Once upon a time, there was a beautiful struggle called hip-hop.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful struggle called hip-hop.For decades it thrived and as many yearned to lead the movement, a mere few were crowned. Raw and rugged… Realism, activism, a prism of the mind.
But like the rise and fall of an empire, hip-hop fell victim to the mainstream which feeds into an ocean… The ocean that is smooth for sailing, but drowns resistance.
‘When you stop struggling, you float’
The realization that hip-hop was a counter-culture that inevitably became a culture in itself - packaged and sold.
Welcome to Hip-Hop Incorporated Where the smoke is thick and the mirrors lie. Money is the bottom line. And the Ciroc is always on ice.
Females… Call her a bitch, but only if there’s a ‘bad’ before it. Males… Stand for nothing, but feel a million feet tall. Status. All those followers, but where are you taking them?
The Market It seems that every 2 weeks a ‘new’ artist comes along, but there is nothing new about them. How many times are they going to recycle the same lyrics and misrepresent their people? The market for these goons is immensely saturated. We don’t need any more rappers – not these kind anyway. We need leaders. Leaders that glorify working – not twerking; professions – not possessions; humanity – not profanity.
The marginalized population has become self-detrimental and the system weaves its web all the way to the exit. Modern indirect rule.
The Sell Outs A lot of rappers are so concerned with what sells, that they simply sell out. Well congratulations - you made it. Actually no. They made you. Hip-Hop is no longer ‘Power to the People’. It’s more like ‘Power to the Corporations’ that manufacture, control, and profit from it all.
There seems to be a hidden agenda here as mainstream hip-hop is the soundtrack to the demise of its own people. When Eric Garner was yelling, “I can’t breathe”, Hip-Hop was whispering, “I can’t speak”.
I could count on one hand the number of artists that took to the streets and proactively expressed their solidarity for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin.
There are over 40 million African Americans in the US so why are only handfuls of people and organizations taking action? Compassion for social justice is lost somewhere between trying to make ends meet and making these ends.
The thousands of people that flood your concerts and shows will follow you to the streets of Ferguson – if… you take them there. Unless you remain a pawn to the system that not only seeks to commercialize hip-hop, but also marginalize a population you identify with.
The Shareholders In light of recent events, we can safely assume that the indictment of an American police officer is harder than a diamond.
This is not the time to remain calm. The resistance is decades overdue and sat collecting dust while the drugs were pushed, liquor stores opened on every other corner, the prisons got dark and crowded, and the government chose to invest in war instead of its people. Institutionalized racism, poverty, and the movement towards a military state… So where does hip-hop fit into this?
Hip-hop culture – not just the underground - needs to breed something positive and uplifting for the struggling populations in which artists often emerge from. For those in positions that can make a difference, it’s not enough to pass a tweet. Don’t shy in the face of controversy.
Music is a powerful thing and it can be used to move people… It can be used to keep them still. Break out of the mould that was carefully constructed for you or forever remain within that which has been predetermined.
Executive Summary Something that once empowered a people, has turned it into the very thing that would keep them weak. The threat has been mobilized.
Much respect to the following artists as this article was in no way directed at you: Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, Tef Poe , J.Cole, Killer Mike, Yasiin Bey, and T.I. I would also like to mention that there are several hip-hop artists that donate generously to those in need and have founded several charitable organizations.