June 1, 2008

Is hip-hop really ruining the kids?

Oh here we go. I saw this question last night, "is hip-hop music & culture ruining African-American youth?"

I was going to be like, "Why just AFRICAN-AMERICAN? I think Whitey is more susceptible to hip-hop than we are anymore!" I mean, it's truuuue~

But anyway, I was thinking, a year ago I probably would have said something like "Don't get me STARTED" and start waving my finger and rolling my neck. And then I'd probably give about a thousand reasons why hip-hop/rap is fucking my people up.

But either I've finally reached some sort of Zen or what, but lately I've been getting re-re-re-in touch with my musical roots and the fact that I actually like hip-hop and I think I'm one of about 200 people still living that can make the distinction between rap and hip-hop XD (hint: there really isn't one). My point is, after rediscovering my love for hip-hop, doing some reflection and just generally getting on with it, I've realized it's NOT hip-hop ruining African-American youth. Not what I consider to be hip-hop anyway.

For one thing, I listen to some pretty old school stuff and just what's generally outside the mainstream. I listen to stuff like Common and Rakim and Snoop and (with Eric B of course) Q-Tip/Tribe Called Quest and just...yeah. I'll give newer stuff a try sometimes too. But all that is what I really consider to be "hip-hop", not always necessarily on the intellectual side like some snobs would have you believe (I said it, snobs!) but it's not the mainstream, watered-down junk like Lil Wayne and...I dunno, 50 Cent, whoever the kids like now. Yes, I am current I just can't think of names right now.

Actual hip-hop! Rakim & Eric B, Paid In Full

Anyway, my point is before saying hip-hop music is destroying our young black men and ladies, first you have to consider what hip-hop really IS. Then you have to separate what you consider hip-hop from what...isn't. And that's hard sometimes, since...I might consider Such and Such hip-hop but someone else would call it "rap", which is wrong since rap and hip-hop are more or less the same thing...it's like any other kind of music, like techno/electronic or rock and it's many stages.

Well so far I've just harped on music, but what about culture? Is hip-hop culture ruining black youth? Again I say nay, because what I actually consider to be hip-hop culture--which is NOT the pants-sagging, ghetto attitude, bitches & hos "lifestyle" that I know we're all familiar with--isn't even a negative influence. Real hip-hop culture is about wanting to better yourself and actually get OUT of the damn hood, not be a hoodlum the rest of your life because it's cool. The hip-hop culture I think of isn't even necessarily a negative influence.

Well, DMX was hip-hop early on in his career until he went mainstream, and subsequently crazy. But he's a decent example of whose lifestyle you SHOULDN'T follow.

So what culture is really ruining black youth? Fuck, the same culture that's ruining everyone ELSE...and hip-hop has nothing to do with that.

So to end my ramble, I'll just say that black youth have a lot more to worry about than letting music and some perceived culture keep them down, we seem to like bringing ourselves down without any help :P luckily the question didn't directly involve, "So what IS keeping African-American youth down?" Now THERE'S something I could get started on for days and days.

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