my parents generation. A lot of the jazz i listen to was recorded before i was born. 

i don’t listen to the really popular music (on the charts) unless I’m in public. Much of the popular local music never makes the charts (like Black books). There is a gene of music i call it ”hole in the wall music.” A local, Tampa, musician who recently passed was Bishop Bullwinkle was fun.


@Cynique house music was extremely popular in NYC when i was a young adult.

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@Troy,  we start out listening to our parents music.  For most, the soundtrack of our lives is the music created by our peers.  As we get older, our taste in music becomes refined and we gravitate towards music that appeals to us regardless of the genre/style and whether it is old or new.   That's how we eventually end up listening to a variety of music across time periods and genres. 


There are folks who were diehard Hip-Hop heads back in the 1990s.  As middle-aged adults, they're listening to Smooth Jazz and R&B and they can't stand the Trap music and Mumble Rap their children and grandkids are bumping. 🤣😎


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However it's also clear that music...especially in the AfroAmerican community....is heavily manipulated by those in power.

It's like the life or energy we were discussing in another thread.
They may not be able to create it, but they have learned to MANIPULATE it somewhat and control it to their ends and desires.

They can look at HIphop and if 90% of it is positive and uplifting while 10% is negative and inspires destruction....they may not be able to control the ratio of that creativity but they CAN control what is played over the air and what gets promoted.

So they'll PROMOTE Gangsta Rap as opposed to the more Conscious and Afrocentric rap even if positive rap predominates in reality.
They'll PROMOTE the thug-life....sporting tattoos and weed smoking.
They'll PROMOTE Mumble Rap that make Black youth sound like drunken apes....as opposed to the smooth and witty rappers that dazzle the world with the eloquence and articulation of Black American vernacular.

"Hey, how about promoting Big Daddy Kane?"


100 Big Daddy Kane ideas | big daddy kane, big daddy, real hip hop

"Well....the hair cut is nice and creative.
The gold jewelry is attractive.
His lyrics are crisp, clear, and well composed.
He's slim, handsome, and well dressed, but......nahh
I don't think the women will find HIM attractive enough to really
keep up sales

Hey I have a better idea!
Let's promote THESE guys: "



Birdman Is Suing Jay Z and Tidal for $50 Million for Streaming Lil Wayne's  Mixtape

"Now see....THESE guys have the total package!
The tattoos covering up their brown skin...
Very little jewelry...
Can barely understand what the hell they're saying....
Don't dance....just rock around on the stage like a pack of staggering apes.....

Now THAT'S what the people want!
The women will SURE go for these guys and increase our sales.

And if they don't....well...we'll PAY a bunch of women to PRETEND to 
find them attractive and hopefully a new generation of girls will be 
trained into doing so".

But the question really is......

WHO BENEFITS from smooth, handsome, intelligent Black men being removed from Hiphop and replaced by ugly, grimey, mumble-mouthed criminals?

They certainly don't make BLACK MEN look better and more attractive......so who DO they make look better by comparison????

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@Pioneer1, that control and manipulation of music and everything else ties back to codification and commodification.


White folks have mastered it all over the planet. They control all wealth even if it appears to belong to another group. 


White supremacy has been way ahead of the capitalism game. They only had a 400 year head start.


Black folks will never be able to ketchup in that regard. But, that shouldn't stop us from controlling that which we create from the product to the narrative. 😎

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No it shouldn't, but what WOULD and often DOES stop our people from controlling that which they Create is LAZINESS.
Not wanting to spend the mental energy it takes to understand and codify what they do and then protect it and pass it down from one generation to the next.

Like you said earlier, they'll Create things all day long and then move on to the next Creation while White folks will grasp it, study it, codify it, and then incorporate it as their own.  
Kind of like the birds that spread the seeds from one place to another producing trees and other forms of vegetation.
The birds may not enjoy the produce from their efforts; they're just doing what comes nature.
But humans who are far more intelligent will!

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1 hour ago, Pioneer1 said:

Kind of like the birds that spread the seeds from one place to another producing trees and other forms of vegetation.
The birds may not enjoy the produce from their efforts; they're just doing what comes nature.
But humans who are far more intelligent will!

False metaphor. Birds don't spread seeds.  They eat and enjoy them.  The wind spreads the seeds in the natural scheme of things.  





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Storytelling has been Lamar’s greatest skill and most primary mission, to put into (lots of) words what it's like to grow up as he did—to articulate, in human terms, the intimate specifics of daily self-defense from your surroundings. Somehow, he’s gotten better.

-- Matthew Trammell, Pitchfork


Regina Carter (Chair)

Violinist, Maywood, NJ

Paul Cremo

Dramaturg/Director of Opera Commissioning Program, The Metropolitan Opera

Farah Jasmine Griffin

William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies, Columbia University

David Hajdu

Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

David Lang*

Composer, New York, NY

7 hours ago, Greg said:

Why endorse such garbage music ? Who wants to see a bunch of thugs with out of wedlock babies, tattoo’s, and dreadlocks singing about nonsense.  They talk jibberish. 

You have one of the leading cultural institutions in the country, and one of the leading Universities in the world, acknowledging Rap.

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@Greg I have included a link describing the Pulitzer prize.


Pulitzer Prize, any of a series of annual prizes awarded by Columbia University, New York City, for outstanding public service and achievement in American journalism, letters, and music. Fellowships are also awarded. The prizes, originally endowed with a gift of $500,000 from the newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer, are highly esteemed and have been awarded each May since 1917.



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@Greg is more into pronouncements than dialogues.

I just realised that @Greg is partially talking about himself.

Except for the violence, and having little to no connection to Black culture. He is a Troll. He creates a lot of post all disparaging of Black people, and rarely displays reason. Nor does he discuss points. What he has done is littered the site with negativity and false hoods. In the last month four out of the last nine post were from Greg. 




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39 minutes ago, Delano said:

He is a Troll. He creates a lot of post all disparaging of Black people, and rarely displays reason. Nor does he discuss points. What he has done is littered the site with negativity and false hoods.

Yep. He's definitely pulled enough clay targets for us to shoot down. 


I think/hope we'll eventually *bury*  him and  his BS with facts and a twist of humor.  😎

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Greg, whether he is black or white, invalidates himself because he is not an ideal alterative to what he condemns. He doesn't want blacks to embrace what is positive and unique about who they are, he simply wants to give them a make-over as white.  He really believes that "white is right" and that being it absolves a multitude of sins. He is undoubtedly in denial about the caliber of the white cretins involved in the January 6th attack on the Capitol. He's too biased to be respected, and is only good for making himself the butt of jokes.  😄

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1 hour ago, Cynique said:

 He's too biased to be respected, and is only good for making himself the butt of jokes

You are prescient, and you encapsulated my response. The white gold standard is something a lot of whites also don't pass. I grew up and continue to partake in both Black and white culture. I have talked with every class. I have talked with a white racist South African and he said I was the sharpest guy he met. I have talked with a homeless man. I have talked with q prostitute on New Year's Eve, and after saying I wasn't buying she told me about prostitution as we walked down 10th Ave. I have talked with the CEO of American Express. Rockstars Movie stars, a pregnant Japanese dominatrix et Al. We could have a conversation because I think and can listen without judgement or being star struck. 


Greg is in contempt of that which his betters have lauded as being the height of culture. His comments are more about his personal inadequacies which are not shared by the entire group that he decides and has contempt.


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