There are those who are attached to the genre’s perceived ‘cool’ lifestyle embraced by today’s hip culture. Some just really identify with relative messages. Throughout the fray of negative publicity hip hop maintains political tones reflecting the lifestyle of America’s rural and urban cultures.
It is not a good idea to summon the messages of Two Live Crew and similar artists when considering the influence and true essence of of Hip Hop. Instead, dig a little deeper by listening to artists who discuss relevant issues of the day like J Cole, a North Carolina native.
Cole’s verses are not rebellious, but rather speak to issues of heath care, poverty, jobs and many other ills that negatively impact every ethnicity. It is true that black people overwhelming represent the artist creating the genre, but its descriptive, provoking and commanding tone is inclusive and speaks to all.
To characterize rap as rebellious is to limit its true impact and to contradict the common fabric of American freedom and independence. The culture of hip hop and rap was shaped out of poverty and one’s ability to achieve stability despite challenging life circumstances.
In spite of the long reach of rap as an important cultural form of entertainment, there are artist who continue to dumb down the form. Many radio stations seem to promote a lifestyle built around a perpetual juke; but “That ain’t what it is.”
Rap has the juice needed to awaken a sleeping giant to address many of the most important social questions in America. Questions such as why African Americans are incarcerated at rates unlike any other race and why unemployment and the AIDs virus negatively impact African American communities disproportionately can be confronted.
Perhaps we need to wake that sleeping giant by challenging rap culture to snuff out the negative messages of those who dumb it down.