Hip Hop On Trial Debate: Let’s Just Agree To Disagree
I must say, watching this live hip-hop debate that was on Youtube today, I was getting very frustrated. Everyone is going to have an opinion, and everything can and will be debated. That’s just how society works. There have been times that I have written something on here and it’s gone on to be a huge debate in the comment section. Personally, I enjoy stirring up a little discussion. I’ve had the Jay-Z versus Nas, Ether versus Takeover, Biggie versus Pac, Red Sox versus Yankees (Red Sox Nation beotch!) arguments NUMEROUS times in my life. Ten times out of ten it’s ended in a situation where we agreed to disagree. When you have two conflicting opinions and preferences battling each other out, we seem to always forget about the thing that started the argument in the first place. The fact that everyone is entitled to their OWN opinions. We can sit here and argue punch lines and who’s diss was better when it came to the Jay-Z/Nas feud. We can argue the greatest album, rapper, lyricist, generation, and the list goes on. The beauty of debate INSIDE of hip-hop is that all of these artists feed off of each other. They use that as a fuel to be better each and every time they step in that booth. It’s a beautiful thing.
So what frustrated me so much today watching this debate, was the fact that a bunch of snobby politicians, college professors, and social activists felt the need to degrade and judge an art because they didn’t approve of the content. If I wanted to end this argument in two words, I’d simply say, “don’t listen.” But for how mainstream hip-hop can be nowadays, it’s sort of hard to avoid. I just don’t understand how they continue to blame hip hop for crime, stereotypes, sexism, etc. HELLO, that shit has been going on for years! Growing up we were always taught to express how we feel. Never to bottle anything up, because it wasn’t good for you. There are people who are okay with that and are really good at doing it. Hip hop artists, and yes they are artists, can speak FOR those people who aren’t good at expressing it themselves. Most rappers began rapping for that exact reason. Why don’t they look at the fact that it’s what got most of these rappers out of those dire situations. They aren’t like a college professor who has a classroom or an auditorium to express their opinion, and life lessons. They aren’t like politicians or activists that give speeches, and speak to congress and the mass media. Rappers have a notepad and a recording studio. They express themselves from self-experience and speak for those who may have or still are going through the same thing.
Personally, I love the story telling and emotion behind hip-hop. I was fortunate enough growing up that I didn’t experience 90% of what I enjoy listening to. I also didn’t let what I listened to influence me either. Regardless of what you listen to, watch, or witness, you still have that natural instinct inside of you to know what’s right or wrong. What should be treated as entertainment, or advice. As someone who is very passionate about music, and really invest myself into understanding everything I listen to, I take offense to these claims that hip-hop is destroying our youth. Sure, there are going to be people that are influenced by ANYTHING. Shit, I go to the clubs and all I see is Pauly D wannabes. Talk about degrading women? Jersey Shore has a bigger influence today than anything in hip hop. What makes calling a woman a “grenade” any less degrading than a “bitch” or a “ho?” That’s still getting national media attention every week. You won’t catch me in a tanning booth, “blowing out” my hair, or fist pumping to house music just because I see these idiots do it every week. It’s made for entertainment. I don’t mean to stray from my point though.
Personal preference and accepting individualism seem to get mistaken quite often. It’s rare for anybody to have a mind of their own, but as soon as they do someone is ready to try and conform them. I know what I like, and I know not everybody is going to like the same things. I also know that a lot of things I enjoy aren’t necessarily who I am. Just because I’m bumping “Gimme the Loot” down the street and rapping every lyric doesn’t mean I condone stick ups and I’m ready to have a shoot out with the cops. It just means I love and appreciate the poetry, the rhyme schemes, the art of storytelling, and the passion of one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. Not everybody is tuned the same, and not everybody is going to react the same way to ANYTHING in life. Point blank, period. Not everyone is tuned the same way, and that what makes the world we live in so beautiful. So let’s stop trying to take away from creativity just because we want to place blame on something. Just remember all you politicians, professors, activists, and members of the media that when you point your finger at something, you got 3 pointing back at you.
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