Rappers Delight, The Message, when having a pair off Adidas was big, Salt and Peppa and Mc Lyte proved you could be on top and a lady at the same damn time, when NWA dropped “F— Tha Police,” but we realized this music we loved could simultaneously be angry, make us dance with Digital Underground, while KRS-1 and Chuck D made us think and challenge our condition, all while Big Daddy Kane made us just want to be fly.
We didn’t have to choose conscious over gangsta, party over message, or righteous over raunchy. We could exist in the real world with our hip-hop with out a label or network telling us what we would like. Our hip-hop was never perfect; it was just given the chance to grow in an environment that was a little more honest.
I don’t hate Hip-Hop now. I hate that we have so little power within it that the brilliance that is our young soldiers is bought and sold for pennies and they believe their balling because they can make it rain. But there is a reality that can’t be taken away from many of the members of the new school. Like them or not, they have a work ethic and grind that is admirable. They have put energy into the studio that used to be reserved for the street. And many have understood the value of ownership, when many of us who judge them own nothing.
We are seeing hip-hop grow up when you have more and more public artists with private marriages and relationships that encourage healthy love and appreciation. Hip-Hop is growing up when Jay-Z can have twitter abuzz with events and ownership at the Barclay Center, 50 can have the world drinking vitamin water, and the Smiths can direct and produce their own son’s blockbuster movie.
So yes, we all want hip-hop to do and be more. We should challenge the misogyny, condemn anti-intellectualism, and embrace positive messages. But we must always honor negative truth. Let we not forget that hip-hop in the best hands has served as the sound track for reality when others were afraid to speak.
Get rid of the fake gangsta’s; but don’t deny real stories of modern street life to be erased in the name o political correctness. We want more Lupe Fiasco’s and Kendrick Lamar’s, Dee-1 from New Orleans and others who keep it hot and positive to be PART of the main stream. But in these days what we need is truth, the good and the bad. Hip-Hop can still be used to inspire a generation.
If you don’t believe me, look at a video from the Orr Elementary School in DC. They made a rap called “My School Is Awesome.” They are the real future of hip-hop and I pray they can take it back in ways we didn’t know how to.
By; Jeff Johnson