Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Before we begin, check out Lauryn Hill’s “Black Rage.” 

I love hip-hop. It’s an amazing art form, and it’s so diverse. In light of some of the recent happenings in the world (the situation in Ferguson, MO, the Ezell Ford shooting in LA, the incident in Ohio, the Tulsa police shooting, Robin Williams’ suicide, etc), some have brought up the question of “what can hip-hop do to educate people or cause change?” In the 1980s and 1990s, artists jumped to the mic in droves to speak on messed-up situations with the government and the police (not really mental illness, though; that’s another monster entirely which I spoke on on Boi-1da.net). These days, however, it seems that artists won’t speak on an issue unless there’s something to gain from it (publicity, saving face, etc). Is that indicative of artists being “owned” by their labels, therefore hindering them from speaking on issues?* Or is it just that today’s generation of artists aren’t educated on how messed up these issues are?

I think it’s unfair to say that every artist doesn’t give a you-know-what, regardless of their subject matter. I actually got into a bit of a “Twitter argument” with Lecrae over his semi-condemning of “violent” mainstream hip-hop, due to the idea that even if some music is violent in nature, it doesn’t exactly mean that all hip-hop that isn’t love, peace, and harmony is counterproductive. However, there is a tinge of apathy from the world as a whole–since some tend to devote focus to hot button issues, then move onto the next quicker than you can say “keyboard revolutionary.” Of course, human rights are something that need/deserve to be spoken on at all times. Thankfully, the message is getting across that people can’t just #TweetJustice and expect something to change overnight.

But, you combine this “where’s the next cause?” mentality with a generation that is more likely to turn Trayvon Martin into a meme, you’re asking for idiocy from the masses. Rappers aren’t excused from this. But, as “leaders” of black culture, hip-hop artists have to aid those whom they claim to represent–which is why I always applaud artists who give to charities, or do nonprofit work (or speak on these “real-life issues”). I’m also applauding the artists who have used their voices to speak on and/or out about these tragedies. As always, though, these are just my opinions on the matter. Feel free to tweet me on the matter.

*I will not go into how major label artists aren’t “allowed” to speak out (that’s another post entirely). I just wish that everyone could…put their money where their mouth is (plug, but not a shameless one).

@SpeedontheBeat

This week in hip-hop saw yet another salvo fired off in one of the longest-running quasi-feuds in hip-hop. After Drake, in a Rolling Stone interview, called Jay Z’s many, many, many references to Basquiat, Warhol, and other visionaries–a word thrown around way too much for way too many people, but that’s another post for another time–“wack,” Jay fired back on Drake’s own Soulja Boy’s song. Judge for yourself, but as is typically the case, the lyrics are pretty NSFW. Although, we do get an appearance from hip-hop’s resident hermit, Jay Electronica–that’s coming from a Jay Elec fan, by the way.

Since at least 2007, Jay and YMCMB/CMR have traded bars with each other. Honestly, I enjoy the “shots” because it takes hip-hop back to those old-school days when Big and Pac were still living–or even when Fiddy went at everyone. You know, the days when rappers weren’t afraid to just throw shots at each other in a competitive nature to keep their competition on their toes–and their own buzz up. As long as it creates some “DAMN! REWIND DAT!” moments, without, you know, the fisticuffs of a Source Awards or something I’m all for the back and forth. It doesn’t seem to really be anything more than friendly competition at this point–unless we start getting “Control”-like responses from people.

Man, that song got on my nerves.

*****

Cole Alexander Hates Drake and Loves His Rap “ignorant, ratchet, and ghetto.

This is Cole Alexander, guitarist for Black Lips, a rock group out of Athens, Georgia.

cole-alexander-black-lips

I’ve never bothered to listen to Black Lips that much. I remember they had a song on the Scott Pilgrim movie soundtrack and had a sort of southern punk vibe to them. They’re the type of band hipsters love, as evidence by Alexander being chosen to talk to A.V Club about his “hatesong.”

Here’s the thing: there isn’t anything inherently wrong with a white guy liking “ratchet” rap. That’s fine and dandy. People are allowed to like what they like. What is kind of crappy about Alexander’s opinion is that it places a white, male gaze on a genre created by “minority” artists. That, plus his whole, “white people now usually don’t have to deal with racism, so they allow blacks to make racist jokes as ‘payback’ for their ‘white guilt’ and stuff” diatribe on Macklemore, whom he seems to channel in the above photo. I’ve got two sets of three words for this guy, but I can’t say them on here. So…Why The Face?

I guess I’m going to have to bring back my “Fail of the Week.” Also, Modern Family FTW.

*****

Elle Varner Doesn’t Want Anyone to “See [Her] Tonight”

Back when Elle first came out, I had a bit of a Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) going for her. She, musically, had that Chrisette Michelle thing going for her, but “cooler.” Now while her debut didn’t move the numbers some predicted (honestly, it was epic, but still had a lot of boring and/or misguided moments), it was a decent debut. Her second album, slated for a late-2014 release, seems destined to silence doubters–or die tryin’. This song captures her “Only Wanna Give It To You” vibe, splashes it over a song about rejection, and succeeds. It, in some ways, sums up her first album in about five minutes. “I’m attractive and relatively famous, but I still get antsy about being rejected. And when/if it happens, like anyone else, I get kind of sad about it. And when I get sad, I may shed a tear or two…and I don’t want people seeing that because they see me as strong and powerful and stuff.”

 *****

Indie Spotlight of the Week, “Art in Reality” by True God of #TeamDAR (Prod. by Speed on the Beat)

(Lyrics NSFW on both of these) Yes, yes, I’m tooting my own horn on this one. Sue me. The first track I’ve worked on myself since my own #MoneyWhereYoMouthIs, it speaks on True’s journey through music and music’s state as a whole. It’s a pretty awesome track that utilizes a slightly unexpected sample. Also, this:

(Sorry, Arteest, my dude. I had to. Everyone, #SupportIndieMusic)

Until next time.

-Speed

 

(Disclaimer: The thoughts in this post are the views of Speed on the Beat and do not necessarily reflect the views of all involved with Thee Arteest, even though I hope they do. Seriously, there’s got to be a better way)

It seems that this year is the year of the Duck(worth), as Mr. “I Tuck [Sensitive] Rappers Back into Pajama Clothes” has yet another headline-stealing week.

Hii-Fivver

The K Dot Hii-Five. The rap equivalent of the “YES!” chant.

Hot on the heels of avoiding a potential split of Black Hippy (read: as real as Santa Claws), Kendrick pulled his best Kanye West impression and, per reports, decided to ditch the GQ Man of the Year Party. You know, the same “award” that he just won a little while ago and looked quite uncomfortable on the cover for? His decision stems from the rapper feeling (potentially rightfully so) some type of way about how the magazine portrayed him and his image. This seems to be a constant theme with the BH camp – and rappers as a whole these days. Sheesh! What happened to the days when outsiders – not [just] those outsiders, Lord Jamar – observed and kept it at that. Oh, wait, they never happened. But, I digress.

Uncomfortable smiles show the deepest disdain

Uncomfortable smiles show the deepest disdain

This whole thing stinks of some sort of post-racism racism (if you want to read more about my thoughts on that as a whole, check out this link). I mean, let’s look at some of the things the interviewer said about Kendrick and hip-hop as a whole. During his time with Lamar, Steve Marsh states that “[he didn’t see] anyone roll even the thinnest spider leg of a jay, nor did [he] see Kendrick so much as glance at the many, many girls around him.” Essentially, the writer is surprised–flabbergasted, even–that this group of young blacks didn’t revert to their “tribal” roots and attempt to have sex with every woman within earshot and/or get blitzed out of their minds while toting “gats” out the windows. Now, I don’t know Steve Marsh. I have nothing to go off of his knowledge of rap music–or, hell, even black people–other than what he’s giving us here (and his profiles of NBA players’ style choices). And what he’s giving us is stereotyped-seeped drivel that’ll do nothing but further the idea that blacks are dangerous (and those who aren’t are one in a million). And let’s not even get into the Kendrick/Suge Knight comparison or I’ll drop more four-letter words than K. Michelle’s body suit dropped jaws. But, we, to a degree have to wonder: is it up to Steve Marsh to write a piece on Kendrick Lamar that presents him accurately? Or is it up to Marsh to present him in a way that is easy for the majority of the GQ audience to get into (in other words, the “non-threatening, but still threatening, negro boy from the ‘hood that’s trying to be respectful of people’s sensibilities while still showcasing ‘real n-word ish'”) and then either rally around or reject?

I wish it was the first one.

Inversely, and not even rap-related (but still related to the problems I’m speaking on here), there’s a big brouhaha brewing about this “knockout” game. I’m not going to go into specifics, but it involves groups of teens stalking people to attempt a one-hit knockout on. Most of these groups are, per reports and videos, groups of young black kids. This isn’t a new thing! Similar situations, such as the Bum Fight videos, snuff films, and so on, have been in existence for years! But, the media will show–and then focus on–young black kids hitting old Jewish guys, children, and women because it allows for a more “victim versus aggressor” picture. If it were a group of white kids, it’d still be promoted/pursued, but seemingly in a way akin to those prankster kids who were throwing milk jugs at people, based on reactions seen in similar instances of civil disobedience. Groups of young black men scare people. Groups of young blacks hitting people? Exponentially more so.

Now, I want you to know this: I do not dislike white people. I’m part white myself on my father’s side. Some of my best friends are indeed white and have been there for me in trying times even more than my black friends. I think that black people sometimes allow for these stereotypes to continue. I also think that black people sometimes focus on the wrong things in our community. Ultimately, I want peace and unity and all that warm and fuzzy stuff. But, enough is enough, from both sides of this debate! How many more Trayvon Martin’s and George Zimmerman’s (on any and every side) will we have to go through before people finally stop acting like morons about race? It’s a touchy subject, and one I didn’t expect to get into on this level in this post, but it’s one that needs to be talked about.

Am I the best person to talk about it? Probably not. But, someone’s got to start the talk, lest we all just let our society fall, fail, and falter.

P.S.: Check out the GQ Article here and let us know how you feel about this issue.