Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Hip Hop: The Music Of My Revolution
As Black Music Month winds to a close I thought I'd take a second to reflect on a particular genre of music that is close to my heart, Hip Hop.
Like most 20 and 30 something’s I grew up on Hip Hop. My mom taught me my body parts using "Whoop there it is", when playing hide and seek with my friends I'd often hum The Fuggees "Ready or Not", and one year for Christmas I instructed my family to "Give it up for Santa" while performing my own version of Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Horary" (and there’s footage to prove it). As I got older Hip Hop fueled my militant stage (one I'm not completely sure I'm out of). Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" was like my eternal theme song and NWA's "F the Police" was always on heavy rotation. As I moved from angry to conscious the music of Arrested Development, Brand Nubian and Dead Prez were like my bread and butter.
As I grew and developed I forgot something very important.....ALL Hip Hop is political. From KRS-One to Tupac to Ace Hood there are always political undertones. See for some time I had sub categorized what I believed to be conscious Hip Hop and in a way I was right. Most people wouldn't put Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five in the same league with artist like 50 cent and though they might not be on the same stream of consciousness their base message is the same.
Whether its 50 cent rapping about his life in the dope game, Kendrick Lamar spitting about the plights of prostitutes or J Cole flowing about life in the hood it's all political, it may not be conscious but it's political. They are rapping about a margin of society that is ignored and disenfranchised and that in its essence is political. Granted they might not be wearing Each One Teach One hoodies and calling us all to action like many artists have in the past but they are, in their own way showing America what's going on in their neck of the woods.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, artist like Nicki Minaj and her Mattel minions (and all of Young Money really) tend to just spit random raps about money, weed, expensive alcohol, strip clubs and their latest sexual exploits.
Luckily not all current artists are like that. In many ways Hip Hop is still political and is still is voice of the "youthful revolution" within black America. You just have to look beyond the surface to find it.