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Fall So Hard

June 18, 2012

 “We live in a generation where there is nothing necessarily to fight for politically, whereas in the Marley documentary [for example] he was fighting for peace in Jamaica. [There’s] nothing necessarily for me to step up and say I want to fight for, but there is a way for me to give moments to the world, and to bear my emotions and hope that I’m remembered as that guy who was able to bring people together. I want to be that guy. I want to bring people together.”
– Drake, in an interview with Sway via MTV.com

If you’re a fan of hip-hop, R&B, or pop culture in general, you’ve probably heard about the fight that Drake and Chris Brown had recently at a New York City club. The cause of the fight is really not that relevant, except for the fact that it had nothing to do with anything of consequence to society at large.

Although calling either Drake or Chris Brown a rapper is a stretch (well Drake is rapper/singer), both artists are members of the hip-hop community. Up until the past 10 – 15 years or so, hip-hop solidly represented the voice of the people. Sure, there were party songs and battle raps, but socially conscious songs and artists formed a third pillar in hip-hop. Thus, while De La Soul chilled out, Public Enemy hit hard. Queen Latifah could rap about unity, while Adina Howard could talk about being a freak. Naughty by Nature could talk about other people’s property and the challenges of being a ghetto bastard – in the same album. And of course Tupac was everything from a thug to a poet to a revolutionary all at the same time.

The point is that artists spoke out about what was going on in their communities. They raised social issues that were otherwise overlooked in the mainstream consciousness. Instead of ball so hard, I wonder how did hip-hop fall so hard. Even N.W.A.’s “F*ck the Police” spoke to police brutality and profiling. Given the recent stop & frisk march in New York, N.W.A. is more relevant to today than either Drake or Chris Brown.

Ironically, according to Drake’s statement, he doesn’t seem to believe that there’s anything to fight for, politically or otherwise. Bringing people together is cool, but the fact that Black and Latino youth are getting jacked up by the police is not.

Of course there are artists within the hip-hop community that speak out on social issues, such as Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, and Rebel Diaz, but they are marginalized to an extent. One can blame everything on the corruption of the music industry, and the industry deserves much of the blame. At the same time, it is a shame that some of the more successful artists are more concerned about personal wealth than actually fighting for a cause. If Drake’s comments are accurate, and he (and/or other artists) don’t see any causes to fight for, then hip-hop is in a much sadder state than I thought.

It’s easy to throw bottles over pride, but it doesn’t show any personal integrity. Standing up for justice, particularly for the communities that gave birth to hip-hop, that takes real courage.

From → Commentary

3 Comments
  1. ronireports permalink

    BEAUTIFULLY STATED!! i agree with you 99%, unfortunately they seem to think life is all about them, so how can they really make a difference in the things that really matter.

  2. Talib permalink

    I’m inclined to say it’s like Kweli stated, “the hood needs us but rappers just ain’t the right leaders.” (I Try). Yet at the same time, others DID serve as leaders, as least to some extent. Everyone isn’t going to be Chuck D, but we definitely need more voices to step up.

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