Socially 2014 was a very tough year. Police brutality and “black injustice” was the highlight that monopolized our airwaves, television sets and social media time lines. From Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Protest and the few that rioted to make it all seem like a lost cause, there was no escape. Add that to the “white washing of hip-hop” and “culture vulture” talk it was hard to see the good in anything from the black community as well as from the subdivision called the hip-hop community.
What I’m about to say may be unpopular but, I’m only going to speak my truth. I expect some of the most popular thugs in the world to get extremely socially conscious this year and try to make statements with music. Let me be the first to say….I don’t want to hear that ISH!
Why Don’t I Want To Hear It? Because to me, it’s disingenuous. The song “Don’t Shoot” by The Game was probably the most ineffective positive song of music history. Why? Because with the exception of I THINK ONLY WALE, Every artist on the song has literally improved their quality of life by making music about the “blood of another black person” on their hands. They also speak highly on poisoning the community with drugs. Should the effort be applauded? I don’t know. I listen to some of those verses and think….“Damn…We will NEVER get another We Are The World, Self Destruction or Same Gang will we?”
This is hip-hop and in the truer than ever words of Jay-Z, from the classic song “Where I’m From”
Your word was everything, So everything you said you’d do, You did it. Couldn’t talk about it if you ain’t live it – JAY Z
That track didn’t sound good or resonate because honestly, they didn’t know what to say. They just knew to capitalize off of a moment. And lets be clear, a few of these artist dropped projects in 2014 before and after the track drops. Did you hear any “take a stand, make a change, start with you” type of music on those projects? I didn’t.
So I’m officially begging artist of this year….Stick to what you know or what’s truly in your heart. If it’s all about your money, clothes, cars, accessories and the bad bishes that will fawk you cause you have them…then so be it. I want you in your element putting out the music you truly feel because end of day..that will resonate better than these forced efforts to “Speak on Societal Issues” because you are famous and kids look up to you.
Rappers spitting 1 line about Mike Brown, Ferguson, Eric Garner, etc doesn’t mean much. One song about “change” and “us doing better” will not solve the problem, especially if your lead single is about the glamour life or the street life you willing to kill or die for.
As an example: R Kelly’s 1 Gospel/Inspiration song ALWAYS SOUNDED CRAZY at the end of his albums because the rest of the track list consisted of partying and sex. Again I ask you, Did Kanye making “Jesus Walks” send you to the alter the following Sunday? What else about that album is Spiritually Inspirational?
I will say that the days of artist and groups willing to give us “Food” is not gone. It just hasn’t happened consistently enough to get recognized yet. It’s been proven time and again that if you are truly speaking on something different and positive, you will get exposure and sales. However, be wise enough to know that the majority of artist today don’t believe it’s cool to take stands, be trendsetters and be original. A lot of them are rapping over the same style of beats or the “hottest beat out right now”, the exact same way.
I don’t want a bunch of “Fawk The Police” records either. I also don’t want our biggest drug dealers on wax talking about how we need to ban together and save our communities and lookout for each other. Why? Because Drugs and Gang violence have destroyed the Black American in FAR GREATER NUMBERS than the Police. I don’t even think I need to explain that further.
I will say this though. If an artist is going to come out and publicly state that their music in the past has been poison to not only our youth but to the image of the Black American in general and they vow that “2015 until…” is the start of a new book and new catalog of music from said artist that will inform, inspire and uplift…I will honestly give it a listen and if it’s dope, I’ll support. Just understand that then AND ONLY THEN, will I take it seriously. Anything beyond that…. is a pathetic, insincere promotional attempt to me.
What did you notice about the artist in those songs? I’ll tell you what I noticed. I heard a bunch of artist that genuinely put out positive and carefree music and made the transition to the above tracks seamlessly. Artist that were known for their messages and being role models and “The Big Homey” in the game. You’re only exception on those records was Eazy-E…and they put him at the end and I’m pretty sure MC Ren wrote his verse. That’s how it should be because that’s how you create real impact and change. We need more of those tracks but not if it’s not in the artist to create them.
No matter what you do in this hip-hop culture…Be Genuine…