Thanks for sharing that. Being a teacher it gives a perspective of students' mind.
Kudos Bro, another incredible perspective. Oftentimes in our public schools our young black boys are undervalued, underestimated, and marginalized by the very educators entrusted to their growth and greatness. Just as in your case, it will take an unwavering community of family & care takers to ensure these young folks' dreams are not destroyed or deferred by profiling, racism or any other foolishness ...
@AtlantaJack I too have seen similar effects in people regarding current hip hop. Women like our daughter who would shank you for using such disrespectful terms seem to be ok when it comes from certain artists. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.
@Brandon Iamhiphop King See it is folks who have such a rich history and understanding of hip hop like you that they young heads need to hear from on this subject. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in developing this article!
Forgot to mention her many previous encounters with the law.
Also the simple fact that despite their deep concern and love, her family would not come up with the $500 to bail her out of jail.
And before you try to go there, at no time has anyone from her family said they didn't bail her out because they didn't have the money.
They left here there because they didn't want to deal with her either.
As a long time Republican and recovering Southern Baptist, I find this woman to be a bad joke.
She is a sworn court official. If she is unable to perform the duties to which she campaigned for and was elected to as a DEMOCRAT, then she needs to resign.
Brilliant and insightful writing ... Profound on too many levels to go into here, but one aspect you hint at is certainly generational. Perhaps their point of view will shift with the wisdom of age. I don't understand the denigration of people in the name of helping people. To me, there's an obvious disconnect. But I have not lived the struggle, so I don't claim to understand all interpretations. Even my teen daughter, the staunch feminist, loves rap and hip-hop to the point of giving misogynist lyrics a pass, which is confusing to me. In any other context, that language would elicit outrage from her feminist sensibilities.
When asked about my views on this subject, I was in full support of this movie for various reasons, but most were selfish (hip-hop biopic, one of my fave groups, etc.), but I definitely saw where Charles was coming from with his views. N.W.A., in all their influential glory, were also a pawn to the scheme of corporate execs and a sleazy manager for marketing purposes instead on genuine authenticity. I get that people grow up and evolve from where they were mentally many years before, but even at age 50, Dre is still promoting some of the same stuff that got him over at the age of 25 when that's not even his life anymore. Hip-Hop just to be about, for the most part, education and being a voice in the community, but nowadays it's become entertainment and other than a handful of artists, it's become the minstrel coon show we feared it would be to where it has become gentrified with spoofs like Iggy Azaelia. Hip-Hop used to be "for the children", but for almost the past two decades, it's become for the corporate office. Do not believe the story of execs not liking hip-hop music, because they're making money off of idiots like Young Thug and it's working.
@Tony-Tony Stark Man I miss hanging out at CAU in your office or the studio and having these type of conversations and exchanges. I can always count on you to break it down for the folks in a way that the message pierces through even the most dense static of comprehension.
"Compton that was then for this generation just as well been included on a CBS Newsreel of the 30’s era depression." I can't with you....lol
Thank you for reading and sharing your always sage input old friend.
@Lord Chillingsworth I am critical of the predominant culture of "modern hip hop." There have always been and are also currently artist and work that is progressive and affirming but by design those artists are not given the same platform as other artists who perpetuate the same cliched images and themes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic!
I am not about to spend any long time droning on about Straight Outta Compton.
The worlds socio-political, economic even climatological dilemmas have probably a facet or two too many to be solve in the 2 1/2 hours it took this movie to be screened before largely approving audiences. Perhaps and hour more than is usual for the target audience even. But hey..
SOCs Directors and producers I am sure wanted a riveting story, some true-to-life depictions and other embellishings for visual appeal . But more than anything they wanted raw cinematic attendance numbers. That gets them a shot at another film. I think they hit pay dirt. What reasonably more can one ask if the film offers a decent storyline, commendable acting and millennial generation accepting soundtrack?
Compton that was then for this generation just as well been included on a CBS Newsreel of the 30’s era depression. Yeah old heads will sit and look and nod and think they have uncovered the linchpin that connects the polar words of what was hip hop then with now. But chalk that too to the cinematic byproduct that
filmmaking does not mind audiences mythologizing along the way.
We are not living in a time when art is expected to be an extension of social, racial and even ethnical awareness, certainly not that it was a generation ago. I do not know if it should. It certainly is not the way to build four-fold superhero or Fast and Furious franchises. It simply isn’t.
Sure there are and were national and institutional forces that had stakes in minimalizing national urban movements of all types include hip hop’s. But too many in the genre were quite willing then and too willing now to be objectified in exchange for the bling that adoring fans wanted and want to believe are the spoils of in-your-face-rhyming, Midtown PR-firm generated beefs, and good ol American opportunity.
To cut to chase Compton gave the West Coast a Bronx –like Olympus from which they could reign down their hood stories for all that would hear. How long was hip hop gonna be the conscious-just-for-summer-fun outlet when so much more could be idealized if artists were seen as super heroes on a mission to expose “the man”, who doubled ironically as the record company and management deals, had to worry. Neither coast can lay claim to creating verse, beats, MCs, flow, rhythm, dance or art. That preceded our forced stay here.
So called Blaxploitation had a lockdown on thug culture, misogyny and violence way before anybody in hip hop had it or thought they did.
Same kind of analysis can be done of the pop audience received Selma, indie relished What Happened, Miss Simone or television’s iconic Empire-- all with some socially relevant and good entertainment thematic value-- but at the expense of some other social realities for which they all but dwarf.
The Straight Outta Compton’s of the world give entertainment value fairly easily. Preempted pertinent truths should be no over-arching criterion for pulling up.
Oh… and I think I have the visual of the intergenerational exchange between the romanticisation professor and his commendably indulging young audience that has us here scribing away. Clearly the latter did not glean the coding for “the good old days” and bolted like thieves when they had the chance. Good to know some folk still know some good entertainment value when they see it….ol
I really appreciate your willingness to take on this topic, however, like most critics of "modern day hip hop", you speak of the culture as monolithic in its negativity. You then offer no alternatives and show no knowledge of artists currently making great music with a message right now (including KRS One-check out Metahistorical in 2010, one of his best). I mention this because it is so very important to shine light on the good, along with lamenting the bad. Peace, and keep up the great work.
@bubba b those artist do not want to mess with their revenue stream by offering themes that are counter productive to a system that is focused on keeping young black minds unconscious. thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this subject!
@Jonnell You are right and I am not debating the authenticity of growing up in such urban environments as I grew up in the inner city and know first hand of the sometimes desperate conditions. I also get their accomplishments given where they started out but I also very aware that folks put a lot of energy, marketing and resources to make sure such themes would dominate the hip hop culture thus making it harder for other artist who were talking about maybe more progressive themes to flounder in ambiguity. thank you for giving us an alternative view point...smile
I must say Mr. E, that was one of the best articles that I have ever read. Parts of article made me say wow!! I cut the article out so that my girlfriend could read it because we talk about the brainwashing that rap does to our people and they have no idea. We also talk about why is it none of our so called music heroes never come out and tell kids to pull their pants up and rap about what is going to help them long term. It seems that they have all sold theirselves to the devil to be quiet and have no opinion on anything really important which you covered. We live in a era where we use the N- word all the time as everyday language and yet holla about taking down the confederate flag, when both are symbols of hate. Great article!!! Thanks
Great Article Mr. E (as usual) and I agree with most of what you wrote and most of your views. However, I have to play devil's advocate and defend these brothers to a certain extent. First of all, they weren't "portraying" anyone, these young brothers were just reporting the truths about what was going on in their community at the time. While the rest of the world had no idea that things in that community were going on and that their situation was so bad. The things and songs they rapped about were a cry for help from a community that felt that America had abandoned and left for dead. Like Cube said in Boyz in the Hood: "Either they dont know, don't show, or don't care about what goes on in the hood". Think about this: they were rapping about police brutally and how brown people were being beaten and killed by cops. That was 30 years ago! That is still happening today! They had a song called Express Yourself too.
Also, the conditions they lived in and how being in a gang was their way to survive in their community of kill or be killed. We can't ignore the good things that came of that. How many jobs they created for brown people through their music, the lives that changed, and look at Cube and Dre now. The story is also about a rags to riches tale of these brothers who weren't supposed to live past 18 and with a little opportunity, their genius was given a chance to blossom. And we can look down on gang life and drug dealer money but if they didn't have that dope money, what would have been their story? Would they have had an opportunity for their music to be heard? Could Dre have gotten a loan from the bank to start a studio? I doubt it. There would be no Eminem, no Beats by Dre, Boyz in the Hood, no Barbershop movies, Friday 1, 2, and 3. Their contributions are huge and go way beyond the thug life.
You have to look at the why... why were they thugs? Why do they hate the police? Why do they sell drugs and gang bang? That's in their music too but that gets overlooked by the publicity that the media gives the more "thug life antics". And yes, most rap music is trash. For every Dr. Dre and Ice Cube there are 5 Young Thugs and there has been a lot of collateral damage from the few that do succeed and are truly talented and do good with their music. But let's not ignore the fact that Rap music and entertainment is one of the few avenues for minorities to change their circumstances. How many hair and makeup artists, background dancers and singers, musicians, video directors, extras on set and homeboys that are out of the hood because of the success of Rap music. And the mainstream media doesn't report when Rick Ross or T.I. does a turkey giveaway or bookbag giveaway. But if they go to jail it's on the front page.
So, while I agree with most of what you and the other readers have said, but let's not forget to point out the good as well as the bad and not be so hard on these young brothers and others. We should support them and not look at the things they rapped about, but look at the fact that they came from Compton in the 80s and are now very successful and powerful figures in the entertainment industry. And by the way people there is good rap out there, you just don't hear them because the radio stations and MTV don't give those artist a chance to get their music out.
We should support anyone who is trying to change their life for the better and maybe focus on channeling the hate of todays hip hop music into changing the communities at which this music derives from.
You're still the man though Mr. E!
@Garth Vader I am not sure I understand your point but thank you for reading.
@Niurys I agree and I also acknowledge that there are some current hip hop artist who are creating some very conscious and profound work but unfortunately they are underground and do not reach mainstream level status because they are not willing to participate in the popular characterization of what is a "real" hip hop artist. Thank you for reading and sharing.
@D Barbara McWhite You breakdown my sentiments of not even representing the lifestyle that you sale. Yes by retreating to your places of privilege while the "real" folks have to negotiate environments bloated with your narrative. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!
@Mike Watson I agree that unless we begin to step back and look at the bigger picture of who is ultimately in control then in the long run we all end up losing. I want artist to want more and to do better. We has consumer's of that creative narrative deserve more. Thank you for reading and your words of support!
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