All Articles Tagged "hip hop"
From The Grio
If you were following the Metropolitan gala via twitter last night, you may have heard that rapper Kanye West performed and premiered some new music.
The annual star studded-event brings A-listers from all parts of the entertainment world, and while Kanye was with his very pregnant girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, no one was expecting Yeezy to surprise the audience.
Read more at TheGrio.com
White rappers aren’t particularly a new thing. Every few years — or decades — a hot white rapper pops up on the scene and audiences and critics go wild. There was Vanilla Ice in the ’90s, Eminem in the 2000s, and now Macklemore is becoming the hot new white kid on the block.
According to rapper Scarface, we should get used to it. The Houston, Texas, native and member of the Geto Boys recently did an interview with Vlad TV on his musical influences and when asked where he thinks hip-hop is heading, his prediction wasn’t too promising.
“It’s gone be all white kids,” he said. “It’s gonna be like rock n’ roll. To find a Geto Boys record in 25 years is gone be rare.”
Unfortunately, he’s probably right. Not that we have anything against white lyricists, but the more mainstream rap becomes, the greater the opportunity for misappropriation, and sooner or later the musical genre won’t be our thing anymore. The majority of audiences at rap concerts these days are becoming increasingly white and with record companies chasing gimmicks as opposed to talent, it wouldn’t surprising to most of us if the new face of hip-hop became a white one. But in the 25 years we have until this prediction may come true, there is still hope since the ultimate power lies with the consumer.
What do you think about Scareface’s prediction? Is he right?
‘Some Of The Cattiest People I’ve Dealt With Have Been Men:’ Jas Fly Defends ‘Gossip Game’s’ Image Of Black Women
If you’ve caught only one episode of “The Gossip Game” this season, you’d know that journalists, bloggers, and radio personalities are not above falling victim to the set-up of reality TV. Already we’ve seen the ladies argue, nearly fight, and apparently spit on one another all in the name of getting to the top. After watching things unravel, we had no choice but to ask writer Jas Fly if she thinks the ladies’ behavior contributes to the glass ceiling women experience in the hip-hop industry. Here’s what she had to say.
‘Hip-Hop Ain’t Never Been About Hurting Innocent People:’ T.I. Mad Over Boston Bomber-Rap Connection
If you were curious why “TMZ Reports” was trending on Twitter yesterday with the most hilarious rap lyrics ever, it was because the “you heard it here first” gossip site published a story with the headline “Dead Bombing Suspect Heavy Into Rap.” Almost immediately, the site was side-eyed for reporting that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 26-year-old suspect believed to be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing who was killed yesterday, had an email associated with the website, Real-hiphop.com, insinuating rap’s “violent” lyrics could have influenced his act of homegrown terrorism.
As much as people dismissed that overzealous — and inappropriate — attempt to identify a cause for Tamerlan and his brother Dzhokhar’s actions, nobody was not having that explanation more than T.I. See on top of being a rapper, the King of the South’s image was used in a promo screen grab related to the soon-to-be developed website, connecting him not so indirectly with this heinous occurrence. And that’s why he sought to clear his name, and rap’s, telling TMZ not only does he not know anything about this real hip hop site, he knows for sure rap has nothing to do with what these brothers did.
“Hip hop narrates the activity and conditions of our culture, it doesn’t create them,” he said. ”Hip hop ain’t never been about hurting innocent people.”
As far as Boston goes, he said the event last week “was a horrible tragedy and my prayers go out to the families involved.”
Set ‘em straight T.I.P.
Question…and this is embarrassing…
What if we, you and me, are to blame, at least partially, for what happened in Steubenville, what we hear on “U.O.N.E.O.,” and the unfortunate rape culture within Hip Hop?
I’ve seen and heard many response from artists, consumers, readers, bloggers, journalists, etc. who are not happy with Rick Ross’ lyrics. Things like“He’s misguided.” “He took it too far.” “He hasn’t offered a real apology.”
To them I say: We have misguided him.We have allowed him to take it that far. And he’s not the only one who needs to really apologize—although mere remorseful words alone won’t change the entire culture.
For the record, the rape culture is not exclusive to Hip Hop. Many have adamantly expressed that point. And they are obviously correct. But if we want to be proud of Hip Hop for its presence on the global stage, let’s not downplay the influence it then has, whether deservingly or not, on popular culture. The culture of rape that exists within the broader society needs to be attacked, but it is also reasonable to challenge people with respect to their influence. Platforms should bring expectations because platforms give power. Sure, it’s not fair for mainstream society to demonize a culture (hip hop) rooted in the black community when society at large faces the same issues. But our double standard arguments can be distracting. We want the blame to be shared for the rape culture, great; but let’s not argue that so much so that Hip Hop becomes a victim of mainstream media, and we forget the issue at hand! What would make Rick Ross think he could rap those lyrics? Did he really think no one would catch them? Or did he not think there was anything to catch that was troublesome?
By no means am I suggesting, as he did, that the lyrics are being misinterpreted. Because if they were, he would have told us what he really meant. Then again, can you imagine? A Hip Hop artist having to explain his lyrical content? That might be shocking enough considering a good beat is all you really need to distract people from your bad (in multiple senses) lyrics. So, why did he say it? Better yet, why did he think it, then write it (pardon me if he goes off the dome), and have no qualms about even recording it? Not to mention, everyone else who let that verse make the final master.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that in the early ’90s the Supreme Court decided Uncle Luke and the 2 Live Crew could be as As narsty As They Wanna Be. And guess what? President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, defended the 2 Live Crew in this landmark decision. Or maybe it was back in the late ’80s when we allowed N.W.A. to glorify brutality against the police in response to police brutality. (They were speaking truth about police injustice, but two wrongs will never equal right.) Then again, it could have been in 2004 when we dismissed Spelman students for not allowing Nelly to hold a bone marrow drive at their school without addressing his “Tip Drill” video at the event as well. Better yet, maybe it’s because so much of what is in popular Hip Hop songs, in general, already revolves around sex. And their videos leave not much to the imagination. Everything points to sex. But it’s not just the male rappers; from Foxy Brown and Lil Kim before to Nicki Minaj today, sex permeates the content. Meanwhile, we’re all for free speech, and artistic liberty, but what is it doing to the culture? Do we not realize that what artists say and do trickles down to our youth?
Dr. Dre & 2 Live Crew Then, Rick Ross Now: Are The Risque Lyrics In Today’s Hip-Hop THAT Bad Compared To In The Past?
The other day I saw a hilarious SomeeCard meme that read: “I can’t believe the music that you kids listen to nowadays. What happened to the good wholesome songs like Push It and Me So Horney?”
That got me thinking about Rick Ross. From Hello Beautiful:
“Known for his braggadocious lyrics, showboating style and dangling stomach, Rick Ross stomped all over the lines of inappropriate, disgusting and misogynistic content with the release of his verse on Rocko’s song “You Don’t Even Know It”: “Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it,” the MMG bawse rapped with confidence.”
It’s no secret how I feel about our favorite ex-correctional officer turned “BAWSE.” But this is sort of Ross’ schtick, right? Say something inflammatory, watch people get mad and reap the benefits financially from the controversy? Remember last year, when Ross took us on a swagged-out voyage through the slums of Nigeria for his video to “Hold Me Back?” Or the time that he tried to woo the ladies with this romantic line from Usher’s “Lemme See,” “Chanel hoodie on looking like Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman don’t want it.”
Move over Barry White! Because nothing says let’s get it on more than having your dude tell you that you remind him of a murdered teenager. Oh, and let’s not forget that Ross cover art for his The Black Bar Mitzvah mixtape, featuring himself draped in a fur coat, centered inside of the Star of David, not only raised the eyebrows of the Jewish community, but also ruffling the feathers of the nefarious Gangster Disciples, who too use the symbol as part of their own logo. The man obviously has no filter, nor does he understand (or maybe care about) boundaries. And at this point, I would be more surprised if Ross had something more thoughtful to say.
Yet if we are being honest here, Hip-Hop has always said some pretty messed up things. I freaking love Biggie Smalls, but I remember cringing like hell when I heard him say, “I’m using rubbers so they won’t trace the semen/The black demon, got the little hookers screaming/Because you know I love it young, fresh and green/With no hair in between, know what I mean?” Yes, I know what you mean and that is not appropriate. Ice Cube was my favorite quasi-conscious West Coast rapper from back in the day, but aren’t we being hypocritical when we chastise Lil Wayne for his “whip it like a slave” lyric and not thinking about when Cube said, “So don’t believe what Ren say/Cuz he’s goin’ out like “Kunta” Kinte/But I got a whip for ya Toby…”?
Too $hort made an entire career out of his misogyny. And there was no other more gangster rapper than Scarface. I remember in high school, one of the biggest dancehall songs at the time was Sasha’s “Kill the B***h.” According to her Wiki page, Sasha has since rediscovered Jesus and will no longer perform the song that made her a ghetto household name. But that doesn’t change the fact that she once thought nothing wrong with mimicking sex through half of the song. Neither did my best friend and I, who used to take pride in the fact that we knew all the words to Dr. Dre’s The Chronic album, and would sit in the back of our classroom, flowing to B***hes Ain’t S**t. We swore up and down that since we weren’t those type of girls, those lyrics we belted out out had nothing to do with us. It would take years later to learn that some dudes, despite our best efforts at respectability, still couldn’t tell the difference. Even our beloved Tupac, who most try to remember canonizing women in “Dear Mama” and “Keep Ya Head Up” (“…cause Tupac care, if don’t nobody else care”) also reminded us that, he’s only got one night in town so basically, “Break out or be clowned.” While being the agent of and the voice of the downtrodden and politically conscience who screamed “fight the power,” Hip-Hop too has always offered a welcoming home to voices who only wanted to talk about the money, clothes and most importantly, the ho*s. And we have sort of been kind of okay with that for a while now.
We tried to tell ourselves that there was a bigger purpose; that these rappers were not just appealing to the rebellious side of our natures but also daring to speak on the authenticity of what is taboo. Or as stated by Jay-Z (with assistance from Dream Hampton) in his book, Decoded:
“Hip-hop has always been controversial, and for good reason. The music is meant to be provocative—which doesn’t mean it’s necessarily obnoxious, but it is (mostly) confrontational, and more than that, it’s dense with multiple meanings. Great rap should have all kinds of unresolved layers that you don’t necessarily figure out the first time you listen to it. Instead it plants dissonance in your head. You can enjoy a song that knocks in the club or has witty punch lines the first time you hear it. But great rap retains mystery. It leaves s**t rattling around in your head that won’t make sense till the fifth or sixth time through. It challenges you. Which is another reason hip-hop is so controversial: People don’t bother trying to get it. The problem isn’t in the rap or the rapper or the culture. The problem is that so many people don’t even know how to listen to the music.”
Yet I don’t really think there is no deeper significance or much else to “get” from Ross’ lyrics, other than that this hopefully fictitious woman in this song was date-raped – and she didn’t even know it. And I think that is the point: rappers recognize that you don’t have to say much of substance or even be lyrically inclined these days. You just have to be provocative and obnoxious. And I feel like like our inability to call it out or acknowledge the music genre’s shortcomings earlier on paved the way for Ross and other industry folks to commodify and repackage the art form into a cash crop of the most garish, misogynistic and overall opulent images and lyrics. Instead of checking the rappers of past, many of us yelled foul over what we felt was the government’s attempt at denying 2 Live Crew constitutional rights to be as narsty as they wanted to be. We forgot later on that the group’s Supreme Court victory would later be symbolically used to justify why it was okay for Snoop Dogg to walk across mainstream stages with women on leashes and later why it would become acceptable for Ross to rhyme nonchalantly about drugging and sexually assaulting a woman.
Missy will always hold a special place in my heart. She took the Hip Hop world by storm, making an entrance no MC, and especially no female MC had seen before. Missy’s debut album Supa Dupa Fly was one of the first Hip Hop albums my father bought for my sister and I for Christmas and my life was forever changed because of it. Missy was brazen, insanely creative and even a little or a lotta bit raunchy at times, a well-rounded, very real woman. Even as a fifth grader, I could relate to her. Anyone who’s listened to Missy over the years has noticed that her lyrics are often hilarious, risque and sometimes just downright outrageous. We grabbed a few of our favorites here. Check them out and feel free to add your favorites in the comments section below.
Is hip-hop destroying black America? To answer this question fairly, we must first discard the distorted image of hip hop that mainstream media has passed off for the past 20 years.
Hip-hop is a movement consisting of four main artistic elements: DJ’ing, rapping, breaking and graffiti. But at its core, it is a philosophy based on the idea that self expression is an integral part of the pursuit of peace, love and unity. It was created by young visionaries who tapped into their greatest potential and gave birth to one of the most important cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen.
Shaped by the spirit of Africa, The Carribean and black America, it is a culture that binds us under the belief that we must strive for excellence through our respective art forms, as well as within our souls. It’s a lifestyle that unites people from the U.S to Nigeria, France to Brazil, Japan to Mexico, often unable to speak each other’s language but fully capable of understanding all that makes us who we are.
Read more on TheGrio.com.
Most cultures hold their elders in high regard. It’s safe to say that mainstream rap in its current form is not one of them. In today’s hip-hop landscape, pioneers are typically dismissed and marginalized by the mainstream, trotted out once a year during VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors and then conveniently forgotten.
There is a sense that aging rap artists need to “move out of the way” or “stay in their lane” to make way for new artists, as if classic rappers could be any further out of the way than they already are and new artists were actually worth getting out of the way for. One has to wonder why rock artists are revered well into old age while their rap counterparts are generally ignored and then branded “angry and bitter” when they object to being tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage.
Read more at TheGrio.com.
If you’re an R&B/Hip-Hop music lover, 2013 is gearing up to be an exciting year for music. Although no album is official until it actually hits the market, let’s keep our fingers crossed that most of these do. Here are nine albums to be released this year.