The Potential of Hip Hop and What It Used To Be


Over the years Hip Hop has been a vehicle for our community to voice our opinion on politics, social ills, economics, and education but in recent years the genre has moved away from that despite our community’s increasing need to express our feelings and to learn what we can do to stop the issues plaguing our community. In this millennium Hip Hop has not been able to recapture its sociopolitical influence on its listeners but still has the potential to do so.

The events in Ferguson, MI is just a small part of how Hip Hop’s potential is being squandered. Hip Hop has become a parody of its former self. Technology has shortened this generation’s attention level with increased level of instant gratification. The Hip Hop Generation did not do what they were supposed to do by raising this generation of millennials within the culture. This has resulted in this generation to have a disconnect causing the loss of control of Hip Hop/Rap music which effects the entire culture. Hip Hop heads aren’t stuck in the Golden Age they want Hip Hop to return with the lyrical enlightenment it used to embrace. If we clouded the radio with socially relevant and politically aware Hip Hop like we do the drug and sex driven rap we hear now it would spawn a legion of intellectuals. More youth would be in school instead of prison leading to more young black men could making it to college rather than being killed at the hands of law enforcement or another black man.

Hip Hop hasn’t lost its way WE as a people as a culture have lost Hip Hop. Some of you all are quick to give it up like a house slave snitching on some runaways. You hung us out to dry then and continue to do so today. You lynch your own community for some type of financial or personal gain meanwhile people are dying in the streets. You think your kids are immune to the negative influence of what you feed to our communities. Most of you aren’t living a lifestyle to far removed from the average person. You gave away our power our voice; your power your voice! We had artists like Native Tongues, ATCQ, De La Soul, Queen Latifah, and Monie Love they promoted the messages we needed to hear. Today we have Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, Nas, and others but they don’t get the radio play like artists of their caliber had once before.

We have the opportunity to take back our music, our voice, and our power at any time. Rioting? Looting? Anger? Injustice? Put your emotions on wax. If you can’t, you can utilize any one of the elements to express your feelings on the wrongdoings in our community. Breakin’ is one that requires no tools just your body therefore not costing any money. Graffiti is probably the second most used element when it comes to expressing emotions. Hip Hop has to take a constant stand against these issues to really cause change in the community. Rappers and artists now don’t want to express how they feel on these issues because it would contradict their image. If I’m the one contributing to the downfall of my community I can’t speak against myself? If I do that will interfere with my money. Money is the root of all evil. If our Roots were of The Roots that could bring a little improvement. The youth these days are so brainwashed by the music today they can’t even bring themselves to listen to socially conscious Hip Hop. They can’t even correctly interpret the music that they are listening to now. I had an eighteen year old say to me once that ‘Pills and Potions’ was about Nicki’s addiction to drugs. I hadn’t even heard the song at the time but I encouraged her to go back and listen to the words again.

This ‘lifestyle promotion’ that Hip Hop is on right now has to come to an end. Trends in Hip Hop all come to an end but what’s at the end of this rainbow? Will it be an uplifting movement to inspire us all to be more than we imagine or will we continue to help oppress ourselves squandering our potential, love for self, and our culture?

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