Hip Hop: The Soundtrack to Our Arab Spring

Arab Spring, according to, refers to the democratic uprisings that arose independently and spread across the Arab world in 2011. The movement originated in Tunisia in December 2010 and quickly took hold in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Sound familiar? Yes, Hip Hop heads we here in the United States of America are in the midst of our very own Arab Spring. The movement eloquently referred to as #BlackLivesMatter is the culmination of a series of events that have affected our communities. If you want to be real about it you could say that our country has been in its own Arab Spring since the Civil Rights Era. However, some may feel that after the Civil Rights Movement in the fifties, sixties, and seventies may have “died down” but that’s probably because the government at that point had gunned down our Black leaders! In the twenty first century with the impact of social media we have now come full circle.

We’ve got poisonous water in some places, a flooded New Orleans, and multiple cities like Chicago, Ferguson, and Baltimore are in socioeconomic, political, and emotionally and fragile conditions. People we are on the edge and Hip Hop Culture is in the middle of it all! Believe it or not Hip Hop is the one genre of music that most people can unite behind. No musical genre can bring people of different races, creeds, economic status, education level, and beyond in the same fashion as Hip Hop and Rap music. Hip Hop is key! At some point a lot of these mainstream Rappers are going to have to conform to the times. Ms. Nina Simone once said “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” I’m sorry I’ve been mistaking these Rappers for artists! An artist has to be compelled to reflect the current times in their art and what some of these people are doing is not art. Some Rappers don’t even know what art is or let alone been to a museum or a gallery but if art is subjective who am I or we to judge? I’m a consumer that’s who. Mainstream Rappers I pay your bills whenever I stream, physically purchase, or download one of your songs and I am tired of hearing the same old party messages!

I want you to tell me about the police harassing you and your family. Don’t think that just because you’ve gotten a little money that you are not a target because believe me we’ve had legends killed in the streets because one of our own tried to rob them. #RIP posts and shares are cool but we could stand up to the violence together through the music. You see the uproar Beyoncé caused with the mere representation of Black power, equality, and love? Whenever we try and fight for ourselves we are met with hostility. For every action there is an equal yet opposite reaction. So for every Arab Spring there is what is called an Arab Winter. According to Wikipedia, Arab Winter is characterized by the emergence of multiple regional civil wars, mounting regional instability, economic and demographic decline of Arab countries, and ethno-religious sectarian strife. Some of this we are already experiencing. Remember when that group of athletes at a Missouri college protested by refusing to play football? We are truly in the midst of a new era in our nation. Be they civil, black, or Arab Hip Hop is about saving lives not wasting them.