The question is where does hip-hop go from here? Part of the appeal and power of hip-hop is that hip-hop has continued to serve as a voice of opposition of the status quo. A key element of rap music even in the works of commercial interests like Jay-Z has been to question the political leaders.
Based on the twittering of ?eustlove of The Roots, I am afraid most of hip-hop will automatically approve of Barack Obama’s actions. Thank goodness Dead Prez will still hold his feet to the fire.
There is a new Jay-z song called “Jocking Jay-Z” produced by Kanye West that is floating around the internet. More Jay-z talk about how rich he is and famous he is; Jay-Z’s act of exclaiming how famous he is getting a little boring but his rap flow is still great and the Kanye Beat is amazing with the simple guitar distortion and straight forward hard rap drum beat.
The piece is written in a way that is probably well intentioned. She seems to think that if Obama is elected President, suddenly the poor black people in American cities will have no problems after they are able to cleanse themselves of excessive materialism.
Her article is full of out of date phrases and stereotypes. Bling is an expression that was popular in the 90′s, this is a new time. Battiata references heavy gold medallions have not been popular since the late 80′s unless she is really complaining about the whole subculture of hipster rap that bases itself off of clichés of the 80′s.
Mary Battiata and other liberals have to realize that Barack Obama is not the second coming of Jesus. Obama is just another politician and people should not expect him to change the culture of the world.
Bozell cites a Parents Television Council study that points out some problems with the hip-hop videos being aired on TV by Viacom:
Obama should take a look at a new report from the Parents Television Council about three popular rap-music programs that air in the afternoon or early evening — “Sucker Free” on MTV and “Rap City” and “106 & Park” on Black Entertainment Television for two weeks in December and a week in March.
In 41 and a half hours studied, analysts found 282 uses of the N-word. Is that “a little too frequently,” too?
A little too much degrading of women? In those same hours, there were 143 uses of the B-word to describe women.
A little too much focus on material things? Here, Obama is gliding by the question of what material things are acquired. The rap shows included 205 depictions or discussions of drug sale or use and other illegal activity during the study period, for an average of 7.5 instances per hour, or roughly one instance every eight minutes.
Obama did not discuss the heavily sexualized world of rap in his answer. Sexually explicit scenes or lyrical references on these shows appeared 27 times an hour in December and 40 times an hour in March. No one could miss that drumbeat.
In just one week of programming — 14 hours in March — PTC analysts found 1,342 instances of offensive/adult content, or 95.8 instances per hour, or one instance of adult content every 38 seconds.
There certainly are problems with hip-hop and the programs Bozell mentions but it is not fair to say that 106 & Park represent all of hip-hop. Obama has mentioned that he has discussed the problems he have with the lyrics in hip-hop with Nas and Jay-z who are certainly high profile rappers. What more could Brent Bozell want?
It is not clear what made Jay-z jump down to Jim Jones level to engage in rap beef. Cam’ron previously had tried started a rap beef with Jay-z. Cam’ron criticized Jay-z for any number of things, including wearing sandals this really seemed to bother Cam’ron, without getting as much as a response from Jay-z. Jim Jones, in his role as Cam’ron’s weed carrier, had released several diss tracks on several mix tapes. Then Jim Jones released “We Fly High” and Jay-z responded. It is not clear exactly why Jay-z stepped into the fray. The very fact of Jay-Z’s response raised Jim Jones status in many minds.
Without all this would Jim Jones be a rapper bloggers might be discussing? I doubt it.