October 2, 2012 by mcastille9
I was on my way to work this morning bouncing from radio station to radio station looking for some decent commentary on a decent subject when I can across the Russ Parr Morning Show. He was talking to a caller about the state of hip-hop today. The caller was basically saying that if you give the kids another listening option, they would not listen to the hip-hop (I’m using that term as loosely as I possibly can) that’s out there now. The caller also called Russ a hypocrite for playing this dumbed-down, negative image laden music and then commenting on how things need to change. Russ’ retort was that part of his job is to play the music that his listeners want to hear. He also said that he hopes to inspire kids by revealing truths about their favorite rappers, like the fact that 2 Chainz has a college degree.
I can’t front, initially I was shocked and somewhat impressed that 2 Chainz is college educated but soon after, what set in was disdain. If he’s college educated, then why the hell does he sound like a f*cking idiot on the radio? When did ignorance become so damn cool?
I’ll tell you when…it happened when “they” realized that hip-hop wasn’t a fad and it could be used as a vehicle for social change. There’s a reason why their aren’t groups like Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions anymore. The system has been manipulated so that a small group of people control what gets diseminated to the masses. And it’s in their best interest to make sure the vehicle best suited for galvanizing a people and sparking intelligent thought regarding the plight of the African American is reduced to nothing more than copping riches, smacking bitches, and merking snitches…over and over and over again.
It seems like the more ignorant the artist appears to be, the more marketing dollars they put behind the project, while quality artists like Mos Def, Taleb Kweli, and the like struggle to go aluminum.
Sounds absurd? Read these lyrics from Jay-Z’s Moment of Clarity
“I dumb down for my audience, to double my dollars
They criticize me for it, yet they all yell “Holla”
If skills sold, truth be told
I’d probably be lyrically, Talib Kweli
Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense(But i did five Mil)
I ain’t been rhymin like Common since”
To be honest, it’s a brilliant tactical move on the part of the “puppet master”…just bear with me while I explain.
Remember in the late 80’s and early 90’s when they were trying to ban or at least censor hip-hop because of groups like 2 Live Crew and Ice-T’s cop killer record (actually a heave metal song by a group called Body Count)? Their argument was that it incited violence and misogyny. There were countless arguments made that the music was brainwashing our children to become criminals and obviously, the counter-argument, albeit somewhat naive) was that it was just entertainment. Needless to say, hip-hop was never banned but they did one better by employing strategies to turn the strength of hip-hop into a weakness by controlling the market. Because we didn’t realize that the music does have a subliminal influence (like all media), they used it to inundate us with lyrics and images that reinforce ridiculous stereotypes of Black people. Backed with massive amounts of promotional dollars, they flood the market with music devoid of any artistic, political, or social value. I know white kids listen to it as well but with any war, there will be collateral damage.
Unlike Nas, I wouldn’t say that hip-hop is dead, but it’s damn sure on life support.
Check out Baltimore poet Taalam Acey’s piece that embodies my thoughts and was also this post’s name sake.