Aug 09, 2010 @ 2:32 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 6 Comments
Hip-Hop is the first thing that I discovered on my own when I was young that i feel in love with. The genre has reinvented itself several times since its birth. It went from being the ghetto CNN, the conscious of the people, and rapping about the social ills of the time to becoming an elitist uber misogynistic movement that only talks about “money, hoes, and clothes”. According to CNNmoney.com the recession started in December 2007. This is the worst economic crisis since the great depression. Everybody knows someone who has been out of a job on a long-term basis. People with degrees are forced to work out of there field for lower pay to remain afloat. Most Americans have been on unemployment for at least two years. This group of Americans is affectionately known as the “99-ers”.
By now you must be wondering what does this have to do with hip-hop, well sometimes I wonder if hip-hop artist are aware that the majority of their loyal fan base can’t afford a “champagne diet”. I remember the first time I heard the song “money to blow” by Baby ft Drake and Lil Wayne, I loved the beat the lyrics were okay, but I remember being super offended by the lyrics. I don’t have money to blow and even if I did in this horrific recession, I would have to think twice about doing that. I understand that wealth is the sacred-calf in capitalism, especially for people of color because wealth is new to us in America. As minorities our relationship with money is highly volatile and toxic. Our first inclination when we get some money is to spend it on depreciating assets. Depreciating assets such clothes, shoes, cars, and any other items that “symbolizes” that you have money to blow.
If you are systematically poor and your house is located on the poverty line and your favorite rapper is talking about blowing money fast, I have to wonder what those lyrics do to one’s psyche. Music or art should reflect in my opinion reality. I understand completely that art is a form of escapism. In this urban jungle we can use all the legal/cheap escapism that we can get, but I would like the music I listen to reflect my reality and the world I navigate through. Grant it I know Drake doesn’t drive a scion like me, lives with his mother, or worries about student loans and surmounting credit card debt, but as an unemployed American I want to be respected and want my voice heard in every arena. Hip-hop use to be the pulse of the community. Hip-Hop artist were the griots of there specific community that used their lyrics to give us a preview of the native condition of ghetto people, but now all we get is debauchery, lustful lyrics, and whole entire albums of rappers giving fashion designers/labels, liquor companies, and luxury car makers free publicity. The most disappointing thing that I find in these vapid self-indulgent lyrics is that the rappers aren’t even clever in the way in which they paint the decadent picture.
NPR.com reported that unemployment rates among Blacks is at 10% much higher than the national average and among other minority groups. With a recession that is plaguing both the private and public sector how can the subject of the recession be ignored in hip-hop? A genre of music that started on a grass-roots level. The rapper Young Jeezy released an album in 2008 called “Recession”, but I can’t take an album named “Recession” seriously when you have lyrics that state “My Presidents Black my Lambo’s blue”. This is where I have to part with Jeezy because my scion is blue but its no Lamborghini. Has hip-hop become so mainstream and out of touch that it no longer cares about the fans it claims to mainly represent? What happened to keeping it real? The overwhelming majority of hip-hop fans are working men and women who can’t buy out the bar. They act like they can, but they can’t. Hip-hop needs to start acting like it gives a damn about the masses and our current reality!
Categories: Mind Over Chatter