Dr. Beardhussein asks a few tough questions about Rap Music.
It’s 1:20 in the morning on Tuesday, December 4th. Happy Birthday goes out to Shawn Corey Carter.
I just got done eating some leftover pot roast and rice and I’m feelin’ good. I listened to a Joe Budden interview over at www.hiphopdx.com and it, along with Meka Soul’s latest blog inspired today’s entry.
There are unprecedented levels of fuckery going on in the world of Rap Music and R’n’B. This site’s readership is, as far as I know, all hip-hop fans, so you know of what I type.
I have made a concentrated effort to keep away from more of the rap news and gossip sites that I frequent, with the exception of www.NahRight.com and the aforementioned Hip-HopDX site. T’be honest, I check out HHDX because Meka Soul (“Slap Boxing with Jesus”) is a friend of mine, and I check out Nah because it’s basically all news and no annoying editorial content. I mean, Eskay does his commentary every now and then, but he tends to limit his own input and let the Commenters discuss the topic.
Plus, the E-Fam is there and I gotta chop it up with those crazy bastards and bastardettes.
With the fucked up state that Rap and it’s fans are in, I have to ask some questions that have been flying around my head, only contained by my 7 3/4 Knicks fitted.
Here ya go:
Q1– Have rap’s fans abandoned the artists? Or have the artists abandoned the fans?
A1– I’m of the mind that the artists have let down the fans. At first it was just the hopping on new trends and annoying fads. Then it was the copycat nonsense that the SuperProducer Era brought in. However, I’m convinced that the main way the artists have abandoned the audience is the complete lack of creativity in the lyrics today. Think about it, we’ve been in the materialistic, high-fashion, cars, guns, and drugs era for the last 15 years. Fifteen Years! We’ve been listening to these assholes talk about the same thing for a decade and a half. It was neat at first, but now it’s just redundant and old as fuck. Think about it, if every stand-up comedian did the same topics–Politics and Married Life–and half the new comedians use well-known recycled jokes, wouldn’t you give up on stand-up too? If Katt Williams did a skit about Lionel Richie saying, “I’m Lionel Richie, asshole!” and a skit about, “What if the internet was a high school?” wouldn’t you go, “Wait.. Dave Chappelle did this shit already!!” and change it? I know I would.
Q2– “Which came first, The Music or the Misery?”
A2– Or, to put it another way, Did the hood create the music, or–20 years after NWA–is the music encouraging the hood? First off, I’m in the suburbs. I’ve never really spent time in an inner-city, and I’ve been Blessed to have escaped what knuckle-headed folk there may be in my area. That being said, you really have to put aside the initial burst of defensive anger and racial whatnots and examine the question impartially. I’m sure life in the projects or the gang-infested areas sucks. I’m sure having friends die of mindless violence is hardening and horrible.
The question needs to be asks tho’, with an entire industry set up to exploit the mythos and mystery of “Urban Life”, don’t people just say, “Okay, this can’t be right.” I feel like I sound real ignorant right now, but all I mean is: Don’t you/they/us/we get tired of perpetuating the cycle? At some point, don’t you go, “Fuck this, I’m not getting involved.”?
Guns, Gangs, Drugs… I understand that some of it is unavoidable, but why do young people jump in feet-first the way they do? Is it their environment, or do they see some asshole with a bandana or a briefcase in a video and go, “That’s that shit!”? I just feel like people are obsessed with the “I got money!” stuff to the point where killing somebody is okay. Seriously, is “Gettin’ Money” in the same group as “All’s fair in love and war”?
Q3– Where is the accountability?
A3– I watched that BET “Hip-Hop vs America” special a month or two ago, and one panelist in particular stood out to me: TI aka TIP aka Clifford Harris. From what I saw, Tip’s whole argument was, “Well, we gotta make the guns, drugs, and mysoginy songs to get radio and TV to play us!”. Look…I may be an Emo Hippie, but dammit, there has just got to be a point where you go, “Ya know? Fuck this. I’m not doing it.”
If artists like Nelly and TI are so concerned with rap’s perception then they need to do their part to change it. They won’t tho’, because they’re too concerned with being a fucking businessman that they won’t stand up to their corporate overlords. Grand Hustle and Derrty Entertainment make a lot of money, and those little side-labels and tax shelters won’t exist if they don’t kiss Big Daddy Money’s ring. These artists shrug their shoulders and they go, “It’s what the people want.”
You know what Uncle The Hussein thinks? I think people are quite blinged out and everyone gets it but the people in charge of creating and manufacturing the music.
Q4– Where do the corporations fit in?
A4– I’ll fucking tell you where they fit in. They are marketing and sacrificing and entire genre, an entire culture, and an entire Generation to the gods of the Almighty Dollar. It’s well known fact that young white males are the main consumers of hip-hop as a product. It’s well known that young white females are the main buyers of CDs and digital music.
What do these young kids always get around to doing eventually? They play around with Negro Fire in an attempt to rebel against their parents.
The only problem is, how the fuck do you rebel against a generation of people who Marched on Washington, who dropped acid at Woodstock, whose music is drug and anti-authority. I’m not talking that mall punk, “Teachers and Parents suck!” anti-authority. I’m talking no nukes, civil rights, end vietnam anti-authority.
Answer? They can’t. Not conventionally.
So what do they do? They decide to sag their jeans. They blast rap music filled with profanity and violence. They talk with an accent. “Mom and Dad” become “Ma and Pops”. That’s right. Those rebellious honkeys act “black”. Now those former radical hippies have gotten all this rebellion out of their system and are more concerned with botox and Viagra than they are with rising up against the Man. They look at little Billy with his saggy jeans and fitted hat and they get nervous. They see Becca with the big name-plate earrings and the black boyfriend and they go, “Oh my God! Our perfect ivory children have been lured in by the appeal of Negro Culture!”.
After spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on chirp-enabled phones, Rocawear’n’Sean John’n’G-Unit clothes, rap CDs, fitted hats, those kids have successfully rebelled aginast their parents by tapping into the deep-rooted (and not so deep-rooted) racism that lies within most white folks in the Baby Boomer generation. And what does Big Bidniss do? They count their dough. They know they’ve gotten their share of that disposable teen/tween income and when those kids grow up they’ll be good little consumers and not cause a ruckus.
But What happens to the minorities?
Well, we get the honor and privelege of blindly supporting those same artists under the banner of “That’s our struggle!”. We get the privelege of soaking up all the genuine negativity of the “music” and go on to kill, rob, and poison the people in our own environment. The cycle is repeated. The white kids that wanna rebel will always have Big Bidniss around to entice the youth with Pandora’s Box containing Eve’s Apple of Minority Culture. The white kids rebel. The minorities bleed. “…and the white man get paid offa all of that”.
Q5– Is there any hope?
A5– I am an eternal optimist. I will always believe in Allan Houston’s ability to make that shot against Miami. I will always believe that Larry Johnson can hit that 4 point play against Reggie Fucking Miller and the Pacers. I think that as sales decline, only the true artists will continue to make music. I think that with physical CD sales slowing down to a halt, that the need for major labels will die–and with it their corporate leeches. When that happens, I believe that there will be a return to craftsmanship. Heck, we’re seeing that now with the release of albums such as Hip-Hop is Dead, American Gangster, and The Cool–all rap albums with concepts and fleshed out ideas–and not just commercials for the newest ugly trend in tight-fitting, quasi-homosexual “streetwear”.
I know I’m gonna get a lot of shit for the 2nd Question, but ya gotta understand that I believe that after 20 years of violence, drugs, and mysoginy, some of that shit has to have negative music at it’s heart. Maybe not in the inner cities where that shit is a reality regardless of the music, but at least in towns on the fence between decency and fuckery. Lord knows there are a sizable amount of knuckleheads who got a bad idea from a song and didn’t give two shits about right vs wrong.
Having shitty parents is probably a factor, but I’m sure there are a ton of kids with awful parents who still knew better than to let some song convince them to kill, rob, or poison another human being.
Call Reynolds, Cuz it’s a Wrap
Alright kids, I’m outtie. Feel free to leave comments with your own answers or questions, and we’ll see if we can’t have a good debate about this.
Talk is good, discussions are better, and even if things get heated, just remember:
It ain’t that serious.
Extra Credit: This is the Fort Minor (Linkin Park rapper/singer Mike Shinoda’s rap collective) song, “Cigarettes”. Pay attention to the lyrics. They sorta go over some of what I said in this post.