Hip Hop Attempts To Recapture Its Voice Vs. Social Injustice
The nation is still focused on the events stemming from the murder of young Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The people continue to rally, march, protest and show support across the country. Without being told to by some high profile figure, the people have had enough and are calling out the system that has overpowered so many within the police forces of America to abuse and kill people without consequences. Within the past few days the always curious rap world has started to chime in on the drama in Ferguson via music. Hip Hop has always had something to say but truthfully the power of those words has never been lower than it presently is. Can Hip Hop reclaim its position as a socially aware mouth piece for the people?
California MC Game rounded up a collection of artists ranging from the Puffy to Wale to Rick Ross to 2 Chains and more. If I’m being honest I didn’t listen to this track till nearly two days after it dropped. I can admit to having mixed emotions about this effort I was honestly nervous about what I’d hear. The song “Don’t Shoot” has been made available via iTunes and its been stated that the proceeds will go towards the Justice for Mike Brown Charity. I wonder if those funds will exceed the cost of a few of those tacky ass chains some of these entertainers wear.
Following this group effort, the on again off again on again and now off again Pastor Mase has released “Politically Incorrect” as is statement on the issues facing black people in the wake Trayvon, Mike Brown and others. As in the “Don’t Shoot” song, taking it at simple face value the words do connect. The questions of who’s next and how can we stop this resonate with me and many others. Yet, at 33 yrs old, having grown up on Hip Hop I need more.
I’m a realist, I take the caliber of a man into account when looking at the things he does. As a Black man our community there are a number of things we have to deal with and address. No, don’t worry I’m not about to go left and do the “What about Black on Black violence” thing. Unlike many I can acknowledge more than one issue at a time without derailing from the original point. My concern here is specifically with the major figures in Hip Hop. When you have the loudest voice, the farthest reach and the greatest influence of any non religion based culture on the planet you have responsibility. Many of these folk have done a piss poor job of living up to that. If I know you constantly are abusive and disrespectful to women via your creative platform it makes it hard for me to take you serious when you get on the #HandsUpDontShoot bandwagon. Yes they are two different issues but they all effect the same community. I want to believe that this is more than a mere bone being tossed at the people. I want to believe that the same way the public seems to have been woken up that Hip Hop has as well.
Tragedy has hit us many times before and for the most part Hip Hop has done nothing for fear of burning corporate relations. I understand business and I’ve often been the first to say let’s get all the info then make the most effective move possible. I’m about acting effectively not merely acting fast. I hope this is the beginning of continuous action from the Hip Hop community. I think all of us need to see that. People that love and live this culture have been let down often by those that now benefit from the battles pioneers before them fought. Accountability is needed from all. When the media attention leaves and the holiday season rolls around this year I don’t want the energy of today to be gone. I know Hip Hop can do it but the question is will it? Jay Cole set a great lead visiting Ferguson as well as Talib Kweli. Let’s keep putting work behind our words.