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Friday, April 20, 2007

Are You A Hip-Hop Apologist?

"The argument is often made by Russell Simmons and others that rappers are poets who simply report on what they feel and their surroundings, and that they shouldn't be censored. As an emcee, on that point we partially agree -- we shouldn't be censored. But balance between the negative and positive needs to be provided, and it currently isn't. Most artistic integrity is questionable at best. My understanding is that artists are supposed to express what they believe in at all costs (if not, there's work at the post office). But most don't, and they mold their approaches to making music based on what they perceive major labels wanting. If Def Jam or Interscope or any of these other large culture-defining companies issued a blanket decree that they would only support material and artists with positive messages then 99% of those making music now would switch up to accommodate. That's real talk. I'm not saying these labels should (or would), but if they did, gangstas would stop being gangstas and misogynists would stop being misogynists at the drop of a DIME. Many artists are like children, and most will say and do what is expected of them in order to benefit financially. And although there is definite self-examination that needs to take place within the artist community, the lion's share of the blame falls on the enablers who only empower voices of negativity. Record labels and commercial radio often use the excuse that they are 'responding to the streets' and that they are 'giving the people what they want.' B*******. They dictate the taste of the streets, and people can't miss what they never knew. The fact is that there are conscious decisions made by the big business and entertainment elite daily about what to present to the masses -- and it is from those choices that we are allowed to decide what we do and do not like. Who presents the music that callers are invited to 'make or break' on the radio? That callers are invited to 'vote on' on T.V.? Who decides on what makes it to the store shelves or the airwaves at all? Like I said, life imitates art, and pseudo-black culture is determined by those other than us every day. Walk into any rap label or urban radio station and you can count the number of black employees on one hand."

Go to http://www.guerrillafunk.com/thoughts/doc000035.html

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Booker T. Washington said:

"There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs....There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

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