“Well-Paid Slaves” ?

[Hip Hop is Everywhere]

“Hip Hop culture is just like electricity. It can be used negatively or positively, but the same electric current that lights up your house can also electrocute you. It is the misuse of hip-hop culture that is used to attack our women and promote violence. We must encourage the proper use of our Hip Hop culture…”
– Civil Rights Leader, Reverend Al Sharpton (JET online)

I often think about why so many people have given up on Hip Hop and why many parents often associate it with gangbangers, promiscuous activity, and violent or deviant behaviors. Then the reality of it all settles in every time, that so many mainstream artists sell this exact image every day. Regardless of however many lyrically talented underground or mainstream artists there may be, hip hop has a certain stigma of being regarded as a genre of which its main focus seems to constantly revolve around this “money grubbing”, ‘thug life’, ‘b*tches, hoes, & tricks” lifestyle. Only on rare events does mainstream media publicize underground artists advocating for the awareness and hopefully the prevention of artists who use this industry strictly for a financial gain, bragging rights to earn street cred for their violence in the streets or other stereotypical reasons.

"Visualizin' the realism of life and actuality,

F*ck who's the baddest

A person's status depends on Salary" -A.Z.

“Don’t let some record executive tell you that cursing out your mama is in style. Anytime you perpetuate a slave mentality that desecrates women and that desecrates our race in the name of a record…I consider you a well-paid slave”. Along with the opening quote, recorded during a summit where he was joined by some of the industry’s superstars such as RZA, Master P, and Chuck D. Sharpton continues to illustrate the demeaning nature of artists who have “sold out” the industry

An example of a mainstream artist who has fallen in love with the idea of sampling or being inspired by other artists, but doesn’t necessarily rap about similar, less demeaning topics, is none other than Lil’ Wayne. Years after Outkast released “Jazzy belle”, the third single off of their album ATLiens, a song idolizing the female and “her temple”, Lil’ Wayne decided to spit his two cents over the original beat and took it on a wide turn in the opposite direction. While the original Outkast lyrics explain how a “Queen” should never be a hoe, and how this lifestyle is only a result they brought upon themselves, Lil’ Wayne’s rap utilizes the female body as an object in his song “Pussy, Money, Weed”. The title itself is the reason why so many people have such negativity towards Hip Hop, rather than staying open minded to the positivity it can bring to a person’s life.

Outkast: “Went from yellin crickets and crows,

b*tches and hoes, to Queen thangs”


LilWayne: “Sexual healing, I can be her religion.

And now shes kneeling, praying to the ceiling”

Although several artists choose the stereotypical lifestyle of a hip hop artists, there are still the "Godsends" who would rather educate their listeners about the realities of life. These artists exemplify a community of artists whose purpose isn’t to solely make money, but to spread their love for knowledge and growth amongst the masses. These are the artists who take Hip Hop by the reigns and help steer it down the more positive, lyrically valuable road.

Bad News Barnes -Blu (Lyrics below found at 1:27)

“Get a life ‘fore you get a mic

And get real ‘fore you get killed

Cause if you’re living like a slob at your mom’s and

You’re like 25

No job and you’re trying to get a deal

Most likely when you get one

All you’re about to do is kick dumb sh*t to young kids about how

Rims make the world go round

And how hoes are your homegirls now

And if you ask me that sh*t’s done

So go drown with that (bad news)”

P.s. Some of the songs used were suggested by my boyfriend, Charles Ignacio, during a discussion we were having the other day (:


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