Hip Hop’s Influence is everywhere.
In the movies,
It’s on your kid’s backs.
It’s on their parent’s backs.
“Their parents back?”
Yeah! It’s creeping into people’s
Movies frequently feature Hip Hop artists
now. Some produce their own films like
Ice Cube and his plethora of films including
the Friday series. Others are going the
traditional actors route i.e. Mos Def
who appeared in the Cosby Mysteries before
he dropped the classic: Mos Def and Talib
Kweli are Black Star, with Kweli.
Queen Latifah, DMX, Method Man, Redman,
Ja Rule, Eminem, LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Ice
T (O.G.), Will Smith (one of the first),
Busta Ryhmes, and Nelly are a short list
of rappers who have dabbled in the acting
In fashion, artist Sean John Combs is
killin’ with his apparel, artist
Jay-Z has his own sneaker with Reebok
and company he co-owns, Roc A Fella has
Rocawear and have started another with
the State Property line. Funkmaster Flex
has a sneaker with Lugz. J-Lo has perfume
and clothes out (Yeah, she counts. You
see all the remix she has and she isn’t
reppin’ the South Bronx for nothing!)
and Eve has here Fetish line coming out
But in the end we go to the origin: Music
Hip Hop music is the second biggest selling
music form, next to country.
After years of hate, the art is being
Is it really? And if so is it the right
kind of Hip Hop?
Hip Hop the music is struggling to be
more than a sideshow when it comes to
voicing the concerns and struggles to
Artists like Ja Rule, 50 Cent, and Jay-Z,
seem to be dominating the airwaves and
radio but their lyrical content while
often witty and glamorous lacks long term
substance and has ten year old children
(younger even!) thinking about fast money,
ghetto life, games, and girls instead
of the bigger picture: the long term.
It’s not hating! Just the truth
as I see it. When Hip Hop first regularly
seen on TV (meaning they had a show on
it) in the 90’s it was an enigma,
an art form most thought would die out.
An art form that mostly depicted glorified
hood violence and hate. There were artists
like Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest,
De La Soul who did stretch the game but
they were few global artists, artists
that were exposed so much in the media
that they even set cultural trends in
talk, fashion, music, movies, etc.
Now with 24 music networks like VH1, MTV,
and BET, Much Music, Hip Hop artists have
more avenues for people to see their face,
promote their album, and of course get
paid. Getting paid? Yeah we have to accept
that music is a business, a very lucrative
one. There is payola (the banana on the
basketball court) in the game to prove
it. There are compromises to be made;
we all know a certain lyrical content
Now, to me compromising should not include
lying about one’s actions, taking
others’ ideas and doing nothing
creative with them, or changing your style
for a certain status namely: Platinum!
We all know it happens but even a burglar
can show some decency and leave the mattress
so the poor chump who got robbed can lay
down while he cries himself to sleep.
Now it’s not all bad. Artists like
The Roots, Mos Def, Common, and Talib
Kweli are getting love on major networks
but we need more artists who not only
want to tell about what happen with the
party, the girl, or the homies. We need
artists with a worldly perspective to
take us out of the common theme hood and
give us some needed vision.
I’m not asking for every artist
to be Malcolm or Martin what I am asking
for is responsibility for the lyrics they
spit. I don’t think they understand
or don’t care that these words are
being pumped to young adults and children
who know no better than to emulate their
favorite artists in every way possible.
If they believe in you and you talk most
of the time about quick gratification,
violence, drugs, girls, and money, what
do you think they will be thinking about?
I’m not saying I’m offended.
As an adult, I (a majority of the time)
can tell what to take in and what to leave
to the side. A good number of people can.
When you’re diverse and have seen
different perspectives you become an overall
judge of things. I listen to different
Hip Hop, different music, been different
places, basically, I’ve experienced
life to a good extent.
Sorry to say, others haven’t.
Who is to blame? The artist coming from
usually disadvantage families who is just
talking about what they see and know sells?
Or the companies that push these artists
to these measures, encouraging splash
instead of substance for the consumers
of a fast paced world.
It's both, but of course music companies
will take the larger percentage of the
Music companies are in the business (here
is that word again) of making money not
selling positive images and saving people!
They could care less if a person spends
their (already measly) check on music
unless it’s not their music. They
don’t care if your rent is due,
but you decided to listen to their artist
and buy the phat chain, they call it a
great marketing job. I don’t expect
companies (nor anyone else) to have my
best interest in mind, so I suggest neither
We need to hold higher standards for those
artists we regularly see in the light
because they have the light and are being
selfish thinking about their struggles
and just celebrating instead of shedding
light on the tunnel and helping others
to come out.
They have an ability to reach children
and young adults in away that not even
teachers, parents, friends can reach.
The child you see on the corner, acting
up in school or in the street may not
be in school or have a life goal but they
know their favorite artists albums from
intro to outro, every song, even the interludes
and ad-libs. It makes sense!
While education gets less money put into
it than the military music and media is
expanding and more readily accessible.
Which is good but only to an extent? Other
values like family are being pulled apart.
The fantasy that some artists give is
entertaining, but repetitively it can
be hazardous because some unexposed, uneducated
people will think that it is the only
thing out there and go too far with it.
Some people just don’t have the
basics, and showing them extracurricular
activities without the real sacrifices,
perseverance, effects and experiences
If we hold the artist accountable to a
higher standard the companies will realize
this music isn’t what we want to
see and hear all the time.
Let’s look for more than the same
old catchy phrases, hooks and big willy-isms.
Like Nas said “You don’t wanna
be my age and can’t read and write!”
Any comments, questions email Constant