The Hip-Hop Movement

I heard a phrase today that annoyed me. I’ve heard it lots of times before. I imagine by being annoyed by this phrase, most of you will brand me a racist.
The phrase is “the hip-hop movement.”
Why does this annoy me? Well, quite simply, it annoys me because the most popular artists who make hip-hop and those involved in the business side of the industry love to cloak themselves in the mantle of some kind of social movement. I have a hard time looking at the videos have half-naked women lying around in a bed, or shaking their asses in the camera while some punk looks on approvingly, and seeing a social movement. The same goes with the ever-present rapper staring in the camera and holding up his $150,000 diamond encrusted necklace. Where’s the social movement in that?
I dunno. I certainly don’t begrudge people making money. Even a lot of money. But let’s not pretend that you’re walking the walk of some kind of social activist. Martin Luther King was part of a social movement. Malcom X was part of a social movement. The only movements I see in Hip-Hop are the motions of money changing hands.
I’d be the first to admit that I’m not familiar with all the Hip-Hop artists, and I’m sure there are a few out there who are “the real deal.” But I’m not impressed by the ones I’m aware of. For every Chuck D and Public Enemy, who genuinely have and had a social agenda and are trying to make very real points, there are a thousand punk-ass nobodies who talk about nothing but money, whores and which weapon they’re going to shoot somebody with. Yet these very same people throw around phrases such as “Hip-Hop Movement.” There is no movement. The industry (and yes, it is an industry) is driven by supply and demand. It’s all about money. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that Lil Jon gives a damn about anything other than his next Rolls Royce.
To all you “foot soldiers” of the Hip-Hop “movement;” Put away the fucking bling and establish a shelter for abused women, and I might begin to believe that “Hip-Hop Movement” is something more than a clever marketing slogan. Sell a couple of your Bentleys and use the money to establish a foundation to help develop the local economy of poor urban areas, and then I might take you a little more seriously. Instead of buying Cristal for everybody in the club, stay the fuck home with your family and instead donate that money to an orphanage.
Like Rock and Roll, Hip-Hop had its potential. But that brief, bright spark that flared up in the beginning with artists like Public Enemy has long singe faded. Rock and Roll died in a whirldwind of hairspray, spandex and lame posturing, and Hip-Hop is headed down the same slippery slope. The only difference between the current crop of popular Hip-Hop artists and Rock’s “hair bands” is that instead of big hair they have big jewelry. Instead of tight spandex they have baggy jeans. Both were manipulated by the music industry into becoming nothing more than money-making machines. Whatever worth either of them had in the beginning was quickly squandered in the pursuit of fast cars, faster women and mansions in the hills.
Chuck D had something to say about the world, whether that was politics, religion or racism. Kanye West only talks about Kanye West.

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