Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hip-hop Vs. Hip-POP

Hip-hop in the nature of the threat of capitalism is a problem that is not new to the culture. Venture capitalists such as Viacom, MTV, and BET have come into the hip hop culture and turned it into a cash cow. What a lot of people do not seem to realize about hip-hop is that it is much more than music, it is a culture. Break dancing, graffiti, and turntablism are the 3 other corresponding elements of the hip-hop culture that are often forgotten and misinterpreted. It has always been a truly interesting thing to me to see how conglomerate companies like Viacom could take a culture as raw as the day it was birthed in the streets of New York City, and strip down the music into a minstrel entertainment ground for the current generation that are now in there growing teenage and elementary years. But, the so-called genre of hip-hop that is portrayed through the mediums of radio and TV airwaves to the youth is what I like to call “hip-pop.” The whole message in the music has been lost; you now can turn on your television set to MTV or BET (both owned by the same conglomerate, Viacom) and see the 21st century minstrel show for yourself. This diamond-laden jewelry that these cats worship and exalt so highly looks like an iced-out noose and shackles to me. The overly-gaudy clothing that these cats rock shuckin’ and juvin’ on the television sets looks like the stereotype of the Zip Coon here to entertain the middle-class white kids that consume 70 percent of hip-pop albums.
Viacom has stripped down the true hidden message of upbringing, pride, and self-awareness that was birthed and installed into the true essence of hip-hop music. Since Viacom and Clear Channel damn near own all of the television and radio stations in this country, they control the mainstream music market. Why would they distribute hip-hop music with a higher message and purpose when they can keep the youth in disarray and brainwashed with the minstrel show rappers out now? Exactly; it’s a huge cash cow to them. What sense does it make to be a “hip-pop” artist when you do not have the control over what can be placed on your album? The more ignorant the music gets, the more ignorant the youth become. Hip-hop music is a huge influence on people’s lives (our youth’s especially); as long as hip-hop artists still allow themselves and their talent to be stripped down and glittered up in the ridiculous jewelry, hip-hop will forever in Nasir Jones’ words be dead. But, to me, it will never be dead; it’s just on life support. Support the independent hip-hop music movement.
Kevin Robinson, Jr.

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