An Open Letter to Hip Hop

Aww, Ludacris is such a cutie, playing with his daughter Karma in the park.

She’s so adorable with her afropuff. So sweet, so innocent. I wonder if Luda lets his little girl listen to his music?

“Shake, shake, shake your money maker, Like you were shaking it for some paper. Took your momma 9 months to make ya, Might as well shake what your momma gave ya.”

And that’s just a radio-friendly example.

Don’t get it twisted, I don’t mean to pick on the Ludameister as the representation of all rappers. But he’s one of my favorites. What can I say, I love wordplay and he’s a master of the art. But “Money Maker” is one of my least favorite songs by him, it’s just uninspiring and I think he knows that.

I get the impression that Ludacris’s daughter could be the impetus for him to change. With a name like Karma, I have faith in her power to do so. “Runaway Love” was another step in a better direction. But it’s a small drop in an increasingly large bucket.

Casual misogyny in hip hop goes back a long way. Perhaps even as far back as Rapper’s Delight (“hotel, motel, Holiday Inn; if your girl starts actin up then you take her friend”). Another early example I can think of is “La Di Da Di,” which was one of the very first songs I made an effort to learn all of the words to. Slick Rick was one of the first “naughty” rappers in my household; I had a cassette of The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, and it was all about me and my nine-year-old friends giggling at the most scandalous lyrics of the era. Treat Her Like a Prostitute, Indian Girl, and Lick the Balls come immediately to mind. But then there was Hey Young World — an instant classic. One of my top fifteen favorite rap songs of all time, a timeless rap song with a message anyone could get behind. And I think that imbalance of misogyny and hope set a blueprint for the next generation of rappers.

I live in Miam-uh, city of the booty bass. And I love it. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that I listen to all kinds of rap, from the most uplifting to the most degrading. I’ve got quite the Three-Six Mafia collection (36 albums and counting. No, I don’t listen to all of them). I still bump NWA on a regular basis. I listen to screwed and chopped music. I have love for Luda, Trick Daddy, Lil Wayne, and you can catch me getting crunk on my way to work sometimes — yes, I’ll rock to Lil Jon, Lil Scrappy, and TI. I’m even feeling the Rich Boy tracks that I’ve heard. So no, I don’t believe that hip hop needs to do a complete 180, but the balance needs to shift. Big time.

So hip hop, here’s what I want from you.

1. Give me a beat I can ride to and a message I can get behind. I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t notice a lot of cars down here blasting “Runaway Love,” or “Kick, Push,” or… man, I’m drawing a blank on recent, positive rap songs here. Which kind of illustrates my point. But when Shawnna’s “Getting Some” dropped, it got A LOT of airplay. “Throw Some D’s,” “Go Getta,” “Pop, Lock, and Drop It”, and “Rock Yo Hips.” That’s all I’m hearing these days. I just want to hear some songs getting heavy rotation on 106th and Park that say something AND have that hot beat at the same time. A tiny handful of positive songs every year isn’t nearly enough.

2. Rappers, pick an image and stick with it. If 95% of your album is all about bitches, hoes, and how trill you are, how much money you’re making, and how good you are in bed, don’t come at me with that one “Dear Mama” track at the end of the album. I’m not feeling that. That doesn’t demonstrate range at all. And so many rappers are talking about the SAME ish. I don’t give a damn how much money you have, or why you’re hot, or about the exclusive designer stuff that you can buy. There is so, so much more to say. I want to see rappers stop limiting themselves to money, hoes, and clothes. Wanna set yourself apart from the pack? Talk about something real that people can relate to. Struggling against poverty, or trying to stay positive in a negative world. Anything’s gotta be better than “This is Why I’m Hot.”

3. Somebody, ANYBODY — get me a good female rapper STAT. Because all of the popular female hip hop stars I’m hearing right now have the exact same things to say. And no offense; but it seems pretty obvious to me that dudes are writing some of these lyrics. Can we get at least ONE female MC who either writes her own lyrics and says something meaningful, or just recites meaningful lyrics that someone else has written? I mean, come on now. You don’t all have “42 flavors of this bootylicious bubblegum.” You can’t all make a Sprite can disappear in your mouth. It seems to me that all of these female MC’s are talking alot but not saying anything. I’m still waiting for that breath of fresh air. Glad I didn’t hold my breath for it.
4. Leave the club anthems at the club. I assumed this would have been obvious but I’ll tell you — I was shocked the first time I heard the Ying Yang Twins’ “The Whisper Song” on the radio. SHOCKED. And I’m not a particularly prudish individual. That song was crazy popular, defiantly freaky, and on the radio constantly when it came out. When did it become OK to play a song with the refrain “beat the p$%*y up” on the radio? Why not leave the most adult material where you can be assured that only adults will hear it? That was part of what pushed me away from listening to the radio, the music and the repetitive playlists. I’d like to see radio stations take their listeners into consideration and add more positivity and variety to their rotations.

Those are my four simple and humble requests. Many of you cats aren’t young anymore. Busta, Dre, Timbaland, Jay-Z… all grown-ass men. Many rappers are fathers and if you can’t see the effects of the same music, the same messages over and over again on the younger generation, you must be blind. As the leaders of the hip hop scene, it’s up to you. You can get the critics off your back by actually trying to switch your game up. It’s as easy as that. Look at your kids, and think of the messages you want them to receive. Then be brave enough to speak up and make a difference.

I’ve strayed far from beauty reviews this week, but this controversy has gotten me heated. I’ve been following this Don Imus thing closely. I read all the comments you made on my site, and the comments on many of my favorite black gossip sites. Compare those to the comments on TMZ, where readers who I assume are white — 821 comments at the time of this post — are bashing the black community for what they see as a double standard. Well, there IS a double standard at play here. I’m tired of the same. We need to make a change.

I’ll be back to the beauty reviews over the weekend, I promise! Look out for a new Ask Afrobella tomorrow, and another addition to the Lost Ones series. For now, here’s an old school jam for hip hop heads who have had enough. This is one of my favorite hip hop songs of all time. There’s not enough like this one, if you ask me.

“Black women, make sure you’re respected.” That says it all right there. What do you want from hip hop, bellas and fellas?

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Comments

  1. cassandra says:

    We have to stop financially supporting this stuff. Period. The violent and the misogynist makes plenty of money for the multinationals and that is why it still exists. We keep approving of it every time we fork over cash for CDs, mp3s, or concerts.

    I don’t hear much popular rap anymore, because I don’t like the attitudes towards the world. But I still get mix tapes from friends who are plugged into more of the underground stuff and some of that is great. I will buy that and hand it off to my young friends. But they all know that the popular stuff does not get played in my presence and don’t even think about asking me to buy any CDs of this mess.

    Seriously, just stop buying it.

  2. i think it’s sad that in most of the news coverage i have seen, all the people commenting happen to be men. and the other thing no one seems to have brought up, at least in what i have read: it’s not ok to call ANY woman a “ho”. black or white or asian or indian or smurf. i believe that women perpetrate the crime on each other, too. and that also has to stop.we all have to say that it’s unacceptable. thank you for your constantly interesting blogs. this is, actually, in some ways, a beauty issue.

  3. AMEN!

  4. Bella…this is the most fabulous post I think I’ve ever read. I definitely agree with cassandra about not financially supporting this type of music to send a message. Now while we may not be the primary target audience and probably not the generation spending the most money, we are definitely in a position to effect change. WE are the parents, aunts, uncles, cousins of this generation. WE are providing the funds necessary to buy the music. CUT IT OFF. I stopped giving my nephew money to buy music unless I approved it first. Stripper music doesn’t get my dollars.

  5. byrdparker says:

    it’s a nice post , but i feel it’s wrong to ask people to change , they ( rappers) are not at that point. Most of them are not even in control of thier own finances. How many times do we hear , this rapper doesn’t have any more money , or he’s sick without insurance .

    Lets look at clear channel music hot 97 , who owns it ? It has been stated many times that the head honchos over there like controversy , and push thier jocks to give it. So probably lil kim can thank clear channel for inspiring her little jail sentence.

    lets take lil mama , and the song lip gloss you feel the song is age appropriate ? can’t u just see some little boy trying to talk to a young girl like that and she is not having it and he calls her a ho. I don’t want any of my children in school worrying about lipstick with glitter , to make her lips look juicy and inviting . ( although i did like your lip gloss post and the video as it relates to lip gloss )

    human emotions , and just way of being is infinite and hard to control , you never know what way the pendulum will swing .

  6. Recently, here in Chicago, they ran a story about rap sales being the lowest they’ve been in years. I think it’s because those of us that cut our teeth on NWA have grown up and moved on. I’ll be 29 in June-I don’t have time for that s**t. What I love most about hip-hop has always been the beat, and I just find myself listening more and more to drum and bass and electronica- DJs Spinna and Greyboy more than supply the beat without making me feel like an object. In “Black Like Me”, the author says that rap culture today is akin to minstrel shows of yesteryear, and I can’t say that I think he’s wrong, especially when you stop to consider that the people writing the (small) checks to rappers are usually white. I’m quite tired of people (no matter their color) willing to sell themselves out for a buck. We really need to get past this. I agree with all of the posts, but most importantly the first: just don’t buy it. Believe me, someone somewhere is noticing the slump in sales.

  7. Oops! The book I meant to cite was “Black Like You”

  8. i’ve detested him (and the degrading type of hip hop) that seems 2 rise 2 the top since his (it’s) debut. the fact that this arrogant bastard had the nerve to ‘thank’ oprah for calling him out on his crap when he won a grammy this year, was a slap in the face to ALL women.

    until we all stop listening & supporting his ‘music’, we’re aiding him and adding to the problem. the same goes for those of us who still say – oh girl, i dont care, that’s my JAM – when an r.kelly song is on the radio.

    shameful.

  9. Afrobella, THANK YOU for this post today. I placed a link to a petition against degradation in hip hop in the comments section yesterday, I hope you don’t mind me dropping it in here again today since it’s related to this topic.

    http://www.petitiononline.com/hiphop1/petition.html

  10. Great post! I think everyone is getting tired of hearing the same old theme trotted out over and over again. And then, rappers are so afraid of being different. Take, for instance, DJ Unk (I think that his name…) He did the song “Walk it Out” and then followed it with the song “2 Step”. To me, those songs are almost identical. All these rappers are interchangable.

    Will someone please do something different?!

  11. Firstly, there is a difference between rap and hip hop that some seem to forget about. Rap music is different from hip hop period. Now I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a “slave to the rhythm” at times so I’m not going to say it. It’s fine and dandy to “say” let’s not support RAP music but really where will that get us? Alternative and Rock music (another of our gifts to the world that’s been taken over) is worse than the raunchiest rap song on a good day. Yet no one is talking about that. Why? We already know the answer to that. How can you say something needs to be changed when this is what it’s always been. There’s no big surprise in the rap world. Rappers rap about what their lives. Period. Look at the large number of hip hop artists who are 5%ers aka Nation of Gods and Earths. Look at the difference in the songs they (just off hand Busta, Nas, Guru, AZ, Lord Jamar, Papoose)make versus others in the game now. As bella said we need balance. I just don’t believe that we should rely solely on music to create this balance. We have to have balance in our community period. We are not out there affecting change like we were back in the 60s 70s or 80s for that matter. Heck the most visible of “Black Leaders” are the same ones that were “leading us” during the aforementioned eras (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson). There’s just something wrong with that. So until we step up as a generation we just can’t expect change of any proportion.

  12. Bella, Thank you so much for your post! It was wonderful! I could not have said it better than cassandra–that you too for your words.

  13. byrdparker says:

    big tab,
    i agree with you !!!
    and as i stated in the imus post , niggas 4 life by nwa was a great song , but you know who we hear now is a product of listening to nwa , without any proper education of interpretation of the lyrics .
    We must own our own networks , we must be able to pay for our own airspace .. I can’t stand listening to wendy williams , but would wbls be able to survive without her ?

    go and see this website . unbelieveable http://www.ho-check.com/

  14. Although I have a love/hate relationship with hip-hop, I’d be willing to give that petition more weight if it also mentioned the rampant homophobia also found in some hip-hop. I just find it very odd that it did an inventory of hip-hop’s ills but left that part out. One group does not have a monopoly on oppression.

    Otherwise, dope post, Bella.

  15. I would also submit that the “rap vs. hip-hop” device is self-defeating in that it’s typically used when people want to seperate the music they like from the music they don’t like. “Hip-Hop” is a more inclusive term since it refers to an entire culture and the 4 elements. “Rap” refers more specifically to the type of music.

  16. Excellent post! I decided to write something about hip hop this morning too. I guess after the Imus stupidness its time for us to take a look at ourselves and put an end to degrading music.

  17. I was kind of in a rush when I wrote this, so there’s so much I feel that I didn’t get to say. But Bless, I have to address this comment: “Alternative and Rock music (another of our gifts to the world that’s been taken over) is worse than the raunchiest rap song on a good day.”

    I listen to quite a bit of “alternative” and rock music and I can’t tell you of a recent song that’s called a woman a bitch or a ho. Or expressed homophobia like what Nova’s talking about. I listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, the White Stripes, the Distillers, the Raconteurs…there’s quite a few groups that I’m forgetting in this list. But while RHCP occasionally get raunchy, it’s nothing like hardcore rap. Name me a song or group so I can know exactly who you’re talking about here.

    Nova, you are BEYOND right about the homophobia, it makes me sick. It’s a problem in rap and definitely in reggae music. I have been to reggae concerts that puport to be about peace and love, only to then hear the artist go off on a tirade about gay people. I’ve actually left concerts for that reason. The whole system needs a change, in my opinion.

  18. i think it’s important to focus our energy on what we are in favor of, as opposed to rehashing what we’re against. i am for the spiritual and emotional health of black women, a desire that requires the affirmative attention of all of us that love black people. if we are for music whose energy is positive, and which holds us in high regard, and challenges us to be better than we are at this moment, our energies must go there. yes, it really is that simple. money, words, time, etc. are all forms of energy–we can choose to commit these forms of energy to what it is we wish to create in our lives and in the lives of our community. this is how positive change is manifested. peace.

  19. AMEN is right! Enough is enough! Something needs to change and fast!!!! Even though the damage is already done. Hopefully something can still be done and a huge mark is made.

  20. Black American Princess says:

    Your open letter to hip hop is on point!! Please sign this petition which calls for a boycott of hip hop and mainstream media until the rampany misogyny stops!

    http://www.petitiononline.com/hiphop1/petition.html

  21. No woman should be called a bitch or a ho. Period. Women need to stop saying it to each other, and we need to stop listening to it. It is not ok to bash gay folk, glorify violence, death, jail time etc. The latest movement that I have noticed in rap is how many rappers talk about women in school/college and then try to degrade them. ex. Lil Wayne “you know she give good head like she went to a good school”. WTF? Turn that ish off. Truth is black men must hold themselves accountable more than they currently are for what they say and do and black women need to set a standard for themselves and hold ourselves and our partners/lover/music and entertainment to that standard and be accountable to that standard as well. Period.

  22. haitiangurL says:

    hey bellas!

    Re: Kiri “A Girl Like Me”

    Our gurl is coming UP she’s down now by 248 votes!!! Please vote again today and TOMORROW BEFORE NOON EST…. and again encourage EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO VOTE because not only will Kiri win a 10,000 scholarship but Cosmo Girl will do an article in their August issue about Kiri’s topic on BLACK BEAUTY…

    Can you imagine a white publication doing an article on Black Beauty that would be so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. I agree with alot of your comments.
    Sad but true, it’s unfortunate positive artist like my brother(www.vexdavortex.com), don’t get signed so they do their own thing.

  24. I LOVE this post! I live in Miami also and I completely understand listening to all kinds of music (I just love Trick Daddy). Hip-Hop used to be about a message or just having fun. The dirtiest lyrics on Slick Rick’s tape (wow that’s old skool) don’t come close to some of today’s lyrics.

    It’s sad that we can be mad about Imus calling our girl’s “nappy headed ho’s” but we are perfectly OK if it is in a rap song with a good beat. We MUST do better people!

  25. Ami Jane says:

    I agree with what you are saying. MMhh, I wonderw where Oprah and the rest of the black fight for your rights women were when that WHITE MAN Don Imus calld those girls Nappy Headed Hoes.

    J

  26. Oprah is going to have the Rutgers girls on her show.

  27. afrobello says:

    I don’t just want a hip-hop with artists claiming to “keep it real,” therefore giving us profane accounts of crime, materialism, sex and misogyny. In the 70s, many artists like Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield used their work to challenge the plight of our ghettos and fight for a better way. Now, they just want to sell us a culture of mediocrity. And how DARE they assume that we all identify with their one-dimensional blackness. They condition young people so effectively that Li’l kim is a hero for shamelessly breaking the law, and getting shot 9 times is a badge of honor. When Russell Simmons is asked about this issue, he dodges the truth and comes out swinging against censorship. Because this stuff bleeds out of rap and contaminates what much of hip-hop is all about, its dominance over people of color is tainted too. It’s up to this generation to reclaim what we stand for.

  28. Thank you Lady Afrobella I can’t believe I won!!! I’m really floored…And I also want to commend you for always bringing the issues back to the heart of the matter and that is OUR COMMUNITY!! With the rising trend of public figures expressing views they would only dare speak in their homes and at their parties and social functions ( you know the ones where they get all dressed up in white cloaks and all) I find it so ironic that they seem to be “rising up” if you will when a viable African-American Presidential candidate is charming the pants off of America!! Hell I’ve seen grown Caucasian women swoon at the mere mention of Obama!! I think some puppeteers are getting nervous!!! But all that aside I too am part of the problem just like I am part of the solution!!
    I too have spoken that N* word and I too felt a sense of entitlement because my excuse is/was “I’m turning a negative into a positive i’m taking the word back!! yeah!!” I WAS WRONG!!! And i’m just speaking for myself!! I remember when Dave Chapelle was on Oprah and he said basically that people are not responible enough at this time for the N*word (I believe he was referring to white people) because it is NO secret that African-Americans set the trends in AMERICA and then White America turns around and “mutilates” it to fit their lifestyles and their world the examples of that are all around us!!! from Rock n Roll to hairdos for example the movie “10″ where the perfect woman for Dudley Moore has CORNROWS and BEADS IN HER HAIR a for goodness sake!!! We are what they want to be and what they depise all in the same breathe!! So for me as a trendsetting Afromerican I am not in my everyday life going to use the N*word again because that is all the ammunition a white colleague needs when they want to use the word oh so frealy is that “well you say it why can’t I?” And they know good and well why!! Mr. Imus lost his job. Good it’s not like he won’t find another outlet to spit his tobacco and shoot his mouth with ; he knows the game and he knows he played himself thats why he apologized so swiftly!!So now do we all just sit back in our comfortable desegrated lives and shout hooray one for the team!! however we have the solution!! And that is by Respecting ourselves and our community!! Set the example! It’s so simple and yet so complex. peace and blessings !!! And like Teddy P.’s song says “WAKE UP EVERYBODY”

  29. This was so needed. I stopped funding the violence and misogyny a long time ago and now I do my best to steer clear of album labels, channels and corporations that sponsor it.

  30. sorry I made an error while rushing to post my comment when I said:”So now do we all just sit back in our comfortable *desegregated* lives and shout hooray one for the team?!! I don’t think so however…
    that was what I meant to post thanks!!

  31. byrdparker says:

    imus has been dropped from cbs.

    I do not know why we cannot say the word “nigger “. I rarely use it ,it’s not part of my everyday vernacular. But I do agree with free speech , and as u so eloquently put it afrobella , we are not a one dimensional people … Obviously it means so much to the people who use the word ” nigga “, it’s a legacy of pain .

    These rappers control nothing ,really they are a smokescreen, are they going to influence how are government is run.. Money does not give u influence and power…

  32. This could bite us though. This Imus thing is really going to put a spotlight on a lot of hypocritical attitudes we black folks hold. Too many of us are homophobic. Too many of us buy rap cds, love Norbit, and say n-word every chance we get.

    I don’t understand why our civil rights leaders won’t get together and deal with Hip/Hop community and it’s poison and it’s influence. We need more musical diversity. Check out the top rap albums, you’ll see why.

  33. Excellent post!

  34. flygyrl72 says:

    Lest we forget, white people, in particular white youth, buy the majority of rap music & buy the most concert tickets for these guys. So what these rappers really are, are just little minstrels shuckin & jivin for the man, same as the old days, just w/ more bling & bravado. White folks love these types of rappers, Snoop, Luda, Jigga, Puffy, cause they perpetuate the stereotypes that they’re comfortable w/ attaching to Black men. An actually talented rapper like Common, who’s intelligent & doesn’t fit the stereotypes, has to do double, triple the work just to get half the recognition that’s automatically given to these other commericial, garbage assed rappers. So, while witholding our Black dollars will help, I don’t know if it’ll change anything. And if there was at least more balance out there, it wouldn’t be so bad. Back in the day, for every NWA, there was an Eric B & Rakim or De La or Tribe, someone. Nowadays, as far as tv & radio/mainstream, there’s no variety, it’s all just one way, the misogynistic-no respect for self & others- way… Like Nas said, hip hop is dead, it’s over. People are just about trying to get paid, & can’t afford to push the limits or experiment, cause one bad album, & they’ll be out on their butts…

  35. Black women seem to be getting a disgustingly large amount of hate coming to them recently i was disgusted when i heard this.

    http://www.esnips.com/doc/033062e5-1975-409c-8217-1b7750b0b57e/Vanessa-Feltz-Phone-In

    I don’t like weaves but this does not make me think that black women are ugly. The young women who he discribes as a horse is Tiana Benjamin and if you type in chelsea from eastenders or her name you can see a picture of this so called ‘horse’ looking female.

  36. I’m not a woman. But I do agree with your post. I won’t like I do like some of those songs that aren’t too kind to females. But I also believe those songs are the reason Hip Hop is dead. Rappers need to get back to helping built up our communities, instead of helping to destroy it.

  37. Afromoose says:

    I agree w/ Agnes. Perhaps more unfortunate is the fact that BLACK men and women buy into these stereotypes as well. I am lurker on nappturality.com and have read threads where such opinions were expressed and provided as reasons as to why black women have low marriage rates, are single, or found undesirable. Suprising, considering that np women think they’re enlightened. I won’t even begin to delve into the grievances black men hold against black women. The problem isn’t black women, but racism. I just wish that everyone would understand that already. Something has got to change. However, no one wants to admit that there is a problem, so a solution will never be found.

  38. hey Bella,
    thanks for the post. i read somewhere today a comment made by Snoop regarding the term “hoes” as used by Imus. people have been comparing the statements he made to those made by hip hop artists today about women and Snoop had the nerve to say that he is offended by the comparison because when Hip Hop talks about h**s and b*****s they are talking about those women in the neighbourhood who are out to get a brothers money and out to ruin him and not talking about well educated sisters who are about taking care of themselves and bettering themselves.(the Rutgers girls)i was shocked that he misses the point entirely…. a woman regardless of her stage in life is not a h**, B***h or whatever other derogatory term he may think of. this justification of the names men call women today is why we are in the sorry state we are in with regards to hiphop. men will always say they are talking about those other women and not their mother. sister or daughter!!

  39. Unfortunately, the media (television/radio)has a lot of influence on all people from varies racial backgrounds. It bugs me that there are so many negative images of people of color. It’s harmful, especially to our children. Kids, and adults, need to see positive images and hear uplifting messages about people who look like them. Too many young girls are shaking their butts, thinking it’s cute. I even heard a mother tell her daughter to shake it and make mama some money. How crazy is that? Now, rappers and women both need to take responsibility of what’s being put out there. We as women can no longer allow men or other women to disrespect us. Women need to stop allowing themselves to be objectified and men need to start honoring us.
    I thought it was interesting when Luda said, in an interview, that he did not allow his daughter to listen to his music. Is that a double standard?

  40. White folks look at us and just laugh their heads off. Some of us are just plain ignorant. Snoop’s comment is a prime example.

    Snoop is almost forty years old. He no longer lives in the hood. His kids go to private school. As does Dr. Dre’s kids, Ja Rules, etc. None of these brothas live in the hood anymore they all live in predominantly white neighborhoods. Yet, they only talk about bitches, hos, weed smoking, gang banging and violence. Snoops albums have the same content they had 17 years ago. He doesn’t live around these bitches & hos whom he profits from.

  41. I used to love hip hop when I was younger. Lately, I’ve been filling up my mp3 player with some stuff I hadn’t heard in a long time. So, I threw on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic on there. The beats are great, but the lyrics are just plain dumb. It didn’t take long to realize what garbage the album is. I’m amazed that The Chronic is considered to be one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time. Googlize “best hip hop albums”. And The Chronic is on list after list. Then look up the lyrics. I’ll give you a snippet and this is from the chorus…

    Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks
    Lick on deez nutz and suck the d*ck

    Take the big egos, the getting high, making money, degrading women, homophobia, etc out of rap and you’re not left with much.

    So, here is my question for you. Give your props. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE HIP HOP ARTISTS THAT ACTUALLY STAY AWAY FROM THE CONTENT I MENTIONED ABOVE? Would you put Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul? I’m curious what you think? We’ve outed some garbage. Who’s good?

  42. Your open letter was right on time. I literally JUST finished a HEATED argument on the issue of the double-standard with a male friend before I logged on. Needless to say, the convo ended with one person hanging up the phone on the other. :-/ I agree with everything you said, and I’m glad to see that SOMEONE SEES WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!! Thanks for the positivity :-)

  43. Hey bella…sorry hon just getting back to the site. When I said there’s some alternative/rock that’s worse than the raunchiest rap on a good day I’m talking about those songs which send out satanic vibes and are telling their listeners to kill, do bodily harm (ie Marilyn Manson, some Nirvana, Terminal Rain, Exmortis, etc). These artists are brought up then dropped again once the uproar cools down.

    As a community we can talk all day about the issues in rap music. There’s issues with everything now. We have to be realistic in knowing that we are not going to eradicate rap music. What we have to do again as you said bella is create a balance. There’s no Teen Summit anymore, nothing for our children to look up to and get social/societal insights. Where are all the programs we had when I was growing up (not that long ago as I just turned 30)? Why aren’t there any new programs being started? Why isn’t BET being marched on because all they seem to play is videos (basically except for Wayans Bros, Jamie Foxx and Living Color). How many different video shows can you have?

  44. Bella, I don’t know how you feel about Christian and inspirational hip hop. But it is out there if you want to check it…www.hiphopforthesoul.com and http://www.rapzilla.com.

    there are plenty of other sites, but those are a good place to start.

  45. I can say I agree with everything here. I have a love hate relationship with hip hop. I love the culture because I’m essentially apart of if. I was born when hip hop was born and came of age when it came of age. I remember the “golden era” from about 89-96. I do hate some of what the rap element has to offer. My issue is though, and I know it will be unpopular, is that people are blaming rap music and hip hop for some the problems Black people have, however these problems where here already.
    Some may say its because of rappers young girls are shaking there asses at 12, no its because of the parents or lack of parenting that 12 year old girls are shaking there asses, thinking the Whisper Song is cute. Or young men want to be a “go getter” like Young Jezzy and R Kelly. Parents need to work on being the #1 influence in their children’s lives and show them this is NOT the way to live or behave. I think its up to us parents to teach our children right from wrong and also teach them the difference between whats real and what isn’t. No 4 year old child should be able to quote Young Joc word for word but can’t spell their name. Is that Young Joc’s fault or Diddy’s fault? No its the fault of the parent. But that also doesn’t mean we can’t demand change from our entertainers. Because for the children that don’t have strong parental influence they are their role models. However, rappers or hip hop music aren’t responsible for our children, we are.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I love this post and indeed the list is endless. One that particularly irks me is Buy you a drank. Seriously, no you cannot buy me a DRINK if you speak like that!

  47. I loathe most,if not all rap music and it is making me loathe Black men.(I do loathe Black men.)I just cannot believe so many Black women try to defend them.

  48. please read Wise Intelligent blog on myspace music about “an intelligent point of view Don ‘I Mus’ say…..” he brings to light issues of why many great artists who are talking about uplifting and intelligent music are not played mainstream and shows that rap and hip hop does not have to degregate women in the process

  49. I think we should follow Rutger’s coach C. Vivian Stringer’s lead and make this argument not just about Don Imus, Not just about hip-hop, not just about the entertainment industry, or about black women–if we do that, we leave a whole lot of people out of a very important conversation: how American society has grown increasingly coarse and hateful. Post 9-11, America had a brief window of time in which to unite and really take a moment to examine our place in this world and how to relate to each other. It didn’t take more that 6-7 months before we were back to business as usual. Then everybody started to get all “extra”–”ghetto” parties, racial attacks, degrading content in the media, etc. began increasing at an alarming rate. We are at a crossroads and if we don’t start taking thesee kinds of things seriously (man or woman, black white, whatever) it will surely be our downfall. Switching gears, I, too, was appalled when songs like “The Whisper Song” and “Getting Some” were played on mainstream radio. Back in the day, if you wanted to hear “Throw that D—” or “Freaks of the Industry” or the latest Luke jam, you had to go to the club for that. Now I see young fathers driving around with their 3 year olds in their carseats blasting these songs. I think that is where the problem really lies.

  50. Nicole: I loathe most,if not all rap music and it is making me loathe Black men.(I do loathe Black men.)I just cannot believe so many Black women try to defend them.

    Nichelle: Don’t fall into that trap. I think Niki (@ April 14, 2:16pm) makes some good points about American society growing increasingly more hateful.

    That said, here’s my take on it:

    http://55secretstreet.typepad.com/anovelista/2007/04/the_weary_blues_1.html

  51. Nichelle, your article is a fantastic read, and I learned A LOT from it. Bellas, definitely click on Nichelle’s link, it will open your eyes. I was JUST listening to Tupac bash the hell out of C. Delores Tucker on one of his tracks, too. Now I’m rethinking everything.

  52. Thanks Bella.

    It’s really hard avoiding a lot of rap with good music because the lyrics are so vile. No one is perfect, but is it really that hard NOT to be so degrading?

    Oprah is having townhall meetings on the Imus debacle and tomorrow, the rap community will respond. Common and Russell Simmons have been named as guests so far.

    I’m immediately apprehensive because I have the feeling that these things will happen:

    1. A lot of lip service is going to be paid to the degrading images/lyrics and chalked up to the rappers just “expressing” what they feel and see everyday.

    2. Black women as a whole will be blamed for the black women that choose to perpetuate the bitch/ho image – either as rappers/singers themselves or willfully participating in videos. Since they elect to do this, it’s as if other black women don’t have the right to complain.

    Remember the Spelman women? Why aren’t black women lumped in with them more instead of the women who elect to do videos?

    3. The whole thing will be dumped in the lap of white people.

    Yes, racism is alive. Yes, Don Imus is responsible for what he said. Imus is also responsible for every other vile, racist thing he’s said for the last 30 years. Did you know that Howard Stern was once his intern? Ignoring him wasn’t doing the trick because look at what he spawned.

    My issue as far as we (black people) are concerned is that we will not hold our own accountable. If we do, we are being “disloyal,” and I find that troubling.

  53. Hi Bella, I just found this article over at racialicious.com. Seems like some really BIG wigs of the industry were gathered. I wonder what, if anything, came of the meeting?
    http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/scandals/imus_fallout_russell_simmons_hiphop_and_record_industry_leaders_call_closeddoor_meeting_in_new_york_57260.asp

  54. Well, here’s some good music to listen to if the regular ‘ole hip hop is getting you down.It’s not all perfect, but it’s alot better than the “popular” stuff…

    Download Lavish Magazine’s FREE summer music mix:
    http://www.zshare.net/download/lavishbrooklynsummer1-m4a.html

    1. Roy Ayers- Searching
    2. Harlem River Drive- Bobbi Humphrey
    3. Mos Def- Universal Magnetic
    4. Lilly Allen- Smile
    5. Fela Kuti- Lady
    6. Ladies Love Cool Jay- Around The Way Girl
    7. Talib Kweli- The Blast
    8. Babel Gilberto-Céu Distante (DJ Spinna Mix)
    9. Zhané- Hey Mr. DJ
    10. Faith Evans- Lucky Day
    11. Shakara- Fela Kuti
    12. Bonga- Sa Ka Mache
    13. Magali- Source Band ft. Abdoulaye Diabaté
    14. Senegalese Mbalax
    15. Senegalese Mbalax
    16. Les Nubians- Sourire
    17. Gregory Isaacs- Rude Boy Dub
    18. Collie Budz- Come Around
    19. Dead Prez- Hip Hop
    20. DJ Cam- Mad Blunted Jazz
    21. The Roots- Proceed
    22. HiTek w/ Mos Def ft. Vida- Det ta Steppin’
    23. Tribe Called Quest- Find A Way
    24. John Legend- Heaven

    http://www.zshare.net/download/lavishbrooklynsummer1-m4a.html
    http://www.lavishmagonline.com

  55. l love your article!!!

  56. I truly love the beat of the music but the words can be so meaningless. Give it to me with some real meaning and I will be happy.

  57. you all kill me. okay, so when the rap videos stop, your kids are gonna be left with slutty looking white women to watch on videos, like britney spears. your kids watch miley and she has a grown ass boyfriend. you trust oprah an she been living in sin with that man for years. how children perceive themselves, should be based on values learned at home. so while you sit and judge rapper’s for your lack of parenting skills, stay at home your damn self an raise your own children instead of letting the television an radio do it for your lazy asses. now as martin(the comedian) said, run tell that! i’m out.

  58. Here’s a 2 year late reply but I feel I have to say something.

    You obviously aren’t searching hard enough to find good hip hop.

    Here’s some contemporary hip hop you will enjoy. Great productions and even greater lyrics:

    CunninLynguists – 2006 – A Piece of Strange
    Atmosphere – God Loves Ugly
    Saul Williams – Saul Williams & Niggy Tardust (2 albums) < the guy is an actual poet, he really writes poetry and reads it out in cafe's
    Brother Ali – The Undisputed Truth
    Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass < I admit I can't follow a word this guy is saying. Even after reading the lyrics
    Dälek – 2004 – Absence < VERY experimental, you might not even like it. It's basically noise which slowly turns into a beat. The more you listen to it the more you will learn to appreciate it. The lyrics however are hardhitting and true. Mostly they're about society.
    Sene – A Day Late and A Dollar Short
    Atmosphere – God Loves Ugly
    MC Hawking's Greatest Hits – A Brief History of Rhyme < a guy uses the computervoice MC Hawking uses to rap about religion. Antireligious and pro science rap, VERY original stuff in the hip hop scene.
    El-P – I'll Sleep When You're Dead
    P.O.S – Ipecac Neat
    MF DOOM and all his alter ego's < raps about nonsense and cartoons. Very weird, but much appreciated by everyone because of his sillyness. In some songs he doesn't care about the rhythm and just keeps rapping on and on about weird metaphores.

    Jedi Mind Tricks: Rapper Vinnie Paz can unusually aggressive, misogynistic and anti-catholic on all the club bangers, but the songs that are serious are really REALLY good. Check out these lines from I Who Have Nothing, they're very clever:

    "Intersections in real time
    The unbroken circles and dimensions of the mind
    The tie that binds
    The eternal tie that defines
    The vanity of my insanity in due time
    Will shine
    Like the night seas under the moon
    The haunted corners of familiar rooms
    Yet i'm consumed
    With vanishing into thin air
    The realization that this shit is my cross to bare
    So where
    Did I think I could run away to see
    The people that decided to leave without asking me"

    As far as female lyricists are concerned.. I don't know a lot but I do know that YOU know about Ladybug of Digable Planets fame. There's also Dessa from Minneapolis' Doomtree label.

    P.O.S is on that label too, and he's easily the biggest artist there. Doomtree works a lot with Rhymesayers, the label Atmosphere and Brother Ali are signed to. As far as labels go, be sure to check out the above mentioned, Definite Jux, and QN5 (Tonedeff and CunninLynguists are on that one)

    Here are some youtube clips to help you on the way. These are not all on the mentioned albums though, the albums I listed are considered the best (or my favourites)

    Also be sure on the lookout for Pharoahe Monch, from Organized Konfusion fame. He still puts out quality stuff.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8zwE3qkhTA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEZseJ1Wuq8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fS_Q2l7YEU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeiA8EhQTws
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxUQ07NXB4c
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DIK7QFtQjQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyjmt0Llrz8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n02rLKw_jtY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEBGCOCxLgA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GozVJluWbp4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77vCx_J9YyQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89jt7zJzkNQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCMCiokExJk

    I want to say Atmosphere and CunninLynguists are my favourite artists, also outside hip hop (I listen to a shitton of different genres). They're the ones who grew the most from the time they started. I've seen both groups live and it was great. People actually start pits with this kind of hip hop, and it's great when the rappers jump in with the crowd and give YOU, the fan a rough push deeper into the madness of the pit. :)

    Please email me back if you happen to read this and tell me what you think! Take your time too :) I've just realized how much stuff I've typed down. PFFFFFFFF

  59. I have recorded a few songs but we are not registered yet we are still looking for a record deal.I hope sincerly you will provide

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