Rap hip hop and culture

OK I’m at my local 7-11 for a pack of smokes and a slurpee. Staring up at me from the latest issue of Source magazine is a guy who quite clearly would shoot me for a quarter.

Don’t tell me I’m making assumptions based on race etc… I can’t believe my black friends listen to and support this crap. Well educated successful black men and women - perfectly sane in most respects support a culture and music that increasingly mock their race and belief system.

I listen to rap and hip hop and have been a Public Enemy fan for ten years among other groups that have a powerful voice or just a decent sound.

I just don’t get it though. Why would any self respecting African American listen to and support a culture that would paint them as illiterate, pistol packing, crack smoking, ho smacking thugs. I don’t buy the argument that they just like the music. I don’t see anyone putting on black face and doing a snappy Steppin Fetchit routine cuz its got a good beat and you can dance to it.

Please someone shed some light on this. Why would anyone support a culture that is as destructive if not more so than the numerous indignities whites have heaped on blacks.

Why did fans flock to punk rock when the message there was “there is no future, we are all doomed so let’s take drugs and tear down everything”?

Why do fans enjoy death metal when the message there is “die, kill and be killed”?

Hell, why do fans flock to fire and brimstone religions when the message there is “you are all sinners and are going fry for eternity”?

There is no accounting for taste. Not even yours.

I can’t believe my WHITE friends listen to and support this music (or did). When I was in college, you couldn’t go to a (mostly all-white) fraternity party without hearing Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Cyprus Hill or Ice Cube. I guess because it has a good beat and you can dance to it.

Wow !
That about sums it up in less than 10 words.

Agreed there is no accounting for taste. A couple of points however, the rap culture is far more dominant and widespread than the punk culture ever was.

To accept the punk aesthetic is to say I’m angry and hopeless. TAKE NOTICE! The dominant rap aesthetic says I’m a dangerous thug. Most often this comes with strong elements of misogyny which is downright frightening. My OP was more to ask any black folks who do listen if they feel slighted by the current musical trends.

Might some of the reason that blacks are still stopped more often on suspicion of shoplifting, or why people of all colors tend to give black males a wide berth on the street be that the dominant expression of black culture sends out the message that blacks are violent, illiterate thugs.

le car, that is the dominant expression that the record companies want to push. The rappers are urged to go ‘ruffneck’, or ‘keeping it real’, in order to be promoted. Also, the Black gangster genre lacks the elegance and glamour that the Italian Mafia genre, the genre that helped inspire the gangsta movement, had.

I’m trying to be gentle here, le car.
You say you’re not making assumptions, but you assume that some guy you see a picture of in a magazine “is a guy who quite clearly would shoot me for a quarter.” Does “self respecting African American” mean “acts white”?
Why not talk to some of your black friends about why you feel that way? Ask them if they feel so threatened by that picture. Ask them if they feel that that guy would, indeed, shoot you for a quarter.
Much of what you hear in rap is posturing. Not all of it, mind you, but a lot. You fuck with someone’s pride and you sometimes get a reaction you don’t like.
And a lot of rap is really good poetry.

That’s a good point.
I haven’t seen the cover but suppose for discussion its Master P. If I look at Master P the first thing I will notice is some platinum teeth gleaming at me. I now notice some other tings that make me start to figure "this guy would kill me for a quarter” Right?


Master P is a business mastermind. He has no time to be bothered with you or me.

How about Dr. Dre he’s a thug huh? Probably picks pockets don’t you think? Please.

Now I must say I haven’t seen the cover so if it’s O.D.B, or one of the bone thugs I take it all back.

Most musicians (rap artist included) are just actors. They perform in ways that make them money. Some people like the dangerous message that rap artists portray because the average American’s life is painfully boring. The closest most people ever get to a dangerous, life-threatening, situation is a roller-coaster. If they can get lost in the action for the moment it can make life interesting. Movies and video games operate in similar ways.

Why do Italian-Americans watch the Sopranos? Why would they support a culture that paints them as thuggish, violent, pasta-eating gangsters? :rolleyes:

If you really listened to hip-hop, you would know that rap music comes in an infinite number of styles, from P.M. Dawn to M.O.P. Gangster rap is very visible but is far from the only incarnation. Oh, and, hate to mention this, but most of what they are talking about is, um…not true. Saying outrageous things is certainly more interesting than complete honesty, right? What would we do without action movies?

The ignorance contained in this sentence is shocking. What was more destructive to Black folks: slavery or hip-hop? According to you, it’s a close contest. Frightening. What in the hell do you think is being talked about on those treasured Public Enemy records of yours?

Ok folks time for the mea culpas. Reading the last sentence I hung my head in shame and considered deregistering and ducking out of the boards. Yes the ignorance is shocking.

First let me say I stand by everything but the deplorable and ridiculous last sentence. Some if not even most rap belongs in a category ranging from harmless pap to sublime poetry. I am also not the least troubled by militant rap ie. Public Enemy or NWA from the old school.

Rap, it seems to me, has become far less literate and political while becoming more violent. The message is gone but the violence has seeped from the implied threat of “Welcome to the Terrordome” to the lives and actions of the major stars of the genre.

This process has made stars out of people like O.D.B. and any number of others who personify the worst nightmares whites have about blacks. Still I have any number of intelligent friends and acquaintances of all races who see no problem supporting music, and the people behind that music who offer nothing in the way of message or meaning.

I would appreciate hearing from someone who has seen the latest issue of The Source. I wonder if anyone could tell me in all honesty if they believe the cover model would not mug them for a quarter.

I do not deny my racism. It came out clearly in the final sentence of the OP. It is something, living and working in the middle of DC., that I confront and fight on a daily basis. Hypocrisy is not the salve however. Look at O.D.B, examine his life and his creative output. Do you want to meet his imitators in a dark alley? Would you be left alone in a room with him?

As a last note before moving here I had no racism. I had a number of black friends including the closest friend I will ever have in my life. They were by and large of Caribbean or African descent. Since moving here I am on my fourth mugging by young men who bear a striking resemblance to their musical heroes. The last left me with a broken limb. It calls into question my previously cherished but untested views.