Wednesday, July 19, 2006

When Educated Folks Go Off On Hip-Hop

I’ve seen this article floating around the web for about two weeks now. I feel the need to comment because I can, and also because he referenced Paul Lawrence Dunbar who was an amazing brother. Check him out, I've enjoyed almost every work of his I’ve read over the years.

I will qualify my remarks by noting that I’m an old-school hip-hop head that has been retired for a while now. I haven’t watched a music video on MTV or BET in years, rarely listen to Urban radio, and I probably can’t identify more than 2 or 3 songs on the Billboard Top 10 Rap Chart. Also I used the word “Nigga” in conversation like 3 times a year. So maybe my comments on current hip-hop artist might not be the most relevant unless we’re talking about the likes of The Roots or Outkast. Anyway my thoughts…

While a powerful read I don’t believe we can blame rappers for all of the nihilism in black communities today. Not to underestimate the influence of music (this would be an injustice to songs like Billy Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”) but most music is made to titillate and entertain which I really got no problem with. I’m all for musicians who take on a mantle of social responsibility in our neglected communities, but if Luda or Ice Cube is the best black American got to speak for us we have some inherently deeper issues to confront. I hope we ain’t waiting for a rapper to lead the revolution. That being said………..

I must admit Dr. Cobb brings it hard and heavy with his assessment of many of the so-called gangsta rappers of today and their attitudes. I love this part:

Of all their claims, the charge that Oprah sold out to win points with
her white audience is the most tragically laughable. The truth is that
her audience's white middle-class kids exert waaay more influence over
50 and Cube than their parents do over Oprah. I long ago tired of
Cube, a thirty-something successful director, entrepreneur and married
father of three children making records about his aged recollections
of a thug's life. The gangsta theme went cliché eons ago, but Cube, 50
and a whole array of their musical peers lack either the freedom or
the vision to talk about any broader element of our lives. The reality
is that the major labels and their majority white fan base will not
accept anything else from them.

Just read the whole thing. Should make you think a little.

ARTICLE

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