There’s alot of criticism of Hip-Hop out there: gratuitous violence, misogyny, the glorification of trapp’n hustling and drug dealing, the music videos, commercialism etc. In an article entitled How Hip-Hop Holds Blacks Back, John McWhorter states,
“[Hip-Hop has] long hindered Blacks… by teaching young Blacks that a thuggish adversarial stance is the properly ‘authentic’ response to a presumptively racist society, rap retards Black success… rap isn’t progressive in any meaningful sense… [and it is] seriously harmful to the Black community.”
It’s an old article and an even older argument, but it’s still something I hear from a lot of people: hip-hop is dead – or worse – responsible for the condition of our communities. But don’t these characteristics (violence, misogyny etc.) apply to most other genres? The Blues often talked about violence against women, drug use and alchoal abuse, it was the “devil’s music” of it’s time. What about Marvin Gaye? Michael Eric Dyson compared him to R. Kelly in his book, Mercy, Mercy Me (not only in his sexually explicit music, but in his relationships with younger women). Or Bessie Smith, she was the Lil’ Kim of her time. What about her song, Empty Bed Blues, where she’s talking bout’ “he’s a deep sea diver with a stroke that can’t go wrong.”
And commercialism.. remember when Jazz first came out? It was very similar to Hip-Hop. Early on it was taboo, dangerous music, (Jazz is a slang word for sex). Then, probably because it was taboo, it got hot and became “mainstream,” ie. white people starting loving it! So they took it over and Jazz became Big Band and Swing. So the real Jazz artists, (the real emcees), they just had to come up with something new, something innovative. they called it BeBop.
We have a parallel in Hip-Hop. Immoral Technique, he’s BeBop. Outkast, Some would argue that Lupe, Language Arts, – they’re bebop, bringing a new innovative flavor to the Hip-Hop scene which is getting more played out by the day. But i’m tired of people talking about Hip-Hop like this is new. We’ve seen this movie before.. And McWhorter is tripping when he says Hip-Hop is dangerous. You know they used to say the same thing about Thelonious Monk.