Saturday, December 24, 2011

Critic’s Notebook Social-Minded Hip-Hop Is Making a Comeback - NY Times

Good article that brings up the generational gap in Hip Hop - particularly calling of a rise in socially conscious Hip Hop in the mainstream. I like how the article distinguishes the generational gaps taking place, noting how this isn't the same as before... and the failure of the older socially conscious rap to entertain. I don't know if one rapper signifies a monumental shift, as thug and party rappers have always thrown in a socially conscious rap once in a blue moon. I do agree that the distance the mainstream version of the genre has made with these types of lyrics is to note.

The question is if this trend is a function of marketing and media interest? Or is there a true surge taking place? I imagine that the first go round of socially conscious Hip Hop was a by-product of the Civil Rights/Black Power Movements, as many early rappers were a part, or direct descendents of these movements. With Post-9/11 kids taking up the mic, they are surrounded by a type of social fabric that can rival the disparity of poverty and class of the time before the Civil Rights era.

I pray that old-fart Hip Hop people aren't going to start saying "finally, the REAL Hip Hop is back"... there are two reasons why this is a dumb statement. 1. The social consciousness current rappers are bringing up is HIGHLY different from your rap music from 1993. In certain respects, I give Kanye and Blu the title of socially conscious rap as they are aware of their surroundings and reflect on it. Plus, they are interesting to listen to... truth is, Immortal Technique, Killer Mike, Mr. Lif, Dead Prez are all nice but shoving cultural analysis is not that interesting to me. 2. Hip Hop was party music first... a lack of "social consciousness" in a rap song does not make it less authentic. Remember old-farts, we were dancing to Biz Markie rapping about picking boogers... so lay off the mightier than thou.

Hip Hop is a medium, an artform, that can be filled with whatever you want. I am a very socially conscious person, and I enjoy rap where people are aware and comment on their surroundings... but when you are not entertaining, I'd rather you just write an article for me to read.

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