Thursday, September 13, 2007

Indefensible Music

I can no longer defend Hip-Hop music. I can't defend the materialism, the misogyny, the glorification of drug-use and the criminal lifestyle, the glorification of violence against other Black people. I can't defend it on the grounds that it is just reflecting what's been going on in the streets for years. It isn't. It is glorifying it and thereby perpetuating it.

I was listening to a song the other day with lyrics that talked about being in love with "The dope boy". Too far. What the hell kind of message is that to send to young Black kids? We are growing a generation of criminals. Uneducated, unaware, uncultured, unconscious criminals. A generation where you get more respect from your peers for going to prison than for going to college. We are growing a generation of kids who care more about the rims on their cars and the diamonds on their fingers than providing for their families.

I remember back in the eighties when Hip-hop music was extremely materialistic and was all about how much gold you had around your neck and what kind of sneakers you wore or what kind of designer frames. Kids were gettin' beatin' up for their sneakers, losing eyes because some overzealous thief was trying to snatch off their Cazels and had poked them in the eye in the process, getting shot and robbed of their necks full of solid gold slave chains. It was ridiculous and there was no doubt that the music was perpetuating this. It became even more evident that this materialism was being driven by the music industry when music caused it to change. Namely, Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers, X-Clan, and even the Native Tongue Family of Brand Nubians, De La Soul, and groups that began to promote unity and Black awareness and the search for knowledge rather than gettin' yours at all cost. Suddenly it was cool to read a book, to treat your sister like a Black Queen instead of a mere sexual conquest, to treat your brother like your brothers instead of criminal opportunities or obstacles on your own road to success. We have now slid backwards.

Jay-Z, 50 cent, Cash Money Records, and many others like them have raised the type of materialism that took hold of the ghettoes in the eighties to all new heights. Instead of Gold it's now about Platinum and diamonds. Instead of Lincolns and Cadillacs it's now about Mercedes and Lexus. It's about expensive Champagne, $2,000 rims for your car, a new Rolex, all the things most black people cannot afford and should not even be worrying about. The exploitation of women in music have now reached heights undreamed of by previous generations. Gangsta rap has now given way to, for lack of a better word, "Bling Rap", which is every bit as dangerous.

When gangsta rap first hit besides all the negative affects it had it did have one positive. It made it cool to be poor, and the grimier the better. Groups like Wu Tang Clan and Onyx brought grimy to a whole new level, even as recently as 2000 DMX was still championing the cause of the grimy though he still carried all the other ills of gangsta rap in the glorification of violence, crime, and misogyny. Now, having anything less than platinum on your neck, rims on your car, and a bottle of Cristal in your hand, makes you a sucker to most fans of Hip-hop. So in addition to those now willing to sell-drugs to their own people, which is about the biggest sell-out you can be in my opinion. A Black Republican who votes against Affirmative Action is less of an Uncle Tom than a Black Drug dealer selling drugs in his own community and killing other Black people over drug turf, though slightly less of an Uncle Tom than the fool who glorifies it in song. But I digress, in addition to the gangstas, we now have idiots ruining their credit trying to live up to this new ridiculous cultural aesthetic of conspicuous wealth. It is pure stupidity and yes the music is to blame. So, fuck Hip-hop! That's right, fuck it. If you are still stupid enough to listen to this crap it will still continue to get made.

Support Mos Def. Support Talib Kwali. Support The Roots. Support Common. Fuck Jay-Z. Fuck 50 Cent. Fuck Lil' Wayne and every other sell-out who's out there making a living by perpetuating stereotypes and teaching young kids that it's cool to sell drugs, get high and drunk all the time, disrespect women, and kill other Black men. So I'm not saying fuck all hip-hop. Still support the good shit,the shit with a real positive message, but fuck all the rest of it. Buy another Jay-Z or 50 Cent CD and you're a sell-out too.