Found this great article on a message board, so I thought I would post it. It really does get the point across about the direction hip hop has gone and where it is going. A good read, even if you aren’t that much into hip hop.
Who The Hell Am I?
Tuesday – January 18, 2005
It’s all Hip Hop’s fault…
The week of November 14, 2004 through the 21st was a bad week for us black folks. First at the Vibe Awards a bunch of fools jump up and start throwing down for reasons unknown. In the aftermath one man is stabbed and the person fingered for the stabbing is none other than Young Buck. A few days earlier the AMA’s went off with out a hitch. No word of Elton John pimp slapping Billy Joel while the members of Coldplay pounced on Good Charlotte. But at the Vibe awards it was different. There’s one black eye.
A few days later, after it is a foregone conclusion that the Indiana Pacers were about to handily defeat the Detroit Pistons, a brief spat between the Pacers Ron Artest and the Pistons Ben Wallace ensued.
No big deal right? In the minutes following a fan launches a cup at Ron Artest (who by the way is laying on the scoring table trying to avoid further involvement) and all hell breaks loose. Artest in the stands, fans fighting, players fighting, some little fat dude jumps bad on the court and catches the meanest sliding right hook Jermaine O’Neal ever threw. There’s another black eye. We now have tinted view people.
In the aftermath of this malicious brawl everybody wanted to point fingers at something. Out of nowhere Rush Limbaugh opens his fat mouth and utters these immaculate words;
“This is hip-hop culture on parade.” Gasp! He continues, “…part and parcel of this gang culture, this hip-hop culture, is: “I’m not going to tolerate being dissed. I’m not going to be disrespected.”
This pissed me off. How can you blame hip-hop culture for a fight in basketball!?! To say that basketball is now the equivalent to gang culture? It’s even more mind-boggling because the words that came from Bill Cosby’s mouth a few months before this incident were just as unforgiving. Bill blamed hip hop in front of all the media for our demeaning of women, our children being illiterate, embracing profanity, celebrating criminal activity and most of all… glorifying the wrong things. It seems like Rush and Coz have become C Delores Tucker and William Bennett of the new millennium.
I’m furious at this point. Of which I spewed misdirected infuriated anger at a protagonist of black culture (and later I would apologize). How can Bill say that about hip hop music? What gives him the right to air out any of our dirty laundry in front of the media? Doing this on the anniversary of Brown VS Board of Education (which allowed black and white children to attend the same schools) nonetheless.
I mean, damn Bill! Mr. O’Reilly already got Ludacris pulled from Pepsi ads by calling the company immoral and calling for;
“all responsible Americans to fight back and punish Pepsi for using a man who degrades women, who encourages substance abuse, and does all the things that hurt particularly the poor in our society.”
And let us not forget years ago when the battle against Gangsta Rap reigned supreme. Hip Hop has constantly had to defend itself by being the black sheep of music culture. So Coz… why are you doing this to our culture? Shouldn’t we have to heal internally before you go out bad mouthing a culture you don’t know that much about? We aren’t all illiterate! I don’t go out there and celebrate criminal activity and glorify rims while the youth embrace profanity and can’t read. Rush, you can’t blame hip-hop for a man getting upset and running into the stands. Hip-hop didn’t make Ron Artest go nuts in the stands. Hip-hop didn’t make those fools at the Vibe Awards knuckle up. Hip-hop isn’t to blame.
You can’t blame hip-hop for everything that happens associated with African Americans. There are much bigger influences than that. What about the parents? What about the schools? What about the environment? What about things like the invisible oppression that still hovers in the air? There’s good hip-hop out there that promotes the upliftment of our culture. There’s good hip-hop out there that teaches us self worth. Good positive hip hop! Yeah! Just turn to BET and…uh never mind. Just turn on your radio and listen to…ummmmm…nah. I got it! Look at the top selling CDs and tell me that it’s…..uhhhhh…well. Hip-hop is….ahhhhhh FUCK IT!
“I love rap music but I’m tired of defending it…I love rappers today but it’s hard to defend this shit. It’s hard to defend “I’ve got hoes in different area codes’ …Love rap music, tired of defending it” -Chris Rock excerpt from HBO special “Never Scared”
Back in the day for every song that society felt was degrading to our culture, there was a Public Enemy, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, X-Clan and Rakim to defend it. You could argue that there was hip-hop that was about self worth, art and culture. But today turn on your TV and you have everything from underage drinking, peddling drugs and pimping to glorifying materialistic items, oversexed artists and naked women. If I was a casual viewer looking for something to blame, guess what, I’m blaming hip-hop too. If I’m an individual that knows nothing about the culture but is trying to find a scapegoat for all the problems that black culture and the media manifest, I’m pointing fingers at hip hop culture. We’ve got to understand that Bill Cosby doesn’t get to hear Common because he isn’t in heavy rotation. Rush Limbaugh doesn’t know who The Roots or Mos Def are because when he turns on his TV/Radio or opens a magazine there is Lil Jon with a bunch of half naked women chanting the word “bitch” like it is going out of style. There’s 50 Cent in a gotdamn bulletproof vest talking about he’s a P-I-M-P.
If I’ve been exposed to no black people my whole life and I live in a rural area, I’m going “Damn, are black people really like that?” And to make it even worse, our children of hip hop culture are out here stabbing people and fighting fans. Let’s be honest… nowhere else will you see a stabbing at an awards show. We didn’t see Austin Croshere running up the isles punching fans. He knew better. For some reason we didn’t.
What’s that you say? I’m being closed-minded? Hip-hop has no influence on our children? Okay then, here’s an example. I’m out and about when a 13-year-old boy, in a fit of humor, turns to his sisters and says, “I’m pimping all you B(itches)’s.” Funny as hell right? I wonder where he got that from? His whole life and dress code (much like any other 13 year old) hovers around name brands and rims. He even went as far to say that if he indeed chose to drink alcohol one day, the drink of choice would have to be Krystal. Damn…that couldn’t have anything to do with hip hop could it?
Hip-hop has become an inaccurate portrayal of African American culture. This wouldn’t be a problem if when he turned on his TV/Radio he could hear the soulful sounds of Little Brother or Wordsworth. But those cats get no play.
So who is responsible for this lack of balance in hip-hop culture? Who are the powers that have done little to nothing but air out our dirty laundry via radio, TV, and magazine? Let’s ask them. BET, who I criticized for perpetuating such horrible stereotypes, said to Smooth magazine;
“When it comes to video programming, we don’t create the art; we hang it on the walls. It’s up to the artists to change what the art is and have it go in different directions.” Then when asked if they made it harder on smaller labels to make it on air they responded “…They are simply making excuses…we strive to put independent artists and labels on the air…these independent labels try to make the same videos the majors make- and they can’t compete”
Let’s see…there is Def Jux, Babygrande, Rhymesayers and I don’t see them on BET. It seems like BET just has to pass the buck.
So let’s see what The Source has to say about the issue. We all know that during this era they were the main ones giving 4 1/2 mics to the Hot Boyz while Blackstar received a 3. We all know that they had Mase, Ashanti, Lil Jon and others gracing their pages while The Roots, Common and dead prez were nowhere to be found.
They blamed Eminem for the problems in hip hop and found it convenient to all of a sudden say that they are preserving the culture. You can’t preserve something that you spent years assisting in tarnishing. So let’s blame the white boy. But look at Eminem’s videos; you don’t see fancy cars, naked women and bling bling. Sure you may not agree with his menacing dissing of boy bands and Michael Jackson but how is that nearly as bad as “Tip Drills” and “P-Popping.”
Let’s be honest, the white kids respect our culture more than we do. They listen to the Jean Graes, Immortal Techniques, Little Brothers and Brother Alis while our brothers and sistas scrunch their faces up and say “What the f*ck is this, put back on that Chingy.”
You’ll find many of them spending their money and time listening to Public Enemy, Ice Cube (with the curl), X Clan before you see them bumping Nelly. So you can’t blame whitey for defacing our culture. So now The Source passes the buck. Nobody wants to take responsibility for what is shown. Everybody wants to blame everybody. When is somebody going to step up and say, “I’m proud of my culture and I’ll do what it takes to make sure that it is preserved and not maligned.”? Can I see a show of hands? BET? The Source? Radio? I thought so.
Until the day comes when balance of hip hop culture is put in play, the people up top will still find a way to blame hip hop for everything down below. Now don’t get it confused. I’m not saying do away with Lil Jon. I’m saying to balance it out so when shit happens we can defend our beloved culture. We can say for every “Get Low” there is “The Light.” For every video depicting violence and naked women we can come back and say there’s a video like “Keep Ya Head Up.”
We can say, “Don’t blame hip hop, blame the people.” You can’t blame hip-hop for societies ills. There are so many other factors that play into our culture that to pick on hip hop alone would be a bit out of touch. But you can damn sure say hip-hop has become the scapegoat. As long as we continue to support those that perpetuate the ignorant lifestyles and images that are visualized through our outlets; best believe that the finger will continue to be pointed at our hip hop culture. I just can’t find a decent way to defend it anymore- but I won’t give up just yet. You are looking at the man who will take on the responsibility to preserve our culture. The man that will do what he can and say what many have thought but none have vocalized. I will take on the responsibility. But I’m just a critic…Who the Hell am I?