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I Love Hip-Hop, but It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Defend It!

Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Rappers [An Editorial By AJ Woodson]

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be rappers
Don’t let ’em pick microphones and trick out dem trucks
Make ’em be doctors and lawyers and such
Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be rappers
They’ll never stay home and they’re always alone
Even with someone they love
Rappers ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold
All they wanna rap about is women and diamonds or gold
(Inspired by) Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys-Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson

I -3 hip hop

On Feb. 28, 2007 MSNBC did a story; Hip-hop faces increasing backlash: Minstrelization of the music combined with negativity equals poor sales. The article started out;

“Maybe it was the umpteenth coke-dealing anthem or soft-porn music video. Perhaps it was the preening antics that some call reminiscent of Stepin Fetchit.
The turning point is hard to pinpoint. But after 30 years of growing popularity, rap music is now struggling with an alarming sales decline and growing criticism from within about the culture’s negative effect on society”
Hip-hop now-a-days is increasingly blamed for everything wrong with society. The story stated; Studies have attempted to link it to everything from teen drug use to increased sexual activity among young girls.

Even the mayhem that broke out in Las Vegas during the NBA All-Star Game a few years ago was blamed on hip-hoppers. “[Former NBA Commissioner] David Stern seriously needs to consider moving the event out of the country for the next couple of years in hopes that young, hip-hop hoodlums would find another event to terrorize,” columnist Jason Whitlock, who is black, wrote on AOL.

But then the story also went on to say:

“Nicole Duncan-Smith grew up on rap, worked in the rap industry for years and is married to a hip-hop producer. She still listens to rap, but says it no longer speaks to or for her. She wrote the children’s book “I Am Hip-Hop” partly to create something positive about rap for young children, including her 4-year-old daughter.”

Like Chris Rock said, “I Love Hip-Hop, but it’s getting harder and harder to defend it,” I love Hip-hop too, and have been down with it since the early days, before it was on vinyl records. Before every commercial radio station in America, became the place where hip-hop lives! Even to this day, many know me as and/ or refer to me as ‘the professional hip-hop junkie.’ A Hip-Hop Historian, for me it was deeper than just the beats and the rhymes, it was a way of life. That being said, I can’t say I feel everything that’s going on in what is called Hip-Hop these days nor do I condone all the lyrics that get the most airplay or video exposure, but Hip-Hop is not the source of all things EVIL!

We do need more balance in the music. Sorry to date myself, but there was a time where you had all kinds of hip-hop. Sure I was yellin F*ck Tha Police with NWA but at the same time I was also shouting Fight The Power with Public Enemy, doin the Kid N Play kick step or the Pee Wee Herman laughing at Biz Markie, makin the music with his mouth about Pickin Boogers. You get the point we has a variety a balance. Now you just have a bunch of rappers living out their gangsta fantasies

Sometimes I just wanna know the truth about who’s copyin’ who
Cuz instead of reachin’ ’em I think he’d rather be the youth
I wouldn’t trip but this is more than just a trend
Cuz this music and its brand promotes irresponsible men
Cuz they never had a father who could walk ’em through the content
Teachin’ them the skill to discern all of the nonsense
They need extended adolescence so they can blow up
Hip-hop you’re close to 50, when can we grow up?
– Peter Pan by Sho Baraka

While you had your hard, gangsta-driven urban street tales, it wasn’t our steady all day/ every day diet, we also had hip-hop that made you wanna dance and taught you something to feast on as well, I love fried chicken and french fries too, but eating only that all day can be hazardous to my health. Hip-Hop taught us knowledge of self. I learned more about black history from hip-hop then I ever did in schools from artists like KRS-One, Chuck D, X-Clan and several others in the Golden Era of Hip-Hop.

But now too much negativity gets marketed while quality, artists who deal with real issues, like Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli & Hi -Tek) song, Ballad Of The Black Gold that dealt with the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, and personally reminded me what I love about hip-hop.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED3-DOxvq_o&w=853&h=480]

Or the many artists, like Kasim Allah who are making songs dealing with topics of today like the several incidences of police brutality, like Eric Garner being choked to death by the NYPD. It’s not like there aren’t positive records out there and artists who dare to be different and not follow the current trends (like we had with groups or yesteryear like De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest). But with the poison that’s being pushed and force-fed to the youth every 22 minutes on commercial radio as well as BET (which is now owned by the same people who own MTV and VH1), positive artists and even indie labels that make quality music, find it hard to get heard!

Remember that line in the movie Brown Sugar, ‘You want lyrics, go to Rawkus Records, we make hits here,” the actor playing a president of commercial record company that was marketing a group who made a record, ‘The Ho Is Mine.’ Now we have popular shows like Love & Hip-Hop and truthfully in the few episodes I’ve watched I didn’t see any love or hip-hop being made.

Hip-Hop has always been a source of much criticism. In the beginning it wasn’t respected as a true art form genre, by the music business, the record companies, radio stations and even the older black community for that matter! Its funny the rebels without a pause of the 60’s grew up and forget what it was like to be young and want to be heard. Hip-hop eventually grew as a generation of youth looked for something that spoke to them. Then the major corporations, Madison Avenue and the media realized how much money could actually be made and it was a wrap!

Instead of joints like I know I Got Soul by Rakim, ‘rappers were selling their soul to go gold, going, going, gone another rapper sold!’ Instead of the era of emcees who felt rap was an art, a way of life a culture, hip-hop gave birth to the rapper. Hip-hop became rap and it became All About The Benjamins, you know the almighty dollar dollar bill ya’ll. Hip Hop that was once as Chuck D said The CNN of the Streets, the bucked the system, like many musical genres before it slowly began to adapt the capitalism society America was founded on.

“As people within the hip-hop generation get older, I think the criticism is increasing,” says author Bakari Kitwana, who was part of a lecture tour titled “Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?” the most interesting statistic is the majority of hip-hop is brought by females.

I would like to add the misogynistic mindframe that manifested over microphones is not an attitude that started with hip-hop. Dont get it twisted, I am in no way trying to justify or condone it, but I am saying if hip-hop never existed the mindframe that is as old as this country is, would still exist! It’s not right, but it didn’t begin nor unfortunately will it end with hip-hop. Nor should we expect it to, we have to all start with the man and woman in the mirror and make or evoke that change.

Comments

About AJ Woodson (2375 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.

19 Comments on I Love Hip-Hop, but It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Defend It!

  1. Ronald Jackson Sr. // March 11, 2015 at 1:42 PM //

    Dope Article Mr. Woodson! keep ’em comin’

  2. Kenneth Houston Sr. // November 4, 2014 at 5:35 PM //

    We do have Christian Hop Hop Bro. And it’s good too

    • Kenneth, I mention that…

      So in closing I’d like to say, instead of telling your children to stay clear of hip-hop. Be proactive and help them seek out the positive artists, the spiritual artists, show them a better way…


      I even shared a Sho Baraka track

  3. Baba KaNandi Ndhlovu // November 4, 2014 at 5:19 PM //

    Real hip hop lives.

  4. True Hip-hop needs no defending now all the trash thats on the air is not even worth any defense.

  5. Truth and more truth. It must be told. Like it or not. #TheTruth

  6. First.. I like the article AJ Woodson… Secondly, while I will always love hip hop, I have for a long time chosen to never concentrate on a single music genre whether it was for my DJing, writing or radio life. With all due respect to many, I always felt that the way for me to stay fresh was to deal with several genres all at the same time. I guess this is why Den Dub and I had so many debates concerning what Hip Hop Culture was/is. I was just more concerned with “good music culture”. I will always love good hip hop music.. but I have to draw the line on supporting the culture.. I just feel like there was always a bigger picture to look at.

  7. I generally agree with what the article is saying. I just disagree with the terminology.

    1st line represents the actual Hip Hop Industry and it’s genre defining sound aka break beats, MC Lyrical Skills, headnod beats. From KRS-One Big Daddy Kane & MC Lyte to Nas Wu-Tang and Boot Camp Clik in the mid 90s, to Planet Asia, Cormega, Cannibal Ox, Killah Priest, & Rozewood, Roc Marciano, to Rapsody.

    Supported by Mainstream Radio in the 80s & 90s. After late 90s, supported by some College Radio Stations and online Radio such as True Hip Hop FM on Tune in Radio and can be programmed into Pandora Radio.

    Line 1 80s&90s —————————————–2000s——————-2014

    Line 2 Represents Club Rap from the 90s to 2014. When it first appeared in the late 90s from Trick Daddy to No Limit to Nelly to Lil Wayne to Drake today. Fully supported by Mainstream Radio and TV

    Line 2 late 90s—————————2000s———————————–2014

    Still today the Mainstream Rap Industry aka Club Rap aka Crunk Snap is fully the choice of Conservative owned Mainstream Corporations and White owned BET but yet it’s losing money. Why? Because the original audience was the Hip Hop audience. They went Undaground.

    When it was the Mid-90s the true Industry made 16.5 Billion dollars. After Real Hip Hop was removed and marginalized into the Undaground, and Club Rap took over the stage, Mainstream sales began to decline.

    Now Mainstream Rap only is making 6.5 Billion. 10 billion dollars less.

    The Restaurant aka Mainstream Radio Corporations should have never changed the Menu.

    Now their in Debt. Clear Channel is hundreds of Billions of dollars in debt. They were once in debt in 2009. They have until 2016 to pay off the debt or else???……

    So Hip Hop doesn’t need defending. It needs finding. People need to find it in the Undaground and stick with it.

    Mainstream Rap aka Club Rap aka Crunk Snap Trap and Autotune aka Commercial Rap and It’s declining sales needs defending. It was always wack.

    Hip Hop was always dope. It’s time so called Hip Hop ‘Experts’ & fans acknowledge that there are Two Industries and Mainstream Rap sounds nothing like Hip Hop anf never has, so it’s not Hip Hop.

    That’s my view.

  8. I have NO problem defending hip hop because I seek, find and celebrate examples from the extreme diversity of hip hop music and culture, a landscape that is rich, varied and vast, instead of getting distracted by commercial radio, which is where most criticisms seem to start and finish.

    Love AJ, and as he said in the end, this was an older post that is still relevant, and it is… But what is needed is more celebration of what is worthy, less generalized bemoaning of that which is not.

    • Manny Faces, The criticism of hip hop, including it being dead is 100% the result of the commercial garbage that’s put out on the radio. You’re spot on.

      But that’s what’s being promoted, what’s selling and what’s forming the tastes of the current and future generations of hip hop.

      When Hip Hop was at it’s best and purest as an artform we were being educated about it from true tastemakers and connoisseurs like Video Music Box/Ralph McDaniels, Pump It Up, Yo, MTV Raps and radio DJs like Red Alert, Mr. Magic, Funkmaster Flex, etc.

      Then in the 90s, BET started playing Crunk/Gansta Rap/Trap music, etc. and brought shame to the game.
      So that’s what everyone was exposed to and had piped in their ears 24/7 for years and years, so they became accustomed to it and kids grew up knowing nothing different and hearing nothing different.

      So now we find ourselves where we are today: no-talent, mushmouthed, illiterate rappers spouting degenerate, childish garbage with no flow, no lyricism, no creativity with horrible messages that simply poison people’s minds instead of uplifting, educating, building, enlightening, inspiring, motivating or even making people angry for a good cause.

      It’s literally the most destructive and degenerate culture in music form being used to program future generations for their own destruction.

  9. I generally agree with what the article is saying. I just disagree with the terminology.

    1st line represents the actual Hip Hop Industry and it’s genre defining sound aka break beats, MC Lyrical Skills, headnod beats. From KRS-One Big Daddy Kane & MC Lyte to Nas Wu-Tang and Boot Camp Clik in the mid 90s, to Planet Asia, Cormega, Cannibal Ox, Killah Priest, & Rozewood, Roc Marciano, to Rapsody.

    Supported by Mainstream Radio in the 80s & 90s. After late 90s, supported by some College Radio Stations and online Radio such as True Hip Hop FM on Tune in Radio and can be programmed into Pandora Radio.

    Line 1 80s&90s —————————————–2000s——————-2014

    Line 2 Represents Club Rap from the 90s to 2014. When it first appeared in the late 90s from Trick Daddy to No Limit to Nelly to Lil Wayne to Drake today. Fully supported by Mainstream Radio and TV

    Line 2 late 90s—————————2000s———————————–2014

    Still today the Mainstream Rap Industry aka Club Rap aka Crunk Snap is fully the choice of Conservative owned Mainstream Corporations and White owned BET but yet it’s losing money. Why? Because the original audience was the Hip Hop audience. They went Undaground.

    When it was the Mid-90s the true Industry made 16.5 Billion dollars. After Real Hip Hop was removed and marginalized into the Undaground, and Club Rap took over the stage, Mainstream sales began to decline.

    Now Mainstream Rap only is making 6.5 Billion. 10 billion dollars less.

    The Restaurant aka Mainstream Radio Corporations should have never changed the Menu.

    Now their in Debt. Clear Channel is hundreds of Billions of dollars in debt. They were once in debt in 2009. They have until 2016 to pay off the debt or else???……

    So Hip Hop doesn’t need defending. It needs finding. People need to find it in the Undaground and stick with it.

    Mainstream Rap aka Club Rap aka Crunk Snap Trap and Autotune aka Commercial Rap and It’s declining sales needs defending. It was always wack.

    Hip Hop was always dope. It’s time so called Hip Hop ‘Experts’ & fans acknowledge that there are Two Industries and Mainstream Rap sounds nothing like Hip Hop and never has, so it’s not Hip Hop.

    That’s my view.

  10. I feel ya bro!

  11. Cynthia Turnquest-Jones // November 4, 2014 at 8:27 AM //

    I love hip-hop! I can listen to a spin and know if it is going to be a hit in 2 minutes. As a rapper & a person who use to be in the studio for hundred of hours I too find it hard to defend 2014 hip-hop. I find myself loving the rhythm & of course the fly ass beats but damit the lyrics are eyebrows up. Perplexing, alarming, and raw lyrics. When we host parties at school we have to monitor and request CLEAN versions. The grandiosity of sex, drugs, and killing is disturbing. BUT I Love Hip-Hop…

  12. As my Facebook status recently said, Dear Hip Hop – I expect more. Sincerely Avid listener.

  13. PREACH!!!

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