What’s the message in 2012? part 2
So much transpired throughout the World in 2012, and for the most part, mainstream rap music missed it all. For the past several years, pop-rap music has been dominated by figures who have no interest in what’s relevant to the masses lives. They are singularly focused on their own lives, wants and desires. And that’s what they talk about on their records; themselves. Meanwhile, the whole mood in country has changed.
If you were to believe mainstream rap music was the only relevant form of media, you would have missed so many things. There was a Presidential election. The TV news media completely lost its security at the top of the information food chain. Super-storm Sandy up-ended people’s lives in the mostly densely populated area in the U.S. Recreational use of weed was legalized in 2 American states. Women’s rights, voting rights, marriage rights and gun rights were all prominent in the headlines.
However, if you were just to follow mainstream rap music, you would have known none of this. Rappers didn’t discuss what was going on in regular people’s lives. Rappers were still popping bottles, getting paid to party and playing chicks. That’s what their music reflected; a lifestyle devoid of a connection with average reality. Do they really not see what is going on in the life of people? Or is their skill level so low, that they can’t make rhymes about real life sound good? It’s probably the latter. There are a lot of questionably skilled artists currently charting in Billboard.
Even if rappers aren’t interested in politics which ultimately affect their lives, the laws passed regarding weed must be of some concern. Every year Hiphoppas are unjustly targeted for discriminatory arrests and even murder in the case of Trayvon Martin. What is rap music’s reaction? Mainstream rappers encourage more negativity. Rappers find pimping poverty and crime back to the hood through witty phraseology more profitable than informing their brethren about the traps of the street. Where is the introspection about random gun violence or cautions about living like there’s no tomorrow?
Republicans came face to face with reality when their assured victory turned out to be an embarrassing defeat by President Obama for a second term as President of the United States. Did mainstream rappers even care about politicians trying to strip youth, elderly, minorities and others of voting rights that people died to earn? While many rappers pretend to hustle huge quantities of drugs on the regular, studies show that over 3x the number illegal drug dealers selling marijuana are so-called White rather than so-called Black. That doesn’t take into account all the legal drugs being peddled to the consumers either. Why then does the so-called minority mainstream rapper sometimes portray himself as a big-time drug pusher? Who is he emulating?
Hip Hop music, more than rap music, used to highlight injustice and educate listeners in a spirit of each one, teach one. From Chuck D’s, Fight the Power, to KRSONE’s Edutainment, to numerous songs by Poor Righteous Teachers, Brand Nubian, X-Clan, the Native Tongue etc., there have always been cultured rap songs that inform the masses. At one time, those artists were mainstream. Those were the artists you heard on the radio all the time. It was either them or harmless pop-rap (at that time it was called being “commercial”) like Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, EPMD, LL or Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend.” Even Big Daddy Kane was on the radio all the time. Of course you had Kool G Rap and NWA too, but they didn’t get radio play like that. Somehow, maybe just like with the real Freeway Rick Ross, NWA type sentiment was mainstreamed to the younger rap audience. Today, we have artists like youngin’ Chief Keef, mocking other rappers death on Twitter.
Of all the artists named , over 50% smoke weed recreationally. Though all happen to be so-called minorities, only 14% of marijuana users in the U.S. are so-called Black. However, the fact that so-called Blacks, make up 31% of annual marijuana possession arrests while being 12% of the U.S. population is topic due for discussion amongst Hiphoppas because that’s who that number comprises. Over half of those targeted for arrest are Hip Hop youth. Yet where is the meaningful dialogue?
Some have even proposed that because of the way some Hiphoppas dress, they are do suspicion as in the Trayvon case, where he looked odd because of wearing a hoodie. Rappers don’t help the situation though, by pretending to be menaces to society so they can feel superior over the next man. Endless tales of merciless aggression towards other people that look just like them is standard in “Trap” music. People even acknowledge that they call the hood or parts of the neighborhood “the trap” because, its a trap. That doesn’t stop them from glorifying it though. Besides their own pockets, who are they helping?