Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"When I grow up, I wanna be a rapper!"

How many dudes from my generation have muttered these words more than a few times as a youth:

"When I grow up, I wanna be a rapper!"

Now, this was 25-30 some odd years ago, long before the evolution of rampant ignorance that's upon us now. Yes, there once existed a day when rap music, of all things, was considered a somewhat educational experience. It taught us what our teachers couldn't, & things our parents wouldn't. I'm sure that sounds unbelievable to anybody under the age of 21, but, my right hand to God, its true.

Imagine for a second, if you will, a person rapping because he had legitimate gripes about the ills of society. Something other than the requisite "F**k The Police" propoganda, or how "B**ches Ain't S**t". And that same cat explaining to you the importance of self knowledge & brotherly love. Even harder to believe(?!), there was an era when the LESS jewelry you wore, the more respect you got.

*youngsters picking up their jaws*

Once upon a time, guns were aimed at "the man" & his wicked "establishment", both designed for the demise of our people (particularly black, but most minorities were welcome). Self-hate & loathing were signs of weakness, & quickly smothered under the fist of brotherhood revolt. This generation of unsung rap avengers were viewed as the proverbial threat to the mainstream lifestyle the world had become so accustomed to. So I guess, to a certain extent, the "F**k The Police" mantra was appropriate at the time. But nevertheless, it was the total opposite of the verbiage we are so relentlessly bombarded with at present.

Not to take anything away from today's voices, but a lot of the music today is a tad bit, umm, ridiculous in comparison. Of course, perspective is key when making such an observation. If there's no lust for knowledge, the lack of it is not at all important. & vice versa, of course. The young people whose opinions dictate what's hot or not don't have that thirst that existed a mere 20 years ago. Which, is neither good nor bad, but just extremely different from the music my age bracket was brought up on. Nowadays, you have rappers publicly saying that they're too cool to read books.


Some MC's have gone on record acknowleding how intelligent they actually are, then admittingly "dumbing down" their music for the sake of popularity & stellar soundscan numbers. God forbid some easily influenced teenybopper takes any of their flimsy rhetoric seriously, & think that life's really all about "money, cars, hoes".

"I'm glad I'm not a rapper."

Seems like a lot of weight to bear. Too much responsibility for the average Joe Schmoe who just gets a kick out of keen phonetic construction. Far be it from me to take it so serious that I realize my every word could be either severly scruntinized or undauntingly hung-on. Aside from the moral standpoint of being a semi-role model, it just seems like the most dangerous job to have. The qualifications needed alone put up a "red flag":

*Some sort of criminal activity (past or present)
*Gunshot wounds (preferrably several, & life threatening)
*affiliation to some reputed street/prison gang
*dozens of people to protect you at all times
*street credibility (a must!!)

The list gets more in-depth, but there's barely a slot for "posesses talent", & if its on there, its near the bottom. Right above "breathes" & "needs food to survive".

As of late, many rappers have been the target of robberies (strong arm, home invasion, etc), & that seems to be a lot of stress, & very uneccessary when all I want to do is rock the mic &/or move the crowd.

It reminds me of the house party phenomenon that took place in L.A. around the early 1990's. At first, a kid would be throwing a house party, hand out flyers at the Fox Hills Mall, & have the end-all shindig the following Saturday. That scenario became the one guy the guest of honor didn't recognize being rejected at the door, only to return with a baker's dozen of dudes & shooting the party up. Innocent fun gave way to homicidal death traps. Kids went from doing the Kid'n'Play, to bottlenecking at the frontdoor, trying to escape premature expiration.

"If the party's not at Chuck E. Cheese's, you won't catch my a** there."

The violence only seems to be getting worse, with some rappers opting to use monikers that start or end with "Murder", "Killer", & think that it's okay. Imagine a 5 year old boy at Halloween asking his mom for an "Uncle Kill M. All" costume, or reciting the latest lyrics from "MC Murder-Man"'s new single. Kind of shocking, if only a little bit.

With the growth of the internet, & the ravenous tenure of the paparazzi, there's no privacy for superstars, rap or otherwise.

"So, you mean to tell me that if I decided to get dressed up, complete with $200,000 worth of jewelry on, you guys will know my every move & all my where-abouts?"

No thanks.

"My $500,000 car, with the $100,000 rims on it that I brag about so much, is in every magazine on the newsstands, & on every website?"

It's no wonder rappers don't let the world see their children's faces. That would be a Mexican Mafia-style ransom kidnapping waiting to happen.

This is in no way an attempt to stamp out some young hopeful's future. I'm just saying I'm glad I'm not a rapper. I'm much more comfortable hearing (as opposed to performing) the music in the safety of my little house, in my mediocre car, with $100.00 rims on it.


k.coleman brown said...

This is the best blog I've seen thus far! Amen Brotha Amen!!! I'm definitely and avid music lover but mostly a fan of the art. This circus BS they putting out now is not for the love of music but for the fattening of the pockets. And these kids who are being raised by BET and MySPace don't know the difference between the real and the right now. Plies is your perfect example! have you heard this cat TALK!!!! then listen to him rap! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I'm over it!

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