YOU DON'T KNOW SHIT ABOUT HIP HOP!...But I Love You! by Wise Intelligent
Today I took a trip to our local Barnes & Noble book
seller. As I progressed towards the section for alternative medicine and home
remedies I passed what seemed to be an unending plethora of literature on
subjects ranging from War, Peace, Love, Hate, Horror, the Military, Serial
Killers, Arts and Crafts, and Travel and Leisure. There were books on the
history of Guns and Violence, Poverty and Hunger, Sickness and Disease, as well
as Prostitution, Pimping, Feminism, LBGTQ and every sort of religious book the
imagination could fathom. There were books on Capitalism, Communism, and
Fascism. Some books promoting and others opposing either of the three
ideological forms of government. They even had a well stocked children’s
section. I walked past everything from Politics to Poetry and Self Help to Sexuality.
Then there were books about music: Spirituals, Opera, Classical, Blues, Jazz,
Rock & Roll and even Hip Hop. There were Hip Hop books written by writers
of varying backgrounds, social statuses and ethnicities, including, but not
limited to Bakari Kitwana - one of my personal favorites.
Not only did each book have a different author, each author also had a
publisher, and each publisher was a company often owned or the subsidiary of
another larger parent company. Barnes & Noble, among other book retailers,
and the endless shelves of writers, publishers and publishing houses (both
independent and commercial; mainstream or underground, mom & pop or chain)
make up the world of LITERATURE!
Within this wonderful world of literature there exists the Literatures of
Freedom as well as the Literatures of exploitation, degradation, racism, sexism
and other forms of unabashed mind fuckery. However, that bookstore,
publisher and or publishing house carrying a book called “Pimp’s Up Ho’s
Down” by Don Magic Juan, or a book that glorifies strippers and stripping
at Diamond’s in Miami, does not make “LITERATURE” the
“abuser” of women. It makes those individual authors and those
particular books - what they are.
No one would go as far as to say that “to be in love with Literature”
is to “love your abuser.” I’ve never known anyone who made the
intellectual leap that since you can find the mass exploitation of women in the
pages of a book, magazine, and or periodical that books, magazines, and or
periodical’s themselves “abuse women” or “hate women” or
“exploit women”. To read is not to love your abuser. Is the
exploitation of women real, you damn right!!! Must the exploitation of women be
called out and confronted, hell yeah!!! But to say that to love Hip Hop in all
its diversity is to “love your abuser” takes this must needed and
important conversation in an unfortunate and sterile direction.
Hip Hop is like LITERATURE, it covers everything from politics,
religion, history, race, triumph, struggle, victory, defeat, melancholy, humor,
relationships, love, hate, sex, drugs, friendship, pimping, party,
intelligence, ignorance, and bullshit. And just like Literature - misogyny,
hyper masculinity, sex, money and murder make up a very small but hyper
marketed fraction of Hip Hop content.
To cast misogyny and hyper masculinity as what Hip Hop culture is all about in
its entirety without any thought be given to the fact that the 10 to 20
misogynistic lyric purveying rap acts you see and hear in corporate controlled
mainstream mediums represent a very particular brand of rap content selectively
sought out, financed, recorded, produced, packaged, marketed and distributed by
primarily but not exclusively NON-HIP HOP, rich white men over fifty (see Sony
BMG, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group) - is indicative of someone
who has a limited perspective and grasp about the culture of Hip Hop. If this
is what you’re doing, I have to honestly say that, YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT
HIP HOP is a culture wherein there exist elements of which rap music represents
only one. Rap represents only one-fifth of what Hip Hop culture is, and within
that single element there exists writers, producers and publishers of varying
brands of Hip Hop/rap content. Hip Hop/Rap can only be your “abuser”
if and when your perception of what Hip Hop is has been shaped by the major
record company owning, mainstream media controlling rich old white men who
DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT HIP HOP! and have chosen to ignore (and in some cases
block) the thousands of Hip Hop artists around the globe recording music that
consistently hold the people to a higher standard and in their proper esteem,
from the mediums you obviously receive your cultural ques from.
SO, WHAT I SUGGEST is that you turn your dial passed the “Put Ya Titties
On Da Glass” and “These Ho’s Ain’t Loyal” songs that many women
love to dance and sing along to in the club, just as you would walk passed the
Don Magic Juan diamond studded, pimp-cup decorated book signing table and
proceed to the section that has the brand of Literature (or Hip Hop content)
THAT “NIGGA” RAPPIN about you swallowing his babies
and jizzing on your babies car seat is largely supported by the same female
buying audience that decries it only after they’ve left the club and their car!
A portion of this conversation must address that fact that women actively BUY
that small but heavily marketed misogynistic and hyper masculine music. Those
emcee’s rhyming about “This Iz Love”, the “Black Goddess”
and the “Laws of Maat” are commercially and financially ignored at
the point of purchase by too many of the same women who desperately need to
hear and internalize their message of love, wisdom, strength and beauty. Those
emcee’s rapping about raising his babies and loving his wife, woman and queen,
is not in your mainstream playlist, neither your nightclub playlist or your
Smartphone playlist. That shit you love does not define HIP HOP CULTURE or what
I am NOT going in the direction of blaming the victim or trying
to undermine the point that the exploitation of women in mainstream pop culture
is a serious cancer that must be dealt with openly and honestly, but I am
saying that suggesting that to love Hip Hop as a culture is to “love your
abuser” is completely wrong. The shit that you’re callin Hip Hop
“culture” represents a manufactured, dumbed down, hyper
marketed, hyper masculine rapper who makes up less than a speck of dust within
the mosaic of rap music and even less in the constellation of Hip Hop CULTURE!
So sadly, You don’t know shit about Hip Hop!…but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOU!!!
Here goes a small list of the MC’s and Rappers who seem to be
always “forgotten” when this discussion comes up. In other words
these are the Hip Hop artists that they won’t play on your misogynic and hyper
masculine media platforms and don’t get brought up when talking about loving
Hip Hop is like loving your abuser!
Sa-Roc the MC
Never Say Never
5,400,000 + BMG Music Sales
Influenced by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, Norwood wanted to present a more mature facet of herself with the album, incorporating a ballad-heavy style and an adult contemporary feel into her urban-pop sound for the album.
Upon its release, Never Say Never facilitated Norwood in becoming a viable recording artist with media–crossing appeal. It debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 160,000 copies in its first week, the next week it manged to climb up a spot to #2 with another week of strong sales with 152,000 and remained 28 weeks within top 20 of the chart.
The album was supported by Brandy’s Never Say Never World Tour in 1999, which featured soldout performances in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Canada. Never Say Never is listed in the Top 100 Best-selling albums in the US.
Daryl Easlea from BBC Music felt that the collection of smooth, mid-paced jams provided a snapshot of commercial R&B from the era. He described Never Say Never “as the epitome of a mixed bag. However, given that a lot of R&B in the late 90s sounds like an ornate musical box revolving, the album is an intelligent brew that deviates sufficiently from that template and plays to Brandy and executive producer Rodney Jerkins’s considerable strengths.”
The Spokesman-Review critic Richard Harrington was positive with the album, writing: “Brandy is co- writer on six of the album’s 14 songs and no matter their achievement lyrically, she finds herself grown-up and confident, without taking any false steps.
Rolling Stone magazine was generally positive with the album, giving it three stars out of five stars rating, and wrote: “Brandy exudes more pizazz than the Hanson brothers combined and bursts with enough naive charm to make Jewel look like a jaded sailor. Her second album bubbles with that same effervescence
There’s currently 3-4 major record labels in the music industry, and they account for about 75% of music sales. These labels are Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Warner Music Group. So, if you’re boycotting Sony Music Entertainment because of #FreeKesha, know that you’ll have limited music choices, but here’s some minor labels with great artists you can listen to. (throughout doing my research, I was actually surprised how many minor record labels had famous musicians. But please note, some of the very famous musicians on this list no longer work with minor record labels & moved to bigger companies/retired/are dead/whatever).
•Melanie Martinez, Bruno Mars, Led Zeppelin, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, AC/DC, Skrillex, Rolling Stones, Paramore (?), & many more
Fueled By Ramen
•twenty one pilots, Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Maroon 5, & more
•Chvrches, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, & much more
Equal Vision Records
•Pierce the Veil, We Came as Romans, I the Mighty, the Dear Hunter, & more
Dim Mak Records
•The Chainsmokers, Zedd, Steve Aoki, Borgore, & a ton of other EDM artists
Neon Gold Records
•Mariana and the Diamonds, Elie Goulding, Foxes, the Sound of Arrows, and a few more
•Lady Gaga, Far East Movement, LMFAO, Natalia Kills, & more
•Selena Gomez, Eminem, Madonna, Katy Perry, & more
Hollywood Records (Disney)
•Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Jonas Brothers, etc. (please note many of these celebrities have moved onto different recording labels)
Strange Music Inc.
•my friend really likes hip hop music and she told me to put this on the list
Run for Cover Records
•Tigers Jaw, Basement, Turnover, Title Flight, & a couple of others
Two Steps From Hell
•this is actually a music production company, but they’ve made music for Harry Potter, X-Men, and Pirates of the Caribbean
(please feel free to add more, correct me, and anything else. and as I said before, these might not be 100% accurate, and are subject to change).