This month's Bamboozled award goes to... the SCUMBAGS WHO RUINED HIP HOP

I appreciated Sister Moody's article below, which is a helpful articulation of many of the internal reasons why hip hop is in decline.

I wish she also would have addre
ssed the deeper problem, the cause: the super rich elites who control the production, distribution and radio/video play of pop music in North America, the same people who bought out the small labels when political hip hop was in its ascendancy, the same people who replaced conscious hip hop and its aesthetics with gangsta and then playa rap.

Nekesa Mumbi Moody writes (April 9, 2007) for the Associated Press, saying:

"NEW YORK -- 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 tap. But after 30 years of growing popularity, rap music is now dealing with an alarming sales decline and growing criticism from within about rap culture's negative effect on society.

"Chuck Creekmur who runs, says he got a message from a friend 'asking me to hook her up with some Red Hot Chili Peppers because she said she's through with rap. A lot of people are sick of rap. The negativity is just over the top now.'

"Nas [who sold out a Saturday concert at House of Blues] challenged the condition of the art form when he titled his latest album Hip-Hop is Dead. It's at least ailing, according to recent statistics: Though music sales are down overall, rap sales slid a whopping 21 percent from 2005 to 2006, and for the first time in 12 years, no rap album was among the top 10 sellers of the year. A recent study by the Black Youth Project showed a majority of youth think rap has too many violent images. In a poll of black Americans by The Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices last year, 50 percent of respondents said hip-hop was a negative force in American society.

"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 book I Am Hip-Hop partly to create something positive about rap for young children, including her 4-year-old daughter.

"'I'm not removed from it, but I can't really tell the difference between Young Jeezy and Yung Joc. It's the same dumb stuff to me,' says Duncan-Smith, 33. 'I can't listen to that nonsense. I can't listen to another black man talk about you don't come to the 'hood anymore and ghetto revivals. I'm from the 'hood. How can you tell me you want to revive it? How about you want to change it? Rejuvenate it?'

"Hip-hop also seems to be increasingly blamed for a variety of social ills. Studies have attempted to link it to everything from teen drug use to increased sexual activity among young girls.

"Though rap has been, in essence, pop music for years, and most rap consumers are white, some worry that the black community is suffering from hip-hop -- from the way America perceives blacks to the attitudes and images being adopted by black youth.

"But David Banner derides this growing criticism as blacks joining America's attack on young black men who are only reflecting the problems within their communities. Besides, he says, that's the kind of music America wants to hear.

"'Look at the music that gets us popular -- "Like a Pimp,"' says Banner, naming his hit.

"'What makes it so difficult is to know that we need to be doing other things. But the truth is at least us talking about what we're talking about, we can bring certain things to the light,' he says. 'They want [black artists] to shuck and jive, but they don't want us to tell the real story because they're connected to it.'

"Criticism of hip-hop is certainly nothing new -- it's as much a part of the culture as the beats and rhymes. Among the early accusations were that rap wasn't true music, its lyrics were too raw, its street message too polarizing. But the criticism rarely came from the genre's youthful audience, which was in love with a style that defined them as no other music had.

"'As people within the hip-hop generation get older, I think the criticism is increasing,' says author Bakari Kitwana, who is currently part of a lecture tour titled 'Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?'

"'There was a more of a tendency when we were younger to be more defensive of it,' he adds.

"During her '90s crusade against rappers whose lyrics were degrading to women, activist C. Dolores Tucker certainly had few allies within the hip-hop community or even among young black women. Backed by conservative folks such as William Bennett, Tucker was vilified within rap circles.

"In retrospect, 'many of us weren't listening,' says Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting, a professor at Vanderbilt University and author of Pimps Up, Ho's Down: Hip-Hop's Hold On Young Black Women.

"'She was onto something, but most of us said, "They're not calling me a bitch, they're not talking about me, they're talking about those women." But then it became clear that, you know what? Those women can be any women.'

"One rap fan, Bryan Hunt, made a searing documentary Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes that debuted on PBS. Hunt addresses the biggest criticisms of rap, from its treatment of women to the glorification of the gangsta lifestyle that has become the default posture for many of today's most popular rappers.

"'I love hip-hop,' Hunt, 36, says in the documentary. 'I sometimes feel bad for criticizing hip-hop, but I want to get us men to take a look at ourselves.'

"Yet Banner says there's a reason why acts such as KRS-One and Public Enemy don't sell anymore. He recalled that even his own fans rebuffed positive songs he made -- such as 'Cadillac on 22s,' about staying away from street life -- in favor of songs such as 'Like a Pimp.'

"'The American public had an opportunity to pick what they wanted from David Banner,' he says. 'I wish
America would just be honest. America is sick. America loves violence and sex.'"


Anonymous said…
Moody could not have "addressed the deeper problem". If she had, AP (white folks and friends)would not have carried the story. Well done, Minister.
ZOZ said…
I would also add that in terms of music that so often glorifies crime and amoral behaviour, its fans might be cutting edge when it comes to not bothering to pay for it.

Now hot country just plain sucked, which is why it died such a death already.