Thursday, December 15, 2005

Indie Hip-Hop

By: Jose Andrade, Age 19

“You can find me in the club, bottle full of Bud… I'm into having sex, I ain't into making love …so come give me a hug if you into getting rubbed… When I pull out up front, you see the Benz on dubs…when I roll 20 deep, its 20 knives in the club” . . . and the song continues, rapped by 50 cent from his hit “In Da Club” on his best selling record ‘Get Rich or Die Trying'.

Sure enough, many who read these lyrics will conclude that they are violent and demeaning to women. To have a better understanding of Rap music, which originates from Hip-Hop, one must try to have a comprehensive understanding of it as a whole and all its transformations. Rap used to be created for the love of the music.

Now the music industry has capitalized on it and created a formula that helps records sell. Unfortunately, the formula calls for a “gangsta” image, jewelry and dehumanizing women.

And it’s not the record executives or producers who are looked down upon, instead its rap music in general, and Black and Latino people in general.

Hip-Hop is really the progression of an underground culture that was created about 25 years ago. A culture that evolved from a neglected and civil rights deprived generation. This was the generation whose fathers had been part of the civil rights movement and revolutionary movement of the sixties and seventies.

These inner city New York kids invented some of the elements of Hip-Hop which are beat-boxing, break-dancing, graffiti art, rap or MCing, and DJing. Hip-Hop was community oriented; you could go to the club and see break dancers and rappers working the crowd. That was Hip-Hop. The love for the music and creativity was what Hip-Hop was supposed to be.

Corporate American began to monopolize when the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper's Delight” sold 2 million records. America had just found a new pot and ethnic group to exploit.

In Hip-Hop, there’s a separation in the rap element; Commercial Rap vs. Underground Rap.

“I wanted to spit on the radio since I was eleven/ But I can't afford the pay for Hot 97's”. This is from the song Positive Balance
which was written by Immortal Technique an underground rapper and community activist in Harlem, New York.

This is a common occurrence in Hip-Hop; if you don’t have the money and corporate monopolizing on your behalf then you don’t get radio play. America is listening to a pseudo-rap that is about generating hate and advocating for violence.

“I would like to send a
message to all the underground emcee’s out there, working hard, the time has come to realize you're being networked in a market so stop being a f**king commodity,” Immortal Techniques warns underground rappers.

What transforms underground rappers is necessity. They see that commercial rappers are making millions selling fictitious songs over candy beats to the public when they are only making a couple pennies a month. This temptation is what is giving Hip-Hop as whole a bad name.

So the next time someone tells you that rap or Hip-Hop is bad, remember to tell that person that a lot of what's on the radio is a fabricated cartoon of the real thing. We must encourage each other to find and support underground music and artists, or those who have made the big time, but are still keeping it real.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you.I think that you make a good point about music being made a certain way, i really hate hate how artist haven't been paying much attention to their content but just thier image. Keep up the good writing

December 28, 2005 7:34 PM  

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