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Don’t Leave Hip-Hop When It’s in Trouble

I have hip-hop on my mind, as I often do, because I am hip-hop. I grew up with hip-hop, listening to people like Da Brat, Lil Kim, Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie and Tupac, to name just a few. I’m guilty of writing down lyrics and memorizing songs in junior high school because I loved hip-hop. In high school I listened to freestyle battles at lunchtime and on the bus. I’d like to testify that I have gone to college and have a good job with my hip-hop.


The loudest voice in today’s black community gets a bad rap, which disappoints me. A lot of rappers have gone from talking about guns and violence to flaunting their money, cars, and clothes. Some rappers talk about selling drugs and degrade women by calling us bitches and hoes and some say “money over bitches,” and rhyme about pimping women.


People seem to pay most attention to the bad rap, and for all the wrong reasons. I pay attention to the affects of slavery, destroyed families, segregation and poverty on black people that are overlooked, but well represented in hip-hop. Curse words and materialism distract many people from hearing messages that are essential in understanding the African American position today.


The fact is, many black males are failing in school and going to prison at an alarming rate, and I’ll step out there and say that nearly all of them want to be rappers or involved with the entertainment industry somehow. More black women are succeeding in the professional world than black men and the gap is increasing. Collectively, black women are uplifting the statistics of the black community with our hip-hop and hope for more opportunities given to black men with no role models.


Many black women still have not given up on hip-hop. Never would I abandon black men under any circumstances because I am hip hop. When I listen to rap I hear black people with high aspirations who use similes, metaphors, word play and yes, profanity and slang to describe their lives. Why stop recording history? Hip-hop is my soul and it represents the African American dilemma of my generation and I’ll rap it, dance to it, and blast it in my car as long as it lives.


This blog was inspired by the editor’s note in the September 2007 edition of Vibe Vixen.


October 5, 2007 - Posted by | African American dilemma, Hip hop | , ,


  1. Excellent post, Kia. I can’t lie. I cringe at the bitch and hoe stuff. However, as you mention, I think the profanity serves as a mirror. It’s not stuff these guys make up. It surrounds them, so they infuse it in their music. I’m conflicted about today’s hip hop. I prefer the conscious stuff (mainly because as you say, I am the music; as a person of african descent, I have no choice in that regard.) Still, I bop my head to the superficial stuff too. So, maybe, I’m a bit of a hypocrite too. As far as BET goes, I just can’t get on board there, mostly because I’m still hung up on what it used to be. I blame Viacom for what it has become. I wish Bob Johnson sold it to a different company. I think Viacom cares about selling as much 50 Cent as possible to middle America. Why can’t there be room for everyone? I don’t know. Anyway, happy to see your blog is up and running!

    Comment by blurredabsolutes | October 10, 2007 | Reply

  2. Hmm, shame on me for not catching this earlier. That’s what I get for not reading these blogs as often as I should! lol

    You know the big irony in all this, though? Despite many black men thinking that pursuing a successful rap career is way easier than going to school and having a traditional professional career, it is actually quite the contrary. Seriously, how many of these rappers are actually millionaires? Not too many. Heck, anyone can rap now! I do, but I have a way better chance having a long-lasting career as a journalist/writer and academic than a rapper who, if (and that’s a big “if”) he makes it, would only be in the spotlight for a limited amount of time. It’s almost like the lottery.

    I just think there needs to be a balance in rap, similar to what it had in the late-’80s and mid-’90s. Maybe the more hedonistic/materialistic types are needed as a “necessary evil,” as a reminder of what not to do in rap. If only the likes of Kanye, Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, the Roots, etc. can have a much bigger voice than they presently do, that would be beyong awesome.

    Very nice post, Kia!

    Comment by Dayo | October 16, 2007 | Reply

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