Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Rap Gets a Bad Rap
Correspondent: Big Juice MG Media

Since hip-hop emerged from the South Bronx in the 1970s, it has become an international, multi-billion-dollar phenomenon. It has grown to encompass more than just rap music—hip-hop has created a culture than incorporates ethnicity, art, politics, fashion, technology and urban life.

While keeping much of its original fan base, hip-hop music and culture have become popular among mainstream consumers—particularly suburban youth. Some believe that as commercial and “gangsta” rap emerged, so did lyrics that glorify drugs, violence and misogyny. Many artists who choose, instead, to feature socially conscious and politically oriented lyrics are considered alternative or underground.

“It became underground versus commercial, and they put us in a box, me and Mos Def and a lot of artists doing what we were doing. And you would see underground and conscious in front of our names as a prefix, but it would almost be like tongue in cheek. It would almost be like, ‘Well, it’s that corny underground stuff.' It wasn’t said in a way that was respectful in a lot of ways, and in the same way that people would talk negative about gangsta rap and not really understand what its roots are." - Talib Kweli

“Well, personally, all rap is socially conscious. The concept of rap itself is socially conscious. But the real difference between socially conscious rap and, I guess, another expression would be the personality of the person doing the rap. It’s not enough to just rap about socially conscious issues. The question is, ‘Are you a socially conscious person?’ So even though your rap may be something that is questionable or controversial or thuggish in nature, but you could still be a socially conscious person and use the resources that you gain in one arena to help out in another.” - KRS-One

“I’m very honored to be labeled as conscious, even though I never wanted a label. They kind of separating me from the everyday street people. But then, after a while, it was like you know what? I am a conscious artist, ’cause consciousness is about awareness. “And also when I look at conscious artists, you could think about Bob Marley, you think about Marvin Gaye, you could think about Stevie Wonder, KRS-One. “And if I can go down anywhere close to them brothers as being a conscious artist, then I’ll be very grateful.” - Common

“[The Spelman student protesters] were saying that some of my videos were degrading towards women, which is a controversy because I don’t really see it like that. As far as what we did, we got adult women, we went to the clubs. I’ve been to adult dance clubs. We portrayed what some would consider a bachelor party. Every guy wants to go to ’em. I didn’t see it as degrading. “The criticism I would give is that there’s room for more love in the music. And there’s room for better treatment of women in the music." - Nelly

“So it’s not like my daughters caused that. But as a guy who has three daughters in addition to a son, when I look at the way the girls are treated in the video, it’s not that I don’t wanna see somebody look sexy. Please. It’s not like I don’t think a woman can be in a bikini, that’s ridiculous. “But sometimes, it’s the way they’re treated and the way they’re constantly portrayed that can be a little disappointing. And I think that’s the only thing that I see as a problem." - LL Cool J

“[The myth that black women are highly sexual] is just as vibrant today as it was 200, 500 years ago. And these myths are over 500 years old, literally. They started in the 16th century, and their vibrancy and their potency has not changed. In fact, we have so many young hip-hop artists and movie stars that emulate that very same image of the she-devil, the woman who’s not sexually responsible, who’d bare her clothes in some other format, and that her self-worth is defined by how much of her body she can show." - Dr. Gail Wyatt, Associate Director, UCLA

“I think parents want to know why their kids are up in their room listening to Eminem. It’s the same thing as the parent who’s like, ‘Don’t watch Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show because I don’t like the way he swivels his hips.' It’s just like a different generation. And I think that’s why kids love it—because their parents don’t like it, but also because their parents don’t understand it. And it’s like a thing that kids can have to themselves.” - Erica Kennedy, Author, Bling

“It’s not just an American thing anymore. It’s a worldwide thing. It’s on every commercial; from wherever you go, you can see it in the world. And then another thing that we’re responsible for is that we actually are bridging that gap tighter and tighter on the racism, because my nephews, who range from, like, 10 to 15, they don’t look at white/black the way you and I, our parents [do]. It’s shifted. And it’s a beautiful thing to see because of the culture.” - Heavy D

“I got into hip-hop to change my life. I come from the streets, so I was able to make a change. I think it’s bad when you got kids getting into hip-hop to want to be bad. Most people that’s on the street, they want a better life. And that’s what me and my friends—we definitely wanted a better life. A thing that makes hip-hop bad is the kids that in it for the glorification. So these kids out in the real world don’t understand that, so they glorify it.” - Master P

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