Does Hip Hop Ruin Black America’s Spotlight?

  • Share on Tumblr

Hip hop, no matter how much we love it, contributes to racism in our world. I’m prepared to defend this point to everyone and anyone at any given time. While we love our genre, we have to keep in mind, that it’s hurting us, more than helping us.

A close friend of mine always likes to remind me that while I say hip hop is evolving, it’s becoming more dangerous than it’s ever been. The point is that with the globalization of hip hop, we have to have the introspective view to see how it hurts the image of Black peoples in America. When we were the only ones listening to hip hop, it was acceptable to air our dirty laundry. However, people listening to hip hop nowadays are only given a message that we’re a dysfunctional community obsessed with money, women and drugs.

People always ask me why I feel so adamant that we need to examine this issue so deeply and I ask them about this scenario:

Let’s say you live in Russia and you have no idea what Black people in America are like, you’ll listen to a popular hip hop song or album to get a clue. You’ll likely listen to Jay-Z, Kanye West, or Rick Ross because they’re the most popular figures in hip hop right now. What message will you glean from them? In addition to music that is laced with a word that we call each other in private, but would prefer that not everyone calls us, you’d hear stories of selling drugs or spending enormous amounts of money on frivolous things.

That’s the image of Black America that the world receives when they listen to our music.

I think I’m big meech Larry Hoover,

whipping work, halleluiah,

one nation under god real niggas getting money from the fucking start.

I think I’m big meech Larry Hoover,

whipping work, hallelujah,

one nation under god real niggas getting money from the f*cking start.

In our own private homes this music doesn’t mean much to us because we know Black America. For every dope dealer or overspender, there’s a guy out there who works hard and is highly educated who doesn’t. However, that’s not what the world sees. The bigger problem is the percentage of ourselves that is represented in our music. You see, other folks have a plethora of great examples of how their music or entertainment doesn’t represent their full body of work. However, 95% of all entertainment that Black America produces is ratchet. Think about it, how many television shows or musical artists can you think of in Black America don’t paint us in a bad light? Not many. Even the ones that do never get the mainstream airplay that the others do.

When a song like, “Niggas in Paris” hits the top of the charts, I cringe. I can’t stand the fact that there’s somebody out there outside of America who is rapping that song word for word. They tell themselves, they’re down with the hip hop culture, but really they’re not. They don’t deserve that privilege, they haven’t worked for it, they will never be able to understand that music is ours. Therefore, I’m asking that as a people we pay attention to these matters. We’ve got to start elevating our artists who don’t produce trash and we’ve got to demand that the ones, who do understand that they’re wishes to get rich, aren’t worth losing the race.

You know how many hot bitches I own?

Don’t let me get in my zone

The stars is in the building

They hands is to the ceiling

I know I’m bout to kill it

How you know, I got that feeling

You are now watching the throne

Don’t let me into my zone

Really Kanye? Really?

What are your thoughts on hip hop? Do you think we might lose the battle if we put these racially charged lyrics on the forefront of our culture? Let me know. I’m J, and I’m out.

- Dr. J

  • Share on Tumblr

From Our Partners

  • Antonio Maurice Daniels

    Very good job with this piece! Hip-Hop music, especially it's most popular genre, rap music, reinforces some of the most damaging stigmas, stereotypes, images, and ideas about Black people and Black culture. Through Hip-Hop music, an international audience has an opportunity to hear Black people telling their own narratives about themselves, and, as you have discussed, the international audience primarily gets to hear the worst examples about Black people and Black life in the music the global audience consumes. People can get all sensitive about Hip-Hop music all they want to, but it's presenting Black people in a primarily horrible light globally.
    My recent post Err on the Side of Caution and Watch Your Words

    • http://learninglover.com/blog AfterMath

      Here's what my man Jay had to say:

      "I got the feds sending me letters
      Cause I'm schooling the youth
      But they can't lock me down
      Cause my tool is the truth
      Yeah I sold drugs for a living
      That's a given
      Why is it
      Why don't y'all try to visit the neighborhoods I lived in
      My mind been through hell
      My neighborhood is crime central
      Where cops lock you up more than try to defend you
      I push you to the limit when I'm needing the wealth
      And all I see is life cycle just repeating itself"

      The purpose of hip hop was never to teach about Black culture. If people overseas want that experience, then I can easily recommend some books for them. And just like when you ask the question why can't my defensive end play the QB position in football, you're asking why hip hop can't play a role it wasn't meant to play.

      Like it or not, many of the situations that are talked about in hip hop are real life situations in Black life and so many of us get a sense of therapy from knowing that somebody that we've never even met and don't even know can tell our life story so vividly.
      My recent post Learn Math Through Set Relations

      • lyrically inclined

        Truth!

      • Dr. J

        You sound like a professional basketball player trying to tell the general public that he's not a role model. First off, I disagree with you, hip hop was always a method of sharing the story of Black culture with the world. Second off, regardless of its beginnings, with great power comes great responsibility.

        • http://learninglover.com/blog AfterMath

          I disagree with that. Hip hop didn't start as a business plan like "this is how we gonna be heard over in Europe", it started out as a way to unwind, as a party. And that's something that we lose sight of as we graduate to different educational and economic statuses. I mean, you too good to dance in the club now? Not everybody wants to dace to "I believe the children are the future".

          It has responsibility, but so do radio shows, so do movies, so does everything else in America. People are critical of hip hop because its an easy target. Its the Black kid in the room of white society. Its the kid who doesn't talk in class and is called dumb, or said to be acting up for just telling stories of what goes on in its personal life. I mean, its like its OK for society to treat the Black culture like crap, but when the Black culture talks about it, that's where we have a problem. Nah, if hip hop is a "problem", its a "problem" because society created that "problem" and it will continue to be a "problem" until society goes in and changes the conditions that led to that "problem". Cause all hip hop is doing is talking about it.

          My recent post Learn Math Through Set Relations

        • Dr. J

          Yeah, I thought it would be too complicated to bring up that all forms of entertainment have a responsibility. And I didn't say that was the business plan of hip hop, you did.

          Hip hop's original purpose was to tell a story about what was going on because there was no way to get the message out to the masses. At the time, that was just America. MTV wasn't interested in anything going on in the South Bronx, so that's where we began. Hip hop didn't go global until like Jay-Z…

        • http://ther3m3dy.blogspot.com/ Julian

          I can not relate to what any of these in your opinion “role models’ are rapping about, It is no longer our story.It is now only them rapping about what they themselves can only relate to. And because it is main stream the young ones want to be just like them and guess what !!? the young ones end up locked up in jail !! great just great !

      • Antonio Maurice Daniels

        Here's one significant point of several your response seems to miss: the international audience is not having a chance to hear the particular lyrics you offered in your response. Because of the increasing commodification of Hip-Hop music, it's more profitable to play the lyrics by Hip-Hop artists that depict Black people and Black culture in negative ways. While I very much understand that Hip-Hop music and culture are highly nuanced, the lyrics that are played on the radio and television to the global audience are not the lyrics that reflect the complexity of Black people and Black culture. For the most part, the global audience is bombarded with lyrics and images through Hip-Hop music that would have a significant percentage of the global audience viewing Black people and culture as the wretched of the earth.
        My recent post Err on the Side of Caution and Watch Your Words

        • AfterMath

          What gets played by radio stations and what hip hop artists put out there is two different things. In many ways what's put on the radio stations is controlled by corporate greed and is not connected to telling our story. Listen to some Immortal Technique's, "Freedom of Speech" he talks about this. Listen to Jean Grae's "What Would I Do". Heck even Ludacris's "Tell it Like it Is". This is a big issue in hip hop, in music in general, and even bigger, in the whole entertainment industry.

          How you gonna have diversity if you've got six, my bad I think that's down to three, major record labels? That sounds like an oligopoly to me. And that's a major part in this whole "image" thing we talk about, but since they're the people behind the scenes pulling the strings, they don't get talked about. The same way the Pac and Biggie beef is always put at the hands of Pac and Biggie themselves, and not at the hands of the magazines, radio stations and record labels that helped turn a beef between two rappers make a whole east coast hate a whole west coast and vice versa.
          My recent post Learn Math Through Set Relations

        • rich

          That's well put,on alot of the hip hop albums they have inspirational songs or educational songs but these songs never get air play on the radio. The images they want depicted they allow those interested radio and music videos. We have to try to get control. Of our own music

        • I agree

          I just returned to the US after spending a month in Europe on vacation. I travel often and live abroad, and the above is so true. Sometimes I feel like I’m stepping back in time when I hear comments that are made in my presence or things that are said directly towards me-all because I’m Black and American?! It’s exhausting and annoying to deal with.

      • Cheryl

        Hip Hop, in its earlier forms was about TEACHING not only about Black culture the one's experiences in life. For the most part, since the 90's hip hop has been about nothing more than sex, pimping, greed, money, stripping, consumerism, and violence. NONE of which black communities need anymore of as they are overrun with these things. Which EXPLAINS why black wealth continues to be so far behind other groups. It's just sad and until people STOP excusing this irresponsible behavior and denounce this IGNORANCE, black children will continue to be destroyed, slowly but surely, and the prison complex will be guaranteed to grow!

  • Well Enuff

    Hit the nail on the head with this one. I just came back from Spain, where the ladies love the brothas btw, and people were genuinely surprised at how well spoken and well mannered I was. I even had one guy walk up to me one night and say, "Hey man! I speak English too! F*** you b**** a** muthaf***er. I kick your a** punk b****. You know like rapper?!" #Mindblown. I didn't know whether I should educate him or hit him. So I just said "No Espanol" and walked away… even though I'm half Puerto Rican. Just finished drinking, and went back to the hotel. The sad part is none of the Spaniards who spoke English understood how out of bounds that was. There's no social responsibility in hip-hop. All it's going to do, in it's current state, is perpetuate stereotypes and ignorance in other cultures.

    • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

      This has happened to me, quite a few times. The worst was when a West African school tour on an exchange program attempted to address me with Nigga. I think I cried.
      And let me really not get into what they think Black American WOMEN are like. I KNOW i cried then.

      • John Doe

        This is so true!! During a debriefing for a military mission I was on in Indonesia (which I was the only black medical professional), we were asked questions relating to cultural differences. My question, was about black women and hair weaves and hip hop. It was insulting, but they explained to me that those two topics are what they see and relate to when they see black Americans.

  • http://learninglover.com/blog AfterMath

    "However, people listening to hip hop nowadays are only given a message that we’re a dysfunctional community obsessed with money, women and drugs."

    C'mon now. You're not reducing hip hop to that one are you? These same artists (particularly Jay and Kanye) who have the national attention can paint a million different pictures with their rhymes. Just because some dude over in some foreign country chooses to only accept the ones that promote the stereotypes and the negative mental images they already have isn't a reason to criticize the genre, its a reason to criticize the racism that's existed long before hip hop.

    My recent post Learn Math Through Set Relations

    • Larry

      +1

    • Dr. J

      Not exactly. I'm not saying we should stop producing hip hop. Criticism is appropriate here. It's constructive feedback. There needs to be self-examination into what is being gleaned from the material that is being produced.

      "Just because some dude over in some foreign country chooses to only accept the ones that promote the stereotypes and the negative mental images they already have isn't a reason to criticize the genre, its a reason to criticize the racism that's existed long before hip hop. "

      Bullshit, the gross majority of us don't even like the positive images in hip hop. Nas sold about 115K in one week, Rick Ross sold over 200K, Lil' Wayne sold over 1 million. There is a need for self-examination.

      • http://learninglover.com/blog AfterMath

        See, my problem is that I love hip hop. I don't like to say something like I love "conscious" hip hop, or "lyrical" hip hop or all these adjectives that try to create this elite class of hip hop. Some songs I'm just not feeling. Its hard to explain why, I just don't like them. Others I do. But people who try to draw a line saying "well this is okay, but this is not", its drawing arbitrary lines in the sand and what winds up happening is that a lot of the music we grew up loving wouldn't fit those lines and so we make exceptions for what we love, but not for the new stuff. Or we say well he's Common so he can call a woman a *****, but not Lil Wayne. My opinion: if its good music, then its good music and sometimes you've got to take the good with the bad otherwise you wind up with some watered down stuff that everybody hates.

        As far as the self examination, I put the burden on you, on us, on all of us – not to criticize them, but to establish your own stuff. Yal crated SBM and so now that's a positive conversation topic at the bar instead of some of the negative images from hip hop people don't want to talk about. My boy created the African American Empowerment Blog full of powerful positive Black images. Then there's Awkward Black Girl or Very Smart Brothas or Urban Cusp. I went out and created LEARNINGlover.com cause I wanted to see more positive images of math and computer science.

        And if you don't like an album or the image that an album is putting forward then don't buy it and criticize it and if enough people agree with you, or if you're able to convince the artist that you're right, then cool. But I can't say that a genre is bad just because it airs our dirty laundry for the world to see.
        My recent post Learn Math Through Set Relations

        • Larry

          +2

  • Smilez_920

    The thing with hip hop now is that it lacks subject diversity. Almost Everyone talks about the samething. Hip hop started in the streets so to a certain extent that image will always be there, but the difference between new hip hop and like 80′s hip hop is that rappers use it to bring positive awareness to the bad goin on in the neighborhood not encourage it. Now there are a lot of new rappers who talk about a variety of topics not always drugs, big booty hoes , and chains but atleast in America they don’t always get a lot of shine. I know talib is pretty big outside of the states but we need more artist not afriad to rap about things other than the norm. Heck drake started off like that and that’s what made me like his mixtapes but even he’s trying to be a little thugish now.

    • Dr. J

      They are out there, we're just not listening… I said in my post last week, I listen to Big KRIT because he talks about real stuff. Nobody listens to it. There's definitely diversity, but we don't really pay it any attention. And if we don't pay it any attention, like on a large scale, nobody else is going to.

      • http://learninglover.com/blog AfterMath

        But isn't there something great about knowing that underground artist that nobody else knows? I mean, I listen to J-Live and Jean Grae. My boy listens to Pigeon John. We argue all day about who's better, but its cool. Part of me doesn't want them to blow up because I like them having more control over what they say.

        (and if you want to talk about the artists not owning their own stuff and not being able to say what they really want to say, I'll back you up there because I think that's a big problem with hip hop).
        My recent post Learn Math Through Set Relations

      • Smilez_920

        I think ppl are listening just not enough of the ppl that spend the mainstream dollar. A lot of artist kind of leave their destiny in the record labels hand which isn’t always a great . I like big KRIT a lot, usually artist from the south get big or mainstream shine once they have the whole south behind them. Kind of like T.I. Most of the ” different artist are independent ” but that’s Off topic I guess.

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    Smilez_920: "The thing with hip hop now is that it lacks subject diversity. Almost Everyone talks about the samething."

    Truth. In the late 80's, for every Ice T and Too $hort, there was a Rakim and KRS ONE. In the early 90's for every NWA or Geto Boys, there was A Tribe Called Quest or Pharcyde. From about the mid 90's to the late 00's, hip hop's only popular (read: profitable) form was only gangsta rap, so that's what everyone did. Then Kanye came around saying, "though the fans want the feeling of A Tribe Called Quest, but all they got left is this guy called West". He spoke about the black community's obsession with materialism in All Falls Down and Breathe In, Breathe Out. He was the right person at the right time, because gangsta rap was losing it's appeal.

    Variety is the solution. If Caucasians only had Jersey Shore, Rock of Love, Eminem and Will Ferrell to point to as their cultural influences, they would be just as embarrassed. The difference is whites support positive representations of their culture, so you only get a clean cut Taylor Swift for every Amy Winehouse.

    • Peter Parker

      I definitely agree with you Uncle Hugh. I think what is missing in mainstream Hip-Hop is variety. The variety is not there anymore in mainstream. Now if you are a true hip hop head, you know the other variety of hip-hip is only found in underground hip-hop.

      • Dr. J

        Problem is… Too Short or Ice T wasn't never mainstream. Mainstram hip hop didn't even become a term until after gangsta rap.

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          Hip hop overall wasn't mainstream at the time, maybe with the only exception of Run DMC and Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Then the Straight Outta Compton album dropped and changed the entire genre.

    • Smilez_920

      +1 Hugh. Also I think there are artist that start off like a Kanye. Talking about a variety of different things mixed in with creativity but as they get farther along they change up for better or for worse sometimes. The thing with Kanye is he has the talent to go either way generic or creative and still make dope music for the most part.

      • MeeShe

        Yes! Kanye FELL OFF the dang wagon. period. retired KW fan

    • Larry

      I believe there is variety, it's just not vastly supported by the masses. Like many facets in life, the almighty dollar will control and influence what becomes mainstream and popular.

    • Dr. J

      See my comment above.

    • http://learninglover.com/blog AfterMath

      What's funny is that in the 90s people who were in their 30's back then were saying that real music died in the 70s. This is just a part of getting old.
      My recent post Learn Math Through Set Relations

  • http://twitter.com/kjnetic sith king Jordan

    But there the song from jay, “empire state of mind”…and lupe’s hip hop saved my life…but i honestly wasn’t aware w were fighting a war..i thought “we” were about “keeping it real” whether revolutionary or ratchet…

    I would hope that someone trying to learn about af-am culture would do more than listen to a Rick Ross track…I’m sure there would be a Russian version of “invisible man”..just saying

  • Larry

    Good post.

    As an aside, I just find it interesting that I hear many people say something along the lines of, "It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks", or "I don't care what anyone else thinks, all that matters what I know about myself" or "Don't let what anyone else's opinion of you bother you or affect you, whether positive or negative"….and yet there are countless examples in which we all DO care what people outside of our "circle" think.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't care what others think, especially if painted in a negative light….but if people in Europe who will never visit the US are naive enough to think a certain way about an ethnic group based on a genre of music how is it effecting the group?

    • Dr. J

      Yahtzee!

      We don't care about what anyone thinks about us… but we whining and shit about Gabby's hair and "how come the light skin runner get all the attention?!?!"

      We do, time we admit it. I know I do. When you travel overseas, you get this epiphany about how the world views you. It ain't about what the house next to you thinks about the way your food smells, it's much more bigger than that.

    • http://learninglover.com AfterMath

      Obviously they don’t know about our culture and aren’t interested in learning about it, and its very likely that they aren’t doing anything to help us. So I’d think it has little affect, definitely less affect than letting people know that you’re not the only one that society’s ignoring.

      • Dana

        That's kinda what I was gonna say. Little different spin though. People overseas listening to the big rap stars AREN'T interested in learning about af-am culture. They're just hitting the replay button on a song they like. So when the popular music they are hearing is always about the SAME thing, then they develop assumptions and judgements. The listeners can't be given credit to analyze their media with a critical eye. I'm going to use a somewhat related example. I'm white, (so is my sister) and grew up on a farm and my sister moved to the city when she was 12. For the first time IN HER LIFE, she saw a black person. He was in her grade at school. She stalked him around because she thought he was an Olympic athlete. That's the only way she had ever seen or learned anything about black people was watching the Olympics on TV. When you grow up in remote parts – you aren't exposed to much diversity in anything. Obviously this has changed somewhat with globalization and technology…but there are ALOT of people very sheltered in this world.

  • Beef Bacon

    Music will heal or destroy you. Lyrics matter. Anything you constantly listen to and recite becomes apart of your subconscious. Anyone that does not understand this does not understand the POWER of the mind. Life is hard enough to navigate without all the trash we push into our minds. Looking back over the music I use to listen, I see how that played a factor in my thought process.

    Music has always been used as a message board for our community (and please don't reply about what white folks sing….that's not what this is about…stay focused). During slavery our music kept us going and even gave secret messages about escaping, during the civil rights area our music spoke to our spirits by teaching us how to be positive and about unity, during our 'gansta' era we learned from the lyrical gansters about any and everything negative.

    I hope people give music the serious consideration is needs. I hope we try to understand and THINK about how this music today has help shape us. The tongue is a double edge sword and what comes out of the mouth shows what's in the heart. Until we use our words to bring LIFE, unnecessary death will continue to deplete us.

    WE don’t need other countries and cultures to tell us how BAD this music has been for us. Just look around you and be honest.

    • http://learninglover.com/blog AfterMath

      but the same stuff that makes you laugh can make you cry. That was one of the beautiful things about the slave music, that it was thought to be just about some spiritual concept, but was secretly sending messages, that's why slave owners tried to ban it. And it didn't just send these secret messages cause we could have just whispered to do that. These songs were also inspirational and uplifting (so much so that we sing them today without any underground railroad to follow).

      Hip hop is the same way. I can't count the number of times I've had a song playing in my car and applied whatever the current lyric that was playing to my life at the current moment. Doing so, gives the song a whole new meaning. Case and point is Biggie's "Juicy". Back in the day, I just envisioned myself living like Biggie. I hadn't accomplished anything, I hadn't made it out of the hood. But when I graduated and that song happened to be playing on my CD player, all I could do was smile cause a lot of what he describes in that song was me. Not literally, but I was a young kid getting in trouble being told I wasn't going to be anything but a prisoner, etc. I thought I'd be dead by 25 based on what my teachers were telling me. So now that's one of my songs that just reminds me of what I've been through.
      My recent post Learn Math Through Set Relations

  • Alakaii Hawaii

    I think Hip Hop is distracting. It's what we see most, entertainment. We focus on celebrities, use them as role models, fashion our lives after them, use them as inspiration. Music is meant to be a soundtrack. You use it to mood set. Using musicians as role models or looking at them for life advice, any entertainer or any form of entertainment, it distracts from the greater good that's within the community.

    If I'm so busy wanting a man who is like….*struggles to think of a Hip Hop artist I'd want*….huh. Um. 50 Cent. I like the way he talks and plus he probably gives great hugs cuz he's such a big dude. Anyway. If I'm so focused on 50 Cent I won't notice the brother beside me who's determined to make something of himself the white collar way. 50 Cent gets his endorsements from someone, it should be from a black man and I think that come up deserves more largescale, mainstream, cultural attention.

  • http://www.aworknprogress.com Diana

    We don't like to admit it, but hip hop did/does become the representation of Black "culture." I once read something like, "white people make things popular, Black people make things cool." And by other folks standards, America is the "coolest!" So it's Black folks and from America?! Doubly cool! We can try to say, that they're only selling a product, but eventually it becomes a brand. And it's not just been hip hop. We did it with the blues. Jazz. Motown. R&B. Funk. Say each one of those things and there is a distinct image, a corresponding representation, and then "all" Black folks by extension.

    We can complain that it's unfair, but the truth is we don't have the power to control our image on a wide scale. I think musicians of yesteryear really understood this and worked hard to portray an alternative image. But in this 'do what you want, live how you feel' era, folks don't want to take the responsibility or carry the "weight" of a race on their back. So they try to put distance between in it. Which is all good til Gwenyth Paltrow is tweeting about watching two n**as in Paris…For real. So whether we like it or not, the ignorance of today's hip hop is projected on a continuous loop, believed and imitated, and then boomerangs back and smacks us in the face.
    My recent post Why America is Beautiful Wednesday

  • Streetz

    There is diversity in hip hop. Jays point is that we have to think of the responsibility of the medium. What i want to knwo is why do we have to police hip hop, when country music, rock, and even pop music has had sketchy topics discussed throughout its history?

    Its another example that when blacks have a power position it gets more scrutinized.

    Im not going to look towards a celebrity to accurately represent my culture or be the voice of the voiceless. I strive to create that voice, and all parents should be able to teach their children the same!
    My recent post [INFOGRAPHIC] A look at the @WWE and the past 999 Monday Night RAW episodes

    • Beef Bacon

      "….when country music, rock, and even pop music has had sketchy topics discussed throughout its history? "

      Why does that matter? Why can't we discuss our own issues without dragging other folk and what they do into it? Why can't we clean our own house before we compare ourselves to others? Why is that every time a negative in our community gets pointed out, some of us justify it by saying" well they do it too". As if this somehow makes it okay. Two wrongs never made anything right Streetz. We have to police hip hop because we should police hip hop. The world listens to our music and relates it to us all whether we like that fact or not. Not only that, we all know negativity gets more credence then the positive right now.

      I am tired of people being shocked when we all don't resemble thugs, hoodlums and video-chicks.

      And while I do my best to represent my culture, my small voice is not heard as compared to the black musicians. That song "Amen" makes me shiver. I just heard it last weekend and I literally clutched my bosom and almost cried. What in the world? I listen to everything I hear at least once in order to accurately place in the keep or dispose of pile.

      • Streetz

        Two wrongs dont make a right but why is one wrong highlighted more than another?

        In my comment I said that we do need to be more introspective, Im pointing out other gfacts that show an even bigger issue of society and how they choose to judge us vs them. Cant deny it
        My recent post [INFOGRAPHIC] A look at the @WWE and the past 999 Monday Night RAW episodes

        • Beef Bacon

          Being introspective requires us to highlight our own dirt. When we downplay our negativity by saying "well others do it" we shift reprehensibility to the "other". We should not have to wait on country or rock to clean house before we look at the mess our music has caused.

          We are judging ourselves here…not them. No one else needs to bring to light our own destruction of our community. We know that and can not deny that either. To fix any problem emotions about how you "feel" about the problem should be put on the back burner. Facts work best. The fact is that some of our music hurt the masses.

        • Beef Bacon

          I meant….. we shift responsibility to the "other".

        • Uncle Hugh, BP

          Streetz: "Two wrongs dont make a right but why is one wrong highlighted more than another?"

          Because one is a black artform.

      • Kells

        Beef Bacon, as a child of hip hop, I love it and it is undoubtedly a part of who I am but people do fail to realize that if the ONLY thing that they hear and surround themselves with is

        "I think I’m big meech Larry Hoover, whipping work, halleluiah,
        one nation under god real niggas getting money from the fucking start."

        and other nonsense, then their lives will likely mirror what they listen to..and I'm not saying all of them will become killers and drug dealers, they just won't achieve their full potential.

        Your comment,

        "Music will heal or destroy you… Anything you constantly listen to and recite becomes apart of your subconscious. Anyone that does not understand this does not understand the POWER of the mind."

        is the reason why I started The Thought Campaign (www.thethoughtcampaign.org) I love hip hop again, but I am of an age that not only has a mature ear, but we literally had more diversity in the messaging of our songs. These kids now don't have the diversity in messaging, nor or they old enough/mature to discern what's real and what's not. I have no problem with hip hop…i just want diversity in the messaging in what these kids hear.

  • DeKeLa

    I wonder why do black people care so damn much?

    Music isn't ruing Black America's spotlight, it's our high drop-out rates, the 90% black-on-black violence, the overwhelming majority of the prison population, and the numerous other things that makes me cringe.

    Good news doesn't carry over as much as controversial stereotypes, and we are not alone in that struggle. Asians have "small peen" and "bad driver" stereotypes, white ppl have "lack or rhythm and general evil stereotype, Africans have "Lack of running water and electricity stereotype". People from the NJ Shore area? etc.

    I don't believe any of these cultures care or is as sensitive as we are about the issue. Let's just live our life and do what need to do.

    I'm still banging to Ross, Travis Porter and singing all of Flocka's lyrics out loud.

    • Great article

      ” I wonder why do Black people care so damn much?” Because, after a beautiful day of shopping, eating and touring museums. I hop on the metro like any other person in Europe, but I’m the one who’s approached with raunchy rap lyrics and made to feel uncomfortable because I’m not turned on by the words b**** or n*****.

  • http://twitter.com/el_botin_negro @el_botin_negro

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Is the message most heard in Hip-Hop creating a problem, or is the problem in the streets & Hip-Hop is merely speaking of it? Hip-Hop doesn't create the thug, the thug is already here & Rap is the triumph of his life.

    I notice also, there was a point made of us lacking diversity & variety now… well then Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Big K.R.I.T., Saigon, The Roots, J. Cole, Yelawolf, Common, Talib Kweli, Outkast (Andre 3000 especially), Bun B., & Kanye West must not exist. These guys are actually quite popular but they don't & won't ever receive the platform that rappers such as Lil' Wayne, Rick Ross, Waka Flocka Flame, or 2 Chainz have because their messages are more political & less "just get up & dance".

    Did you know that in America hardly anybody knows who Living Legends, Jedi Mind Tricks, Sage Francis, Apathy, Lil' Brother, etc. are? Yet if you go overseas these guys are putting on sellout tours & shows, they have a global following on par with those such as Jay-Z or Eminem… even if they can't be heard here unless they sellout their ideals & their actual voice to become mainstream.
    More than Hip-Hop, we need to look at our youth as who they view as a hero… look at the parents raising them & question what are they allowing into their home at all aspects, not just Hip-Hop… why is it that "God Forgives, I Don't" (Rick Ross) sold more than "Life Is Good" (Nas), especially after many say the former shouldn't exist as it taints his catalog & the latter has produced possibly his greatest work ever.

    I grew up during a time when you had Gangster Rap, the East-West battles, rise of G-Funk, & the South's coming of age… yet I sought the "verse that had a purpose", how do we change the youths train of thought to care more about what is being said than the production behind it?

  • Pingback: Defending the Race: Black People Aren't Perfect |()

  • dave

    We don't own or run these companies that sign these artist nor do we buy the majority of hip hop cd. The reason why these songs hit number one on the charts because of the white people that listen to the music

  • bpeabody

    I agree with the post that some hip-hop music can give an obscure and even negative impression of our culture. I also agree with the idea that less vain and profane black artists need to be given the spotlight. However that falls on our shoulders in part by buying more records and giving more airtime to different black artists. I'm a fan of NeoSoul Cafe, who is stopping other entrepreneurs from starting up stations? (well maybe there are actual things stopping people from buying records and opening up radio stations, I don't honestly know and if so that is an entirely separate topic of discussion).

    At the same time, I think of the stereotypes I have of French people from the movies and the impressions I get of hispanic people from their music. The impressions and stereotypes are going to happen. Individually we need to check ourselves and do our best to avoid stereotyping people to create a better culture for non-judgmental attitudes towards different groups. I think at this point it is far too acceptable, culturally (as blacks and as Americans) to throw around stereotypes, even amongst our own people.

    The problem is a big one with a simple solution of personal responsibility and accountability to avoid judgments. But I don't suggest that it is easy. There is no quick fix.

    Those are my two cents.

  • http://blackplanet Dev D

    Many probably agree with. I agree. The argument working against you is our psychy wants to party and have fun and talk a little sh–. You’re right but ‘ You blowin my High’ . Don’t get me started but I think our dilemma is we don’t own business in our community besides ‘street related stuff’. We say and do a lot of things without feeling the need to protect anything. White people won’t promote us to own their stuff like we thought they might if we went to college. Don’t get me started.

  • Erick

    Haw many of you reading this post has travelled or lived in another country and I am not talking a two week vacation trap in a resort. For those of have been outside the US for a extensive amount of time will know that this article is 100 percent truthful of the image that rapper had painted of African American. Instead of defending this dysfunctional, destructive, low self esteem music and rappers like 2 chain stop supporting his b.s. Or deal with our image being shape as negative. We are always starting behind the 8 ball and wonder why when the answer is in our community but we sweep it under the rug.

    • Great article

      Well said.