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
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.
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.