WHY IS THAT?: PART TWO
By 9 You Allah ( a.k.a Pucali Raw)
There is something most definitely non cipher about an art form that is controlled by the greed of its haters as opposed to cultural and spiritual community needs of who it effects, an art form that is controlled purposely and strategically by corporations and conglomerates as opposed to the people living it out.
Our culture has been sabotaged and redirected cleverly, no doubt. Its power is recognized, distorted, and thoroughly utilized to maintain the high lifestyles of many who don’t even care for it, by whatever means ‘they’ deem necessary. Its best interest, long term, doesn’t aid their bank accounts in accumulating more interest, it’s base qualities and novelty selling potential does. This is is just one reason why we are living in the age of the monotonous hot single and the showy ringtones.
The soundtrack to this current generation is one of excess, promiscuity, and shameless materialism. Not all of it, but that which is heavily promoted.
Turn on the radio, propaganda, mind control
And turning it on is like putting on a blind fold
…I hear you stic.man, and yes it is bigger than hip hop. Rap itself has outgrown the culture it was given birth through. It has elevated in status and importance, out selling Rand B and Rock Music at many points in its history.
More than just the opportunity it, as an industry, has reaped though, is the fact it could very logically considered as this generation’s soul music: Def Jam, and Interscope our Motown and Staxx . They are heavily influential on our culture, the way we live. That is to say, it does not always reflect, or create our reality, but the youth do follow its direction with an unfound blindness in some cases, to that effect it controls the dreams of the youth, indirectly.
Regardless of what some not in a rush to be role models for the youth say, because they are in it for the dough and not to teach, or for greed, the rap that is chosen by most Program Directors for whatever reason, to be in heavy rotation doesn’t promote, or address the needs, struggles, or lifestyles of the masses of blacks living throughout America.
We are being sold a huge illusion. The impressionable youth of our ghettos bump what is ‘hood accepted’ not because of who it is really,…but because of how it is done; the marketing…the repetition of the same vision and sound at high frequencies in as many different areas as possible.
Nowadays, commercially speaking, and much more so now than during Hip Hop’s Golden Age , in today’s tight economy, an artist is only as big as the machine that is behind them.
For example, if an artist’s machine can’t buy a billboard, take over a powerful venue, or get the right spins by taking payola, or offering ‘other services’ for the favor, they can very realistically lose huge portions of the market that sustains many.
Promo, promo, promo…whose got the dough?
What if Talib Kweli had 50 Cent money behind him? What if Lord Jamar’s The 5% Album had Def Jam’s machine behind it? What if Rakim and Dre finished and released “Oh My God” when it was supposed to drop? Would it have mattered? Where would Hip Hop be?
No, the money lands behind the camps who want to continue to suck the very breath out of the old Gangsta prototype…,or Baller….,or Hustler…,or Pimp. Anything, but a young black male, or female walking amongst it all with different observations of what they see. The now stigmatic label “ Conscious MC” has fell to the bottom of the totem pole in commercial importance..., that is unless they have an exotic look to them, or some kind of reputable tie to some other kind of underworld business, or hood drama.
Why is that?
Why can’t the man or woman who offers solutions and/or, looks at their position in society situation with a more critical, analytical eye? Why does this make people in the industry and, in some cases, on the street, so uncomfortable?
Because ignorance is bliss,…one form of ignorance is denial.
For example, right now the black youth of America are not only dealing with the pressure to be financially successful by any means necessary, but while a huge percentage of them, from all minorities are in the military, or have relatives who are and dealing with the war going on over seas, their culture is steadily being pumped up with “club music”, and unrealistic spending and consumption habits. Music that encourages them to cling to the same images and illusions that has lead them to the very same unbalanced over-exploitation ( as opposed to factual representation) that is happening to them today.
Ironically, hip hop lyricism st
arted in The Bronx and was born with and escapist through materialism aesthetic, all its hedonistic and sensualistic elements were there too. Broke people talked about what they wish they had, poetically, whether they had it , or not...in hopes that they would soon get it, soon… creative visualization...
If they were good at it and grinded hard they did receive some type of financial compensation for their abilities that allowed them to increase the quality of their life.
…It was all a dream
I used to read Word Up Magazine…
Biggie wrote that before he was rich, not after: same aesthetic as Run back in the day when he spit…
…Took a test to become an MC
And my instructor was amazed at me
So Larry put me inside his Cadillac
The chauffer drove of and yo, he never came back…
Words and the energy expended behind, or beyond them are powerful. The collective dreams of a people when all playing on a screen are are even more powerful. If ones reality is not controlled by his, or her knowledge, wisdom, and understanding under the proper guidance , or direction their whole culture can be altered by outside forces.
Rap is not and has not been control of itself since it’s birth at the party. We didn’t come to the party to organize first off, we came there to stunt, show off the little we did have, and to meet girls. Some of us came to settle beefs, or catch up with someone who robbed us , or offended one of us.
The MC stepped on the scene when the DJ needed someone to entertain and talk to the crowd directly, in a language they could all understand, the language of their culture,…Hip Hop.
It is Afrika Bambaata and The Universal Zulu nation that can be credited with trying to elevate and use the culture of Hip-Hop as a tool of peace for their community and worldwide.
Doctrines of various religions and ideologies have been introduced to participants of the culuture and its admirers through Hip-Hop since the potential for it to be an organizing and motivating force was realized.
B-boy crews, sound sytem teams and MC duos, trios, quartets and on formed and came together as an alternative to other street profession. This, however, does not mean in any way that just because a person was an MC, a B-boy, a graffiti artist, or DJ that they didn’t participate in any “criminal activities”.
These people, mostly black and Hispanic, were poor and still had to survive,. Dancing for change, or DJing a party for some take of the door only went so far...
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkie in the alley with a baseball bat…
It wasn’t till much later, after some commercial success with party records that Melle Mel decided to look around himself and his hood for inspiration. “The Message” was the first hip-hop song on wax that addressed directly the issues of poverty.
Without this song making its mark in Hip hop history is possibly conceivable that there never would have been what we now call “The Conscious MC”, or “reality rap”.
But once the curtain on illusions and misrepresentations are pulled back, there are usually some psychologically painful, if not violent, reactions by the believers and disbelievers.
This is a different time and political climate Rap music exists in now-but not so different that many parallels to then and now could not be drawn.
Our people are hungry and it is a way out. The content is not put first, though, the style, the color and the intensity of the flow is. And if it is also selling The American Dream through a most unlikely candidate, like a gangsta, a pimp, or a hustler,…all the images seen by the underprivileged ‘living out the dream’ on screen and in videos-that’s even better.
We as culture don’t benefit in the long run from these overexploited and highly financed images, not culturally anyway, the money we make is nothing compared to what goes into the pockets of “the owners” of the labels. Some of Our stars are just happy to receive a much larger portion of the earnings than those who played the game before them.
They believe this is progress. Maybe it would be if it all went back to where it came,…our neighborhoods, our places of business, our agenda as a people united, but it doesn’t.
Why is that?