Posts sent on: 2016-07-05

Our Kids And Rap Music

05 Jul 2016 
As both a genre and a culture, hip-hop can be generally divided into two camps: There are the flashy, materialistic, often misogynistic artists you hear on Conscious Hip Hop Music commercial radio who sell records in ridiculous amounts, and the introspective, socially conscious artists who are solely accountable to themselves for staying relevant. He is the founder of The Annual Teaching With Purpose Conference, and The Conscious Rap Project Lecture Series, that will tour nationwide Fall 2014. What troubles me about these very tentative conclusions is that it dooms socially conscious rap to a more marginal place. While promoting the image of the outcast and outlaw, Gangsta Rap also promotes excessive consumption of sneakers, jeans, colognes, champagne, cars, and sports drinks.

Thinking back, I do not think it was an accident that Hip Hop music changed so drastically from being positive and empowering to negative music that reinforced the gang lifestyle. His unmatched lyrical mastery helps him produce some of the most interesting lyrics in all of reggae music. Same with electronic music, I've had a lot of people tell me it's not real music, that producers of electronic music aren't musicians, etc. Any musical genre can be discounted in some form or fashion, and yet rap is the only musical genre I have ever heard white people debate.

Sadly, looking back on those glory days of the Golden Era, I realise that conscious rap was just an aberration, merely a temporary blip. Nonetheless, Coloring Book is one of the strongest rap albums released this year and is destined to be one of the strongest rap albums released this year and is destined to be on year-end aplenty. Classical music, even without words, has a transitional melody, more complex (generally) than a rap song.

The type of rap that is most often heard on the radio and what people are most familiar with. To dance to a rhythm without conscious thought is a pure reaction - it is not an art. But more importantly, as a black man, I am empowered by a more three-dimensional, multifaceted view of who I am being portrayed in rap that people may actually hear without having to dig for it. Not all black people are poor and resorting to illegal means to make ends meet. With its confrontational style, Rap defied both Black and White middle class norms.

Most rap music that makes the Billboard charts is about women or money with the occasional drug song. We are so much more than turning up or, at least, we should be. To achieve mainstream success or sell enough records to keep the lights on many artists force themselves to make turn-up music even when we know that's not them. The collective white ear is still unable to fully appreciate the song being sung in rap.

As one can make arguments of the effects of commercialism and globalization on redefining rap's counter-public space, I am interested in misogyny and its transitions in rap. Though Cube's message has always had a socially and politically relevant flavor and still does. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince were the first group to win a Grammy award, in 1988, for their commercial music. Due to label pressure and the fear of not selling records, some artists dumb down their music to cater to the masses and record companies looking for the next big single.
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