Friday, April 11, 2003

Written by Tia.
I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when it happened. That may be b/c it was a gradual thing. Growing up I loved me some rap music. I wasn’t committed to one coast or the other. I loved them all. (That coastal loyalty came later.) Rapper’s delight was the jam, all 15 minutes and 34 seconds of it. Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow, Run-DMC and LL were HEROES. MC Lyte, Ms. Melody, Salt-n-Pepa and the Queen (Latifah for y’all that don’t know) kept it real for the ladies. (oooooh Ladies First, Ladies First.) Even though I (Tia) was a little black girl growing up in the white suburbs, I knew the power and magnitude of rap music. Yeah I was a fan of Def Leppard, Kenny Loggins (Heaven help the man), Chicago, Debbie Gibson (and Tiffany), but there was something about rap and hip-hop that would resonate in my little pre-pubescent heart. The lyrical content lead me to believe that all rappers were GENIUSES. Every word, every rhyme, every voice infliction assured me that these people had a talent that was God given even when the lyrics stated otherwise.

I should have known something was going awry when I started having loyalties to one coast over another. To me, the fact that I favored one side more than the other meant that someone, somewhere was doing something wrong. I was a huge west coast fan. West Side!!!! 2 Pac, Dre, DJ Quik, Ice Cube and Eazy continued to crank out THE HITS that I would bump in my VW Fox on my factory-installed speakers. But right around the time I was being told to, “Learn a lesson from the Ez, stay in your place and don’t step to real Compton City G’s”, I started noticing that the easy going, positivity that I had become so accustomed to was being replace with a lot of nonsense that I didn’t need. I began to wonder how Snoop and Dre got anything done with all of the bud they were smoking and the h**s they were mackin’. And call me old fashion, but when someone was crazy enough to disrespect you and call you a B***H, you were ready to fight. (When I was 15 I fought a guy twice my size b/c he lost his mind and called me out my name. He didn’t do it again.) But instead of the hordes of offended females I expected to see, I saw a bunch of well meaning but misguided sistahs singing “like H**s and chains and swinging thangs.” B****H, H**, and other misogynistic terms became the norm. The uplifting edifying lyrics of songs like “Keep Ya Head Up” were replaced with songs about 40s, Weed, and Guns. (And before you go getting yo’ draws in a bind, I’m just using “Keep Ya Head Up” as an example. I not saying Pac was a saint. I know all of the words to “I Get Around” and “How do you want it?” Not hardly edifying.) Somewhere along the way talent and integrity were scrapped for pure unadulterated CRAP…And I’m not talking just regular run of the mill crap. I’m talking hot, steaming, Tyrannosaurus Rex size CRAP. Let me give you some examples.
Ex#1: “who dat is?!?!?! That’s just my baby daddy.
Ex#2: Gotta a quarter tank of gas in my new E-class, but that’s aight ‘cuz I’m gon’ ride. Gotta everything in my mamma name, but I’m hood rich…lalalala
Ex#3: Give me a project chick, Give me a hood rat trick.
Ex#4: Most Eminem songs. (I say most b/c I can’t lie, Lose Yourself and 8 mile Rd are HOT!!)
Ex#5: 50 Cent
The list has never ending potential but I just went with the first few examples that came to mind. Moving on….

Rappers used to have to be about something to be heard. But it seems now the formula for being a rap artist is: big RENTED cars + flashy sterling silver, oops I mean platinum jewelry + scantly clad females + heavy amounts of expletives / minimal talent =
Thanks to the likes of Ja Rule, The Cash Money Millionaires, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, rap and hip hop have become a mockery. A modern day minstrel show for the new millennium. (Yeah, I stole that line.) Instead of intelligence, “It's too many black women that can say they mothers but can't say that they wives” (Common, Retrospect For Life) we get ignorance “Cause I'm your one and only lover (Oh Yeah) And we don' have to use a rubber (Oh Yeah) Now look what we done did (Oh yeah) Messed around and had some kids (Oh Yeah)” (Big Tymers, Oh Yeah) An art form that was initially admired for it’s rapid fire quips and intellectualism has been to reduced a 3rd grade vocabulary.

How did it get this bad? My theory is that there has been a serious dumbing down of the society. Religion is not the opiate of the masses. Lame music is. (More on that another time) Can we fix it? Yes, but it’s gonna take some work (More on THAT another time. Don’t get mad. I told you from jump that this was PART ONE.)
Call me a hater if you want to. (Isn’t that an N’sync song?) But when it comes down to it, my arguments are valid. Don’t believe me….? Check out Miscellaneous Television (MTV), that is if you’re up @ 4 in the morning b/c that’s the only time they play music videos, or Buffoonery Entertainment Television (BET). The videos speak for themselves. You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? It’s true. But in the case of most rap music, it’s a thousand words most of us don’t want to hear.

Thanks to:

If you can’t click the links, cut and paste. They're worth taking a look.

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