But I am tired of people saying “Ilisten to hip hop”, stupid you cant listen to hip hop. Can you listen to the 70s??? NO youcan listen to the music of the 70s. That was a period of time, a generation, a culture. HipHop is all of these things. What is hip hop? Hip Hop is everything, and nothing at thesametime.
Hip Hop is a not a genre and shouldn’t be categorized as such. I see countlesssearch engine after search engine and big business after buisness that looks down on theculture and sees it only as a music type. We are not that. Hip Hop is more.
It is notrap/Hip Hop. Rap is a part of hip hop. It is some of the music that comes out of hip hop. There have been M.
C. s since before hip hop. Hip Hop brought emcees that perfected thisart. Hip Hop is first people only see rap, r;b, and the other musics as Hip Hop; whenthese are only part of Hip Hop. Hip Hop is a feeling.
You feel it everywhere, you’re at aparty and you hear that beat in your head, the tingle in your arm, and that feeling you getto jump out and say “hey shorty whutz ya name?” thats Hip Hop. Enough of the poetic disjustice. Hip Hop is not just a black thing. Yes I am black.
Yesblacks created Hip Hop. Yes blacks perfected Hip Hop. Yet the people who lead the wayto hip hop were not racists. And if you believe great men like Martin Luther King Jr. , whofought for equality would want his decendants fighting over an area of equality, You areMISTAKEN! Hip Hop is large and is growing now lets prove that to the world.
Dont fight over to whom it belongs and dont let it become catogorized as just a fad ofmusic. Please dont let them look down on us with prejudgice as “a bunch of bad influencedrug dealers and gangsta rap wanna be’s” because we are more than this. We are hip hop. Let it just consume you. It’s unexplanitory, how I gets sic lifted higher than a hundred stories; I take abeer and I guzzle it, I’m speakin’ so shut your mouth and muzzle it; smokin’ el’s and rollin’reefer, I’ll get you more fucked up than a can of ether; so beautiful when I light it up, andthen I cup my hands when I fire it up.
–Wax of ESMob, “Lil’ Ass Playa” (Losee 1995) Lines much like these are not uncommon in today’s rap music. Many artists areintegrating the subject of drug use into their songs. This combination can be found onmany of the Top 40 and Billboard charts; music such as this has become acceptable andmainstream, especially to younger listeners. In the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s, thepresence of drugs in rap music was non-existent. If rappers talked about drugs, theyadvocated against them. The rap classic, “White Lines”, by Grandmaster Melle Mel,educated listeners about the dangers of drug use and drug abuse.
Drugs were notacceptable in rap music such as they are today. If an artist even mentioned marijuana orany of its thousands of synonyms, the media and the listeners reacted in shock. In themid-1980s, rapper Run of Run DMC claimed, “I keep a bag of cheeba inside my locker”(Ro 1996, p. 73). Even this single sentence produced shock waves. From R;B’s “BrownSugar”, by D’Angelo, to Cypress Hill’s “Hits From the Bong” and Method Man andRedman’s “How High,” all angles of rap music have seemed to blend drug use and music.
It has become agreeable to mix these things; all three of these songs were higher thannumber ten on the Billboard music charts. It is possible to go to any club in any major cityand see hundreds of teens bouncing around and bobbing their heads to this music. Notonly do they dance to it, but most could recite all the lyrics — as they take a hit of a joint. It is almost impossible to challenge any artist about their choice of words. Most take noblame; they will fault the system, society, or even their peers.
Many artists say that theycannot write their chart-topping music without first “smoking a spliff” (Waxenberg 1995). Platinum-selling artist Method Man says, “I can’t just smoke some regular weed and write,’cause regular weed don’t . . .
do nothing for your thoughts. But when I smoke someheadbanger boogie, some of that . . . Hawaiian, I be writin’ super, crazy, ill bombs” (Smith1995).
This is an almost customary answer given by artists. In almost the same words ofMethod Man, rapper Lc of ESMob says, “If I don’t smoke a blizzee, my words come outall plain. But if I smoke one of them fat, super-dooper hooties, I’ll write some crazy,psycho rhymes” (Waxenberg 1995). Most artists will simply ignore responsibility andclaim that it is simply freedom of speech. If one is able to talk to an artist seriously (mostof the time off the record), he will admit that drug abuse is plaguing society and creatingself-destruction.
It is easy to question a rap artist about his or her sayings, but whathappens when a group named Tha Alkaholiks sells over 500,000 copies of their album? Itis simple to quickly jump to conclusions and say that they have a lot of problems and thatthey are poisoning listeners. However, Tha Alkaholiks’ producer, E-Swift, says that he isaware that the name may be exploiting a widespread, deadly disease. He quickly comes tothe group’s defense offering: We don’t drink to the point where we gotta see doctors or no shit like that. Wecoulda sic turned it into a gimmick, dressing all bummy, always in the same clothes, andcarrying a forty — but we didn’t.
We’re aware that alcoholism is a serious problem. Butalcohol isn’t only in hip hop. You see it everywhere you go (Ro 1996, p. 74). This is seemingly a weak defense, but Swift has a point. At any time of the day, anyonecan turn on the television and see someone drinking a martini or mixing a daiquiri.
If aproblem arises, someone will fix a drink. All over every city we see bars and restaurantspromoting happy hours. When questioned, most people cannot remember the last timethey were at an alcohol-free party. Brett Orsak, an executive producer at The DallasCo-nec-con Records, says, “What is a party without a beer or a bottle? I don’t think I’vebeen to a party without alcohol since my twelfth birthday” (Waxenberg 1996). It seems asthough most rappers are not lying when singing about “smoking a blunt and taking ajoyride” (Losee 1995).
However, it is evident that most artists do not drink twenty fortiesper night. Lc says, “Yeah, I like to get drunk. Who doesn’t? But when I’m talkin’ aboutdrinking a whole keg, that’s obviously bullshit. No one does that. I may have a forty ortwo, but that’s it” (Waxenberg 1995). Many artists state that it is simply a state of mind.
Swift says that he used to have a drinking problem. He claims that he probably still drinksas much; but that it is a different frame of mind. When author Ronin Ro asked Swift if hewas just an alcoholic in denial, Swift said, “You prob’ly sic right. But am I hurting you oryour family? I don’t think so. So mind your own” (1996, p. 74) Reverend Calvin Butts andC.
Dolores Tucker, both advocates against rap music, would most likely disagree. Buttsand Tucker claim that even mentioning such things as drug abuse have an effect on younglisteners. This is, however, a debatable issue. Many patrons against rap music claim thatthe artists are promoting drug use and drug abuse. This allegation is difficult to deny whenone views the examples.
Platinum-selling artist Redman was featured on the cover of HighTimes, lighting a blunt. In this particular issue, Redman wrote an article about how to rolla blunt. Rap groups Cypress Hill, Funkdoobiest, and Total Devastation are all advocatesand promoters of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). Almost all of their promotional material (posters, t-shirts, etc. ) contain pictures ofmarijuana leaves as well. A particular Cypress Hill poster pictures a skull with an afro ofmarijuana leaves smoking a joint.
Below the picture are the words, “Stoned is the way ofthe walk” (Waxenberg 1996). On the album “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. . .
,” by Raekwon, heis pictured cooking up something resembling crack. Also, on ESMob’s first album,”Eastatic,” an unrolled joint is pictured — the rolling paper embossed with the wordEastatic. Inside the cover, behind the disc, there is a picture of baggies of marijuana, astack of bills, a pipe, and a necklace with a marijuana leaf. After seeing such material, it ishard to deny these allegations. One of the best known artists and producers in theindustry, Dr.
Dre, has based almost his whole debut album, “The Chronic,” with drugparaphernalia. The disc itself is completely covered with a drawing of a marijuana leaf. The album contains such songs as “The Chronic,” “The $20 Sack Pyramid,” “HighPowered,” and “The Roach”. When Dre was a member of the breakthrough rap groupN. W.
A. , he said on one of his songs, “I don’t smoke weed or sinse, ’cause it only gives abrother brain damage / And brain damage on the mic don’t manage” (Ro 1996, p. 76). On”The Chronic,” Dre boasts, “Make my bud the chronic, I wants to get f—ed up” (Young1992).
There are, however, some groups which advocate against drug use. Most widelyknown is the breakthrough group Public Enemy. Lead singer Chuck D has long beenknown as a positive rapper. He travels to schools and prisons to talk about leading apositive life and staying away from alcohol and drugs. It is quite ironic that Chuck’ssidekick, Flava Flav, has been arrested more than once for possession of crack cocaine,and is currently in rehabilitation.
Chuck says, “Glorifying alcohol and drugs is a quietadmission of defeat. But it’s what folks consider bangin’ at the moment” (Ro 1996, p. 74). Chuck has very strong feelings against the use of drugs. In 1992, he sued St. Ides (amanufacturer of malt liquor) for using a Public Enemy song in a commercial.
Chuck says: I seen to many fights behind this . . . Today you have the same situation, butinstead of beating you up, someone’ll sic run out to their ride and come back with a tool. The problems are ‘accessible ammunition’ and ‘distortion of reality. ‘ When these twocombine, it leads more brothers to the grave .
. . In a quiet way, it’s an admission of defeat. . .
but for some of us, our lives aren’t all bright and sunny (Ro 1996, p. 76). It is difficult to deny that Chuck is right. Drugs are not only creating violence, but theyseem to be destroying our society.
To many people, mostly children and teens, the fortyounce is a symbol of “manhood, rebellion, ghetto chic — even a career choice” (Ro 1996,p. 74). It is difficult for many teens to have fun without a forty or a joint. Songs such as”Tap the Bottle,” by Young Black Teenagers, and “Make Room/Last Call,” by ThaAlkaholiks, do not help this situation at all. Passing a bottle between friends while hangingout at a park is not alcoholism to most teens; but rapper MC Main One says, “If you can’thang on the corner . .
. and chill without a forty being part of the schedule, it’s definitelythe pre-stages of alcoholism” (Ro 1996, p. 74). If a kid must have a forty to have fun andto not be bored, there is obviously evidence of a drinking problem. This idea is a problemthat can be blamed to the contents of some rap music and its promotion.
It will continue tobe a fact of life that all people, especially Americans, drink alcohol and use drugs. It issomewhat disturbing that these things have the ability to place music atop the charts;however, it may be inevitable. Vibe Magazine reporter Ronin Ro sums up the facts of thissituation by saying, “It’s entertainment. There are horror movies if you want to feel scared,porno for perverts, and weed rap for smokers” (1996, p. 76).
The fact is that there willceaselessly be drugs, and there will always be music; these two things somehow willalways find a way to commingle. The best solution may be that the drug problem is solvedand all rap music becomes positive, but a perfect world is impossible. Although this maybe negative, it is true; Americans need to realize this and accept the music for what it is. BIBLIOGRAPHY Armoudian, Maria.
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1993. “Not Just Blowing Smoke. ” Rolling Stone. 662: 16. Gold, Jonathan.
1993. “Dre Day. ” Rolling Stone. 666: 40-124.
Losee, Matthew, and Ryan W. Waxenberg. 1995. “Eastatic. ” ESMob. Dallas: Do-BoyProductions.
Ro, Ronin. 1996. “To Be Blunt. ” Vibe. 4.
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Smith, Danyel. 1993. “Party Out of Bounds. ” Rolling Stone. 669: 64-65.
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