It is woven into the world’s fabric; the profound expression of Hip Hop, primarily born
from the African-American and Latino experience is forever stitched from the textiles/ cities ofNorth America. This artistic creation has continued to struggle against the dominant culture as it
is often dissected, analyzed, and some cases homogenized to be more palatable for consumption.
If it were taken in its raw form, the observant, at times, unable to digest its contents unable to
attain all the ingredients. It is a veil from the famed intellect, W. E.B. DuBois (one of the
NAACP founders and author of Souls of Black Folk), refers to hinder the extrapolations and
delivers a flaccid creation unable to demonstrate a self determination that was overdue. The
consistent presentation of self through the eyes of others leaves a people impotent. The African
soul is deep; it … has grown deep like the rivers1
. From that deep reservoir of black thought
similar to the quote from Langston Hughes had spawned a collective consciousness; people who
had wanted a platform of self –expression and self –identity and Hip Hop can be the vehicle. An
individual can be an active participant in performance and revolving and evolving in the
business, or be engaged on the sidelines digesting the culture through the elements (DJ- Emcee-
B-Boy/Girl- and Graffiti).
Nestled within the confines of this existence, there is a collective yearning in finding
solace in oneself. Hip Hop’s effect on society should/would be a worthwhile goal in this life
seeking a connection of goodness, possibly a unifying force to traverse greater expectations in
humanity. Hip Hop is a vehicle used to help negotiate life’s highway. Hip Hop reaches far
beyond music and lyrics… Hip Hop is a conscious way to be.
It is believed from its said
inception in August 11, 1973, was a voice of the youth. But with the evolution it is long
withstanding, came a revolution of the mind body and soul. The concept reaches far beyond
beats and rhymes; Hip Hop has developed into a worldwide phenomenon.
Back in the day; countless groups with conscious rhyme flows would tell a story, prove a
point, or vocalize social issues in the community; hip hop has been the voice of the youth. It has
now drowned into a deep pool of filth and degradation and the marketplace is stained and
saturated with songs that are nonsense. Society’s effect on Hip Hop promote artists that rap
about nothing of substance that would make Mother Goose rhymes stands stronger on their merit
than these so – called emcees. I quote Jay – Z which hints why these rappers put out this
madness, Moment of Clarity; “I dumb down for my audience, and 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.” Hip hop; something that was once a novelty at parties, turned truth
bearer; now has been turned upside – down on its head with songs with cursing for no reason,
disrespect of women and lack of potent lyrical content.
I recollect the music my parents played on the home stereo system on Saturday
mornings when I was young. Gems from the “baby boom” generation; a vast collection of 45s
my mother had of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross,
Jackson 5; their beats circulating in house with lyrics to match. Music was soothing and
therapeutic and provided the template for plus connectivity into Hip Hop music. I have come to
the revelation that the lyrical content of today’s music has plummeted to an all time low. In the
era of so-called “reality shows,” iphones, and adult cartoons on prime time music execs
perpetuate this stereotype by giving us a steady diet of music that contributes to inaction and
self-destructive behavior. By superseding an atmosphere of substance, it is degraded with hollow
superficiality. Humans have free will and choose what they want to listen to. In the framework
and construct of our reality, we look for clues to conjure up more suitable reasons to explain the
human condition. In relationship to music and what we choose to listen to is a quandary that
expels the realization we, as human beings, are not monolithic.
In summary, my concluding thoughts are that commercialization of music industry
executives cares nothing but only for the bottom line and never mind the quality of the
merchandise sold on the market. We are the soul controllers of this music and the culture. To
quote KRS-One, “…Rap is something you do; Hip-Hop something you live…” Consumers
ought not to settle for what seems to be congruent to state – run propaganda to retard one’s
intellect. Potent lyrics, from back in the day, made sense and at the same time move the crowd at
a party. Today’s artists should take heed and listen to the words of wisdom from a 1986 Classic
from Rakim; Move the Crowd “Some of you all have been writing for years, but the weak ideas
irritate my ears.