Hip-Hop Community Prepares For Onslaught Of Articles About Hip-Hop Community

Apr 16th, 2007 // 13 Comments

According to AllHipHop.com, Russell Simmons, Lyor Cohen and several artists will take part of a closed-door meeting this week to discuss “the future of hip-hop and how the genre can be moved forward in a positive direction” (we checked the guest list, and you’re not invited). The pow-wow comes less than a week after Don Imus was fired for his now-infamous Rutgers remarks, and just as the first wave of “Is hip-hop harmful?” articles are popping up on our Google Alerts and on the front page of Drudge Report. As AllHipHop notes:

A number of activists are now shifting their focus to Hip-Hop, including Reverend Al Sharpton, who has received a number of death threats over the past few days due to his involvement in the Imus controversy.

On Friday (Apr. 13), Sharpton announced that he would turn his attention to the music industry, specifically Hip-Hop music. Sharpton said his National Action Network wants to also meet with performers in the industry about lyrics that he claims are racist and demeaning to women.

Hard to tell just how much traction Sharpton’s campaign will have, but expect several mainstream media outlets to take a hard look at hip-hop in the next few days, with an emphasis on the negative; those stories will likely followed by a cycle of navel-gazing, apology and atonement, until 50 Cent puts out his new album, and everything essentially reverts back to the way it was before.

HSAN Chairman Russell Simmons Calls For Closed Door Meeting To Discuss The Status Of Hip-Hop [AllHipHop.com]

  1. Dunphy

    I have said this many times, and each time has brought chaos and rebuke down upon me, but it is the ugly, brutal truth and nothing we can do in our corporate culture will change it: shame, regret, a sudden revelation of right vs. wrong did not lose Don Imus his job(s). When sponsorship money walked, so did MSNBC and CBS’ resolve.

    Pay close attention to the outrage the media outlets displayed immediately after his comments. Can’t find any? Good reason is that there was none – sure enough, I’m certain CBS and NBC/Universal were hunkering down, waiting for the nor’easter to blow over. It wasn’t until the money started leaking that their public mortification began.

    So now we have hip-hop stars essentially becoming apologists for past work by saying they weren’t singing/rapping about girls in college. Their ho’s were ho’s and their bitches were bitches, and by that scale they had every right to say it and will continue to do so… And so long as the money backs them up, they will.

    So what are the labels to do? Police their hip-hop boutique labels? Threaten to not release material that has inflammatory, misogynistic and otherwise crude language? Are you kidding? Aside from begging for a first-amendment showdown on free speech, they’re keeping their cash cows from doing exactly what produces that cash, and that’s never going to happen.

    Will the marketplace suddenly reject music with these themes and make it less profitable? Again, are you kidding? Hip-hop today is like metal in the 1980s. A primary component of its popularity is that it is testosterone-charged, it makes the listener feel tough and empowered, even if they’re scrawny, white, teen-aged high-schoolers (especially if!).

    And it scares parents to death, a vital ingredient if there ever was one. Metal in the 80s skirted all the touchstones of rebellion – anti-authoritarian behavior, hyper-sexualization (with songs ranging from “Slide It In” straight to “F*** Like A Beast”), a sound that would be described by older generations as atonal and harsh, and a lingering whiff of gender confusion in the spandex and eyeliner cliques. Aside from the gender confusion, hip-hop incorporates all these elements to some degree or another.

    Labels know if you strip these elements, you take away what makes the music so popular to the young, the “danger” factor disappears. They’re not going to do that. Right now, everyone’s ducking under their P.C. umbrella, but it’s temporary. If Kanye West releases “Golddigger 2″, it will be a hit. It will be a hit for all the elements detractors want banned. It will be a hit because the youth market bought into the music for those elements to begin with…

    The money pours in. The good intentions and high-minded talk washes away. I’m old enough to have seen this particular movie a few times before.

    DwD

  2. Moff

    Couldn’t we have a national summit on hip-hop that focused on why so much of it isn’t very good anymore? Or do we have to wait until the people of Montreal decide to remind us how to rap, too?

  3. Emerson Dameron

    To take the hip hop/metal analogy further: Maybe it’s time for a hip hop equivalent of grunge, something that, if not more “positive,” is at less cartoonish, with more to say about its audience’s actual lives. I came of age during the G-funk era. I have all those records memorized. I’ve seen this train pass this station many times, too. This time, the music in question is so tired and cliched, I can barely bring myself to apologize for it.

  4. RepentTokyo

    I find it hilarious that these conferences even occur. It’s not like there’s a “Captain Hip Hop” who is going to fly around the country enforcing a positive message whenever a rapper picks up a mic.

    People will continue to make music they believe in AND people will continue to make music that record companies can sell. A record label that takes a stand and decides to only release records it feels have a positive message? Fine, that’s their right. An entire industry that decides to filter the message of all of their artists? That’s censorship. And in any case, the underground isn’t beholden to the mindset of the dinosaurs of hip hop or the PC Police, and they will just continue to record and release whatever is in their hearts.

    Basically, it all comes down to: if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it.

    Regarding the people of Montreal comment – there aren’t too many rappers in my city I would call talented…some, but not many.

  5. Moff

    @RepentTokyo: Well, as I was reminded a few years ago in Paris, when a muscular, hopped-up-on-something young man started freestyling for the benefit of my friends and me, and everyone else in that Metro car at 3 a.m.: No matter how tight their flow, no one is impressed by French-speaking MCs. It’s just not that hard to rhyme in a language where you don’t pronounce the consonants at the end of words.

  6. RepentTokyo

    hehe. There are some great mc’s in France tho, particularly from Marseilles. For the most part, French hip hop has developed it’s own style, while sadly what we get here in Montreal is google-translated USA thug and success rap :(

  7. Bazooka Tooth

    To the guy who said there needs to be hip-hop grunge: It’s called Def Jux.

    Secondly, homeboy commentor #1 needs to keep that shit below dissertation length.

    Thirdly, it’s like snoop said: It’s one thing for Don Imus to call some college women ho’s; when Snoop is talking ho’s, he’s talking about bitches who sit around all day doing nothing except trying to figure out how to get a n***a’s money.

  8. MJ

    @grandmoffbastard:

    I don’t know where you get your French, it’s certain vowels you don’t pronounce at the end of words.

    And yes, there are impressive French-speaking MCs, and even if it was true that it’s easier to rhyme, there’s still a good bunch of people who don’t sleep on it and dedicate a lot of effort to crafting innovative lyrics in French.

    Maybe not in Montreal, though.

  9. Moff

    @MJ: Um, yeah, like the vowel s at the end of Illinois and Marseilles. Or the vowel x at the end of aix or oiseaux.

    Seriously, though, I know my assessment was not 100 percent linguistically accurate, and I was also pretty sure, even when I was posting the comment, that there were well-regarded French MCs out there. I was not, however, aware that one had to do so much research, in the interest of absolute precision, when trying to make a mildly amusing remark on a music blog. I even kind of thought that so much effort might take the funny out of it.

    (Merde. No wonder everyone hates the French….)

  10. MJ

    @grandmoffbastard:
    Congratulations, you’ve hit two out of the four consonants that you don’t pronounce in French at the end of words. There’s still twenty of them that do get pronounced.

    Nevermind, you’re right, this is getting unfunny very quickly. I was just surprised by your statement because I think it’s the total opposite.

    @grandmoffbastard:
    Hey, you’re talking about “verlin”! It’s not specific to hip-hop, it’s a generally urban slang. In fact, if you put the syllables in “verlin” in the reverse order, it gives “l’invers”, “the opposite” in French. :)

  11. Frogmarch

    @grandmoff:

    If you thought you were riding a Paris Metro car at 3AM, perhaps *you* were the one hopped up on something…unless of course you’d broken into the RATP yards after-hours, in which case more power to you.

    It should also be noted that some French MCs increase their rhyming degree-of-difficulty by saying some words backwards for emphasis– think Snoop-style izzlespeak, only less comprehensible. I felt a lot better about my utter inability to comprehend French hip-hop when I found this out.

  12. Dunphy

    And I quote:

    ANDERSON COOPER: If your record label said to you, “Look, we’re not going to promote you, we’re not going to distribute you, if you keep calling Curtis Jackson a snitch, or [if] you keep writing about guns and selling drugs,” would you stop?

    CAM’RON: No record company in the world would say, “We’re not going to promote you if you call somebody a snitch.” They know what makes money. A record company would never be that stupid. Never.

    The score: status quo – 1, newfound social concern – 0

  13. royal72

    do the words “fuck off, eat shit and die, you hypocrytical cunts!” mean anything to you, you greedy bastards?… on second thought, please censor the shit music you shovel down our throats. hopefully, this will help your sales figures continue to spiral down the shitter :)

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