WuTang Clan, The LOX, EPMD, The Fat Boys, and Gangstarr are some of the greatest Hip Hop collectives of all time. These groups and duos represent the range of styles that Hip Hop music had that still embodied the culture. Each emcee or dee jay had a talent or a skill to bring to the table in order to elevate the group to the next level. Today, Hip Hop or Rap music has collectives but they are more or less “camps”. A$AP Mob, OVO, Young Money, MMG, or even Roc Nation are composed of individuals who are on the same label or have the same representation as far as management but none of them are actual groups. Top Dawg Ent is the label with Schoolboy Q, Ab Soul, SZA, Kendrick Lamar, and the others are individual artist but Black Hippy would be the group (if they ever come together). There are so many artists in the game but nobody is really challenging each other. Nobody is trying to change the status quo.
When you are in a group you have other people to bounce ideas off of that you respect which in turn could stop an artist from writing a bad verse, a bad hook, or choose an easy beat to rock over. Having someone to brainstorm ideas or concepts with allows you to be more creative and takes some of the workload off of your shoulders. When the Fresh Prince was on stage with DJ Jazzy Jeff it allowed The Prince to take a break, catch his own breath, and just keep the crowd excited. They knew how to share the stage and could recognize when the other needed them to step in for those moments. When individual members of a group, in our case a culture, unquestioningly follow the word of the leader, or the label, and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus. That Hip Hop Heads is what we call groupthink. Groupthink occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. So instead of being honest with young people in the game and giving them feedback we just allow them to make a mockery of the culture just because we don’t want to be seen as a hater, or soft, or wack. We as the older generation are afraid to have a disagreement with these young emcees and dee jays so what we have are gaps between the generations.
Now the labels see that the youth are out here with no guidance from their elders so they become a target and the labels bleed the young person dry and the artist becomes an employee instead of a boss. It is evident that our society as a whole is moving away from people having an individual opinion let alone expressing it on a major platform. Groupthink is a psychological concept that was developed in the early seventies and it is the year 2016. As social media continues to influence the thoughts and ideas of the people it simultaneously goes on a smearing campaign for anyone who shows any sign of an individual idea or thought process. Seamlessly picking and choosing who is allowed to be creative on certain levels. Thinking with a group isn’t the same as thinking as a group. We as the curators of our own culture need to figure out how to think as a group, instead of having a group think for us. Now think about that, by yourself.