The Fall of Hip Hop

I like hip hop music for the most part. I've never been a huge fan of gangsta rap, but I've always been a big fan old school hip hop or more of the underground stuff. I remember being introduced to artists like Eric B. & Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest at a young age and just falling in love with the energetic beats that made me just wanna move around. That's why I was excited to see this hip hop video in class this week.
I thought Byron Hurt did a phenomenal job producing the film. Here he was, a gifted black athlete who grew up loving hip hop, and then coming to a realization that much of the lyrics in hip hop music is sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and violent. He talked about being conflicted because he loved the music so much. That's why I have tons of respect for him for making a film like
this and helping open up America's eyes to this kind of trash in the media.
Hurt also talked about all of this energy being built up in places like the Bronx, where people lived poverty, and hip hop being the way to release all of that energy. Listen to lyrics of songs in the early days of hip hop and contrast them to lyrics of today. Hip hop founders like The
Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash wouldn't even make it onto the hip hop scene today because their lyrics are so mild. They didn't rap about killing one another or sleeping with a bunch of "hoes." It was about releasing that energy and having a good time doing it.
Then you have artists like Public Enemy and Mos Def who are very political. They rap about the goings on in society and are socially conscious. They may drop F bombs here and there, but it's about the context of what they're talking about. They're not trying to come across as hard or talking about it in a sexual sense. They're pissed off! Many people
let expletives fly when they get pissed; these guys are just expressing their anger with hip hop.
But unfortunately, we mostly just see guys like Nelly and 50 Cent, and guys talking about "supermaning their hoes."
We're all to blame. Artists are to blame; record execs are to blame; DJs are to blame; those of us who buy into the culture are to blame. We're perpetuating these stereotypes: that black men are supposed to be wild, violent, sexist and homophobic.
I had to watch this documentary again to get the entire concept that Hurt was talking
about. And I would recommend anyone to see it again. In the meantime, I'll just stick to my old school stuff.


  1. Hey Tyson! Um... a little Diet DP would be good about now. ;) J/k! I'll just lick my ice up off the floor.

    So I don't know much about old school hip hop, other than what was you know, mainstreamed- but I keep telling people who like it to see "The Whackness." Have you? It is SO good and the soundtrack is pretty much the best one I have heard in awhile.

    Also- I am not so impressed with what is being put out there today. It is all very repetitive and along the same themes. Sometimes it's fun to turn up loud and dance to, but then you listen to the lyrics!? ANYBODY could write those. I mean, Michael Phelps listens to Lil'Wayne before swimming a race and when I heard "Lolli Lolli" and really listened for the first time it was like, "Okay- that inspires him?"

    Anyway, check out "The Whackness" if you haven't yet- and if you aren't super against R rated indie films with lots of naughty-ness. :D

  2. I agree with a lot of what was said in the film. I understand where he is coming from. I also am not a huge fan of hip hop. But, we all have our different tastes.

  3. Not much to add, but I agree totally. Like the Butler, I'm not a huge hip-hop fan. Sometimes I'll hear a beat that catches my ear and I'll listen for a bit, but other than that I listen to as much hip-hop as I do country- and that's not very much at all. So, maybe from that perspective it might seem like I'm bashing on hip-hop, but it's really not the sound that bothers me. It's the whole booty shaking gun slinging 'give me your bone marrow' image that makes me sick. In fact, I think I actually could get into hip-hop if I was introduced to hip-hop that wasn't about sex or violence.

    Anyone want to recommend artists who break that stereotype?

  4. What up Tyson! My ideals seem to run well with yours. The underground scene of hip hop is AWESOME and way better than the mainstream gangster rap. Check out Ugly Duckling. They are a pretty dope group.