Apr 13, 2008

When Rap Got Whack

There's another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "`Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. `Gangsta rap' didn't exist."

Well alright to Ms. Alicia Keys. I expressed the same opinion to Marcos just the other day. The way I remember it back in the day. Prior to N.W.A., it was all about LL Cool J, Erik B. & Rakim, Public Enemy, KRS-One and so on. While some of their music had that crotch-grabbing macho thing going on, the focus was on beats and lyrical skills. Then "gangsta rap" comes on and glorifies the worse elements of urban life for people of color. I can vividly recall when overnight the format on my favorite radio station in NYC changed its format to this audio poison.

Mind you I'm not trying to say this genre should have been kept off the radio. I don't believe in censorship. But, what I am objecting to is that the content was rarely uplifting or provided ideas to remedy the problems, they spoke about. I feel that gangsta rap encouraged violence, by making young Black and Brown people afraid of each other.

I also find it fucked up that any other types of rappers that were not on the gangsta rap bandwagon, where left to the wayside. Which resulted in a lack of diversity of voices in hip hop culture. This imbalance, along with other factors, created a pathology that contributed to the unraveling of communities and diminished virtues that celebrate our shared humanity.

I believe that music has the power to create positive change in the universe. Think about how important music has been used in movements, spirituality, self-exploration, celebration and intimacy. Music really does matter in the world. What a shame when it gets used to divide and conquer the masses.


Junior said...

Allan, you didn't even mention that it was sometime around this time when the majority of rap consumers switched from black people to young white men, which poses another problem altogether.

Allan S. said...

Ahh yes Junior. How can I forget that important piece of the story. Aint that some shit. These fake gangstas, exploited the plight of their community, to sell to white suburban kids that were far removed from the "mean streets." Lord, how people enjoy other people's drama.