Hip Hop: A culture and form of ground breaking music and self expression with elements that consist of the elements of graffiti, art, DJ’ing, MC’ing, and breaking.
We have come a long way from this definition and are now dealing with a newly found genre being disguised behind the title of hip-hop. It is safe to say every generation will have its highs and lows music wise that will spark the “back in the day”… conversation. The awful reality we must face is back in all of our days there was a healthy balance of foolishness and true art. We’ve transcended past the Mc Hammer/ Vanilla Ice days where the catchy foolishness was enough to still leave a classic appreciation for what it is they created. I find it difficult in this current state of hip hop to appreciate any of the “music” being created lately that strictly caters to the ladies hitting the pole on a nightly basis. I am by no means an elaborate feminist as I too have given in to countless songs that explicitly direct me to pop, drop, and twerk body parts on the dance floor. I will not stand to be a hypocrite in any sense of the word, but when you take into consideration the popularity of artists like 2 Chainz and French Montana in comparison to lets say a less vulgar more conscious Lupe Fiasco, its easy to see what this current generation wants to see, hear, and support.
And while there isn’t one specific person or group to blame for the destruction of what once used to be a beautiful art form I am extremely content with pointing the finger at the nonsense on the radio and the hype that surrounds it. You cannot spend an hour listening to the radio without running into the ignorant ramblings of 2 Chainz telling us how much he “love dem’ strippers”, or French Montana asking what I’m “twerkin’” with. We have reached a simplistic format that rewards a lack of talent and skill and promotes a hot beat, a catchy line, and a fat ass. Lets not get it twisted ignorance has been very much alive in hip hop from its birth and has always been acceptable to a certain extent. But for every “Baby Got Back” that was released we had twice the amount of “Brenda Got a Baby” and “ Fight the Power”. Moderation was the key to hip hop’s survival as well as the general consensus among the artists that they had to stand for something. Truth is conscious rap doesn’t sell the way it should, and it’s a sad realization for up and coming artists as well as the audiences they want to reach. We’re trapped: you either stand your ground and speak your truth or you sell your soul and dumb it down. “Shedding light and doing right” should be what is different… but instead its putting your “middle finger up to your competition”
It seems we have lost sight of moderate innuendos and landed straight onto an explicit platform that has single handedly sent us back directly into what society has always thought about our culture. Were no longer sending true expressions of who we are as a community, instead the “bling” gets shinier, the pants sag lower, and the skirts get tighter. Have we finally reached the end of what hip hop started out as? An outlet of self-expression, a journey from the struggle for acceptance that has now become big booty hoes and strippers dancing for bands. Is this what our culture is now based on? Is this what we want people around the world to label hip-hop as? Have we all just accepted labeling ourselves as cokeboys, and pimps? Or have we reached a new pinnacle, a turning point so to say in which we must leave the cultural past of what hip-hop was and embrace what we have allowed hip-hop to become?