In the past, you may have noticed that I broadcast popular hip hip/rap songs (see “What’s You Halle Berry (Dance)? ” ). Well broadcast no more, even if I do prefer the rhythmic beats over content. Over the weekend, I finished The Hip Hop Wars: What we talk about when we talk about hip hop and why it matters by Brown alum Tricia Rose. This book is truly enlightening, detailing how mainstream hip hop artists must sacrifice creativity and endorse excessive misogyny and gang and drug-related violence (what Rose characterizes as the gangster, pimp, ho triad) that further encourages racial stereotyping to sell platinum albums.
Rose provides five arguments traditionally used to defend and criticize hip hop and subsequently highlights flaws for each argument.
Top Five Pro-Hip Hop Arguments:
1. Just keeping it real: as Chris Rock says “Rappers love to keep it real….real dumb!”
2. Hip Hop is not responsible for sexism; Society is, rappers are just an easy target.
3. There are bitches and hoes; You’re telling me that these now lucrative, wealthy rappers still live in an environment where prostitution and drug-dealing are commonplace?!!
4. We’re not role models: Parents are, but then why do celebrities exist?
5. Nobody talks about the positive in hip hop: Rapper philanthropy is comparable to blood money repartitions; giving back to a community a rapper single-handedly dismantled
Top Five Anti-Hip Hop Arguments:
1. Hip hop causes violence; “It’s going to be a bloodbath of cops dyin’ in LA”-N.W.A in Fuck the Police.
2. Hip hop reflects black dysfunctional ghetto culture: Reminiscing about the past in present tense isn’t helping for a better future
3. Hip hop hurts black people: Perpetuating stereotyping
4. Hip hop is destroying America’s values: Exploiting the poor urban communities for financial gain.
5. Hip Hop demeans women: Lil Jon’s songs to begin.
Of course, Rose isn’t persuading us to protest against all rap, just the popular rap on the radio and music channels. Artists such as Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, and A Tribe Called Quest to name a few, and coincidentally personally favorites, sacrifice platinum sales and subsequent million dollar salaries to broadcast creative and empowering music that doesn’t belittle black culture andfights for anti-racism and equality.
Below is a South Park parody of P. Diddy’s “Vote or Die” campaign that encapsulates the dark side of rapper philanthropy gained from singing about the “gangster, pimp, ho” triad.