Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

can’t knock the hustle?

jay_z_001_110507

my parents love to impress me with their contemporary urban (heh) music knowledge. there isn’t a week that passes without them telling me about an npr piece they recently listened to about the connection between japan and wu-tang or how “someone called brown thinking or something from the roots” is featured on their new santana cd.

they then chide that they know more about “my” music than i know about theirs, and to prove their point they’ll play some obscure pat metheny track and shake their heads when i can’t tell them what album its from.

so, it wasn’t a surprise last weekend when my dad jokingly asked “how come you weren’t down with jay-z and the rocafella crew? we’d all be millionaires with bentleys now” after seeing a jay-z commercial at halftime of the steeler game last weekend. apparently, he’d just read some article somewhere about jay-z’s vast influence and empire and wanted to show off his newfound knowledge

well, he and everyone else in his circle is like 40 and from new york city, so we’d have to mess with the space-time continuum for that to happen” i replied, adding,

“plus, i would have had to deal drugs too“.

“huh?”

“yeah. him and most of the rest of his crew sold drugs before they got into music.”

oh, like biggie? ok. well, as long as he’s doing something good with his life now, i won’t begrudge him for being a corner boy or something when he was much younger. we all make mistakes.

“eh. actually he wasn’t just a corner boy. from what i understand he was more barksdale than bodie, and actually made quiet a fortune doing it.”

“oh. is that right?”

“yup”

“did he ever go to prison or anything like fiddy cent?”

***yes. he actually said “fiddy“. between this and the biggie comment, i’m now convinced my parents have a subscription to the source ***

“not that i know of, at least not for a significant time.”

“well, did he at least make some songs about dangers of that lifestyle, to dissuade anyone from trying to emulate him?”

“nah. in fact he brags for maybe five albums straight about how great of a drug dealer and pimp he was. his rap empire is practically based on that”

“oh.”

(pause)

“no remorse at all?”

“a couple songs here and there but not really.”

(another pause)

“thats very interesting, champ” my dad remarks, before leaving the living room to check on his pork roast.

for those not well-versed in champsdadspeak, him pausing, saying “thats very interesting, champ” and leaving is his way of saying

so, lemme get this straight: the person you all have anointed the king of rap was an unrepentant drug kingpin who’s made multi millions bragging about his fortune in blood money? your generation disgusts me. plus. how could you, an educator who’s lost at least 10 kids to drug violence, call this guy one of your favorite rappers?”

if he would have actually asked that question, i probably would have responded with some cliche about separating the man from the art, and i would have cited people like martin scorsese who produce violent films but are (rightly) thought of and lauded as geniuses. i probably would have also mentioned something about the kennedy’s making good out of a criminal past, that we all have demons, and how we can’t judge how truly repentant someone is…and it all would have been bullsh*t.

in hindsight, i’m glad he walked away and didn’t ask because i’ve never really thought about how stupid my answer sounds.

maybe i should start.

—the champ

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • charli skipp

    my momma has had a crush on jay z ever since she saw him perform at inauguation. “that’s a baaaaaaaaaaad thang right there,” she says. but, like your father, she has a romanticized view of him. whenever she sees him now she’s like, “where is his suit at!?” and when i spread the rumor to her about him getting mad at beyonce for disagreeing with kanye her response was something like, “oh heeeeeeeeeeeeeeells no. she done married the WRONG one.” still, though, i think she has a crush on him.

    • voiceovereason

      @charli skipp,

      “and when i spread the rumor to her…”

      Spreading rumors to your momma? Hahaha!

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        @voiceovereason,

        “Spreading rumors to your momma”

        definitely should be a title of a chitlin circuit play

        • Gem of the Ocean

          @The Champ,

          lol

          • Freaknik

            @Gem of the Ocean,

            LOL. Im dyin from that one.

        • fubych

          @The Champ,
          “chitlin circuit” should be one of the words/phrases buried with the other racist/ignorant words.

        • voiceovereason

          @The Champ,

          LOL. You’re right.

  • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Thuggie Luvvie

    Wait… WHAT?

    *confused by post*

    • charli skipp

      @Thuggie Luvvie,
      it reminds me of that tv show, “the wonder years.” idk. i just tried to roll with it. lol

    • Me fail english?

      @Thuggie Luvvie,

      lol. Good and interesting drop. But without the question prompts I’m not sure what I should be doing here…

      …pudding anyone?

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @Me fail english?,

        LOL, I know. I was Ctrl-F-ing for that dayum wrap-up question. That question leads us. We are lost without the question. The question is the Moses rod to our blog comments.

        • charli skipp

          @Cheekie,
          I just felt like this was meant to be the VSB existentialism post. What does it all mean. Why are we heeeeeeeeere? lol

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Me fail english?, amazing how if no question is asked, folks dont know what to do…

        • overit

          @Panama Jackson, vs be animal farm! lmao

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Thuggie Luvvie,

      confuse deez

      wait. nevermind. that sounds painful.

      • http://ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Big Man

        @The Champ,

        Hmmm, I wouldn’t call him unrepentant, just not ashamed about what he did.
        I mean, there are songs on every album Jay has dropped talking about how the hustling lifestyle has a whole host of problems. He’s basically admitted he was addicted to the thrill, and that he was reveling in genocide.

        But, he also admits that he had a great time doing it, and isn’t sure he would do anything different in his past.

        Seems like a fairly honest and normal response. I mean, I think fornication is wrong and look at the problems it caused my life, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to pretend that I didn’t enjoy it when I did it. Or that I’m positive that I would be able to resist the allure if I had a time machine. Seems like Jigga is a human being.

        • charli skipp

          @Big Man,
          You know what? I like this comment.

        • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

          @Big Man,

          “Seems like Jigga is a human being.”

          He’s a camel.

          • charli skipp

            @Cheekie,
            *devastated lil mama face*

  • http://thinkprettysmart.typepade.com Ms. Smart

    Ha!!! I think similar conversations are going on all over the world. My mother was quite disappointed to find out Biggie only have a couple of albums.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Ms. Smart,

      so was diddy, lol. just think how many biggie albums would have been posthumously produced if he was half as prolific as tupac?

      • http://lmbao.org Dorian G.

        @The Champ,

        U mean as willing to live in the booth like Pac. Pac gets all the props in the world for that cuz he started ni99as on staying in the booth and knocking out tracks.

  • http://naturallyalise.blogspot.com Naturally Alise

    As I get older I am starting to resent or be embarrassed about a lot of the rapper/rap music that I once was a proud stan of… like I can’t reconcile my love of the grittiest of rappers with my way of thinking now. The more I try to justify those likes the more ridiculous I feel/sound… so Champ I can relate….

    I feel old. “Growing up can be a pain…” (c) New Edition

    • Gem of the Ocean

      @Naturally Alise,

      i have the embarrassment. especially when talking to my parents about the music i like, used to like, and the general popular music artists (or so they call themselves) out these days.

      having these talks with my parentals def makes me do some soul searching.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Naturally Alise, you know, i have never had that problem. NWA is my favorite rap group of all time. period. jay is probably my favorite rapper (with a close or equaly second being Andre 3000). there is definitely no dearth of questionable (to say the least) content yet i feel no conflict within myself at what i love or my way of thinking. mostly b/c for me, they’re all able to co-exist. i think everything has context and if put in proper context its possible to still appreciate those things.

      now i may not blast my NWA album as loud as i used to when i see kids around or even ever listen to it around my own kid, but the music is still as good to me now as it was then.

      while there may be no real retort or way to justify to one’s parents the rapper role models, i mean, i love eazy e, but then again, i wouldnt even try to…its pretty indefensible.

      so i just say, i like what i like and i do what i want, i smoke crack in the bathroom.

  • MizThickaDenThick

    I thinnk the battle between old and young will continue forever b/c I find myself having the same convo’s with teens and im only 24.

    Why is it that people assume that just because you are an educator that your musical styles and tastes for different things alcohol should stop or change?!

    And my pastor tried me like two weeks ago on my T.I. knowledge. Wats up with that…SMH

    • Lili

      @MizThickaDenThick,

      You…..might wanna consider changing churches…

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Lili, i don’t know…T.I.’s “no matter what” was pretty inspirational.

        “what up, whats happenin’” on the other hand…not so much.

        center hill, cedar ave, that’s where i be suuuuuuuucka…

        • Lili

          @Panama Jackson,
          On the contrary, “What’s up, what’s happenin’” is a song that gets my adrenaline pumping and is a great workout song. I like it for road trips too.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @MizThickaDenThick,

      Why is it that people assume that just because you are an educator that your musical styles and tastes for different things alcohol should stop or change?!

      lol, because maybe they should.

  • RedBeanzNRice w/Poak Chops

    Did you ever think that maybe your dad walked away because he KNEW there would be no way you could justify it, and he KNEW your answer would be retarTed, so he wanted to spare you the agony of looking back on your retort with emBARE-ASSment? After all, parents know us better than we know ourselves no matter how much we try to deny it. (Yes, they knew about your secret porn stash, and the dead hooker in your trunk, but chose not to breach those subjects. ;))

    • Lili

      @RedBeanzNRice w/Poak Chops,

      “(Yes, they knew about your secret porn stash, and the dead hooker in your trunk, but chose not to breach those subjects. ;) )” <– a real fear of my, BTW. I think she did know :-O

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Lili, my boy’s mom came across his quite extensive pr0n stash one day. i was there.

        lots of awkward silence.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Panama Jackson,

          lol, my mom found my porn once…still in the vcr. she didnt say anything though, i just came home from school one day and found “baby got back 5″ sitting on my bed.

    • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

      @RedBeanzNRice w/Poak Chops,

      So true. When home once for break during college I took a pregnancy test. Now, mind you, I went through great lengths to hid that ish. Buying test late at night. Taking test in bathroom with the shower running. Wrapping evidence in plastic bag first and then in a sweatshirt and hiding it at the back of my dresser drawer until I was able to take it outside and toss it in the NEIGHBOR’S garbage.

      A few years ago, when I said I’d never had a pregnancy scare (having forgotten all about it), my mom asked: “what about that time you were home for Christmas break?”

      wth?

      *the test was neg. and I’ve never had that scare again. Thank God.*

      • http://www.singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Nicki Sunshine

        @V.E.G., And WOW. She’s psychic.

        • overit

          @Nicki Sunshine, i’m convinced all mommas are, they just pick their battles.

          or they make you bring them the iron, smh.

          • Me fail english?

            @overit,

            LOL. It’s true.

            But my mama aint psychic she just goes through all my isht. What can I say? That’s my mama. :)

          • Gem of the Ocean

            @overit,

            yeah man. my mom knows all kinds of stuff and my mom is not the type to snoop. she’s big on privacy. but my mother has found out about things i’ve done outside the house within hours of it happening. either she’s psychic or she has connects with the best spy agency in this universe.

          • http://www.singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Nicki Sunshine

            @overit, I think so too.. I am convinced my mama knew when I lost my virginity because she was acting really weird… thing is, I was an adult! lol

        • RedBeanzNRice w/Poak Chops

          @Nicki Sunshine,

          No, she’s not psychic – she’s MAMA! Recogize. ;)

    • http://twitter.com/WuDaMan WuDaMan

      @RedBeanzNRice w/Poak Chops, You make me want a poke chop sammich so baaaaaaaad

    • Me fail english?

      @RedBeanzNRice w/Poak Chops,

      lol@ “poak chops”

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @RedBeanzNRice w/Poak Chops,

      Did you ever think that maybe your dad walked away because he KNEW there would be no way you could justify it

      oh, he definitely knew. they have an annoying tendency to ask me questions they already know i have no answer to.

      • RedBeanzNRice w/Poak Chops

        @The Champ,

        “they have an annoying tendency to ask me questions they already know i have no answer to.”

        Of course they do. They’re PARENTS, lol. When yours get old enough, you’ll do the same damn thang, lol. Gotta love the cycle. ;)

  • http://www.blacknbougie.com OneChele

    My bougie mother catches “pieces” of pop culture to throw at her kids as signs that the generations after hers are going to hell in a hand basket:

    She: “Oprah had on the Whitney Houston. I don’t know why you girls put up with mess from men. And why is Kanye West being so disrespectful? That’s how Tupac got shot, you know.”

    Me: “Um, a lot of women would not have put up with the Bobby like the Whitney did. Tupac did not get shot on stage at the MTV awards.”

    She: “No but he was dishing folks.”

    Me: “You mean dissing?”

    She: “You know what I mean. Why doesn’t Beyonce just come out and admit she’s married to that Jay boy? You girls have so many advantages and don’t know what to do with them. You saw Mariah married that young boy. They call that a cougar. That Wayne rapper from New Orleans dates older women too.”

    Me: “Mom, what have you been watching besides Oprah?”

    She: ” The View.”

    Me… defeated. If The View is her “pop culture snapshot” I can’t argue with Whoopi/Barbra logic.

    • h3avensent08

      @OneChele,
      LMAOOOO @ DEFEATED!

    • charli skipp

      @OneChele,
      lol @ “the whitney houston.” why am i picturing your momma as that mean, rich lady that played monica’s mom on that one episode of girlfriends? lol

    • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

      @OneChele,

      The image of this entire exchange has me cackling.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @OneChele,

      lol, this is classic

    • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

      @OneChele,

      “She: “Oprah had on the Whitney Houston. I don’t know why you girls put up with mess from men. And why is Kanye West being so disrespectful? That’s how Tupac got shot, you know.””

      LMFAO…I have this lovely image of Taylor Swift, gangsta edition.

      And I’m *dying* @ “dishing” instead of “dissing”. Like Kanye is serving shrimp platters to folks? *cracking up*

      I love mothers.

      • Me fail english?

        @Cheekie,

        haha. And I love how Chele’s mama is the only person in the free world to know exactly hos Pac got shot (besides Suge Knight…I keed!)

        • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

          @Me fail english?,

          HAHA! Right! The “you know” at the end is art. So englightened, that Mama OneChele. This kinda stuff is why I love mothers. No one can deliver a line like a mama.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            @Cheekie,

            This kinda stuff is why I love mothers

            i didnt know you were a lesbian.

          • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

            @The Champ,

            I knew you would go there. lol

            You still don’t know, apparently…

  • shay-d-lady

    Ummm Okay? I just wanna say I refuse to feel guilty I like him just like I love sex filled blues and r&b and violent movies.
    I don’t see how rap is any different from other artistic mediums.
    I likes it from I’m feelin it to daddy go hard
    And again I am not ashamed nor do need to psycho analyze it.

    • http://www.singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Nicki Sunshine

      @shay-d-lady, I second everything u just said.

      • Me fail english?

        @Nicki Sunshine,

        Third. All those arguments Champ made make sense to me simply on the grounds that they’re acceptable in any other artistic medium.

    • overit

      @shay-d-lady, cuz you a 5 star chick.

      ps- i know i been mia, but where is bluntblazer? has he been d*stroyed aka d*pained? mama NOOOoooooooo!

      • Gem of the Ocean

        @overit,

        dead. dead. and… dead.

        • overit

          @Gem of the Ocean, lmao, *in bscott voice* i had to love muffin, i had to!

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @overit,

        Oh sh*t, GREAT question. And WHO will we call to search for him. Yall know BB hates all versions of the po-po’s.

      • voiceovereason

        @overit,

        LOL! Not D*stroyed aka D*pained! D*Stroy is actually my friend and he put me on to VSB. He’s doing his grown man thing. Good career, married, beautiful little girl, house on Long Island. I don’t think he has much time to focus on anything else. I can’t wait to tell him he’s missed. Unless he’s lurking…

        • Gem of the Ocean

          @voiceovereason,

          wow. you’ve never mentioned this before.

          overit has been e-salking him for many many months now.

        • Miss Patterson

          @voiceovereason, YOU KNOW D*STROY! Tell him i said hi! *waving*

    • overit

      @shay-d-lady, i def am not ashamed, i love, rep and promote hip hop all day, i’m just sayin..

      i mean, did harriet ask massa why he was rude, or did she ask hester and abby (antebellum names are the ish) why they were uncle toms? when i’m trying to fix home, i’m not worried about what other houses are doing. i’m not that post racial yet, lol.

      at the end of the day, it comes down to the home lessons, but where there is no home, there is no lesson, only solja boi thanking slavery.

      • shay_d_lady

        @overit, at the end of the day, it comes down to the home lessons, but where there is no home, there is no lesson, only solja boi thanking slavery.

        at the end of the day there are children being raised by pop culture PERIOD .. ..you cant pick one and make it the cause and the cure is all I am saying…..

        • overit

          @shay_d_lady, dang, can a sista expect more from her people?! overit don’t care about tila tequila! lol.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            @overit, you can definitely expect more from your people. but you also h have to realize that being a “star” doesnt mean you’re bright. it means the camera is on you. i’m sure if we interviewed the entire black populace, we’d get more than enough head turning, wtf moments from regular ole everyday joes.

            hell, in COLLEGE, i had a dude in one of my econ classes inform the rest of us, mid-lecture, that he as glad slavery happened b/c he didnt want to grow up in africa and have to rock a loincloth.

            this ninja has a degree now.

      • Me fail english?

        @overit,

        I feel ya on this. Why not fight the battles you can see and know how to fight? Plus, I’d say some of these influences impact our kids more than the others.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @shay-d-lady, yeah, i’m with you. i love my sh*t and will continue to do so. though a lot of it is indefensible on a societal level, the fact is, there seems to be an extremely bright light shining on hiphop and its foils.

      hell, just the other day, some white cat in VA manson’d his family or something adn the story read, “aspiring rapper kills xomebody”

      now, most stories stick wtih facts. how come when a dude is an aspiring rapper it gets in there. Aspiring carpenters dont’ get shoutouts. aspiring presidents dont get no love during crime sprees.

      i’m guessing lee malvo wanted to be something other than the dc sniper but his dreams got no love. but noooooo, aspiring rappers get beaucoup press.

      they didnt even mention what he really does…which is probably work at mcdonald’s with calvin. nttawwt.

      • Gem of the Ocean

        @Panama Jackson,

        becuz “aspiring rapper” is code for “n*gger” or (if they’re 2520) “n*gger lover”.

        aspiring rapper is another term to be thrown 6ft under…

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Gem of the Ocean,

          lol, i dont think anyone ever is an aspiring rapper. its like being pregnant, you’re either a rapper, or not…just a cat at whole foods who raps in his spare time

  • h3avensent08

    Jay-Z is JAY-Z!
    everyone is remorseful.. as long as he admits his wrongs then its fine with me… its not like he continued to EMULATE the lifestyle like the way rappers do now.. he was subtle & cool about it.. his best album describing the lifestyle was & will always be REASONABLE DOUBT! HANDS FUDGING DOWN! The way he Talked about the PRO’S & CONS was just smooth.. the way he delivered the Pro’s of hustling “Cashmere Thoughts” and “Dead Presidents II” and Cons “D’evils” and “Regrets”..
    [I'm a closet Jay-z/S. Carter(03{Black Album}) fan]
    i’m only 20 & loathe the way rappers talk about Hustling.. & the way they continue to live recklessly.. Like Athletes too, getting into trouble *SMH*
    Among the rappers i will never like is & will be TI, Rick Ross & some Lame others..
    i like Hip-Hop tho.. but JAZZ is my 1st LOVE!

    • http://www.singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Nicki Sunshine

      @h3avensent08, “his best album describing the lifestyle was & will always be REASONABLE DOUBT! HANDS FUDGING DOWN! ”

      I think it’s his best album…. PERIOD.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @h3avensent08,

      i like Hip-Hop tho.. but JAZZ is my 1st LOVE!

      lol, i can see that. your comment reads like a jazz performance

  • overit

    great post champ. i get into this debate with a co-worker all.the.time. his position is that no matter how large a platform someone has, no matter how far their influence goes, they should not be held accountable for what they do or say.

    i firmly disagree. now, i don’t think dumba**ses who cite eminem as the reason they tied their mama up count, but for young black youth to be bombarded with images of pimps and drug dealers, as papa champ said, with NO remorse, as role models is unacceptable. same goes for our young girls. its societal warfare if you ask me.

    thinking about this makes me sad, especially because most of us having this convo right now are not the victims of (most) mainstream hip hop.

    in short, the corporate pimp hand is way strong.

    • overit

      @overit, and am i the only person who heard th “f*ck jay z” from *’ether’ throughout this post?

      just me? ok.

      *nas won.

      • shay_d_lady

        @overit, please dont make me de e-friend your a$$ for these outlandish comments….

        • overit

          @shay_d_lady, you can never de-friend me, ever!

    • shay_d_lady

      @overit, thinking about this makes me sad, especially because most of us having this convo right now are not the victims of (most) mainstream hip hop.

      hip hop is not the cause of societal ills
      its an effect, or symptom
      but the problems running rampant in our society, specifically “the inner city” will not disappear if rap/hip hop does. They existed well before rap was a mainstream art form. While rap does play a role in the perpetuation, the things that are glorified in rap were first learned in the streets and in the home and then put on wax. However lets be real about the expectation of artists..they seem to be a little different when it comes to rappers as opposed to other genres…..

      Hell aint nobody make teddy p and barry white apologize for teen pregnancy or the spread of std’s through unprotected s.e.x
      *kanye shrug* Im just sayin

      • overit

        @shay_d_lady, they seem to be a little different when it comes to rappers as opposed to other genres…..

        i feel you, but frankly, i don’t care about other artists. yeah we should wanna heal the world and ish, but given the systematic way blacks have been targeted throughout history, i think we are not far removed from jim crown and colonization, hell katrina, to be as complacent as we are. if ever a community had to remain vigilant, its ours. obviously there’s free will and ish, and nobody is obligated. it doesnt mean i am not shocked at the number of celebs of color who do the bidding of so many others, but not their own. that’s my $0.02.

        why the H-E double hockey sticks am i awake at this hour discussing the effects of the color line? riddle me this, gentle readers.

        • overit

          @overit, *crow not crown.

      • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

        @shay_d_lady,

        “hip hop is not the cause of societal ills
        its an effect, or symptom”

        It’s both. At the start of their careers, some rappers will talk about what they know: the hood. And I get that. There is nothing more compelling than a true story told in first person. But as they make it big, a lot of artists either keep talking about the hood they left years ago and are disconnected from OR they talk about money and baggin’ groupies.

        Young kids often don’t realize the music business is that…a business. They don’t realize that there is no pay day in a song that reflects on all the bad decisions an artist made in their youth.

        • shay_d_lady

          @V.E.G., Young kids often don’t realize the music business is that…a business. They don’t realize that there is no pay day in a song that reflects on all the bad decisions an artist made in their youth.

          most kids do realize its a business, which is why “rapper” is the chosen profession for a lot of kids ….
          so while I get that the industry fuels the get rich quick by any means mentality, so does celebrity in general. So again, I am not going to hold rap anymore accountable than anything else, and the mentality existed BEFORE and the music is a reflection of that.
          I also say too, that a lot of these kids hear the rap but the real life examples in their families and neighborhoods and parents that are either not present or that reinforce the street mentality which is the difference between children and people who are able to look at the music as entertainment and those that take it as a literal blueprint for life. Those kids that cant tell the difference? are also affected by the tv shows, the movies, the video games that promote glorify that life style as well……

        • overit

          @V.E.G., It’s both. At the start of their careers, some rappers will talk about what they know: the hood. And I get that. There is nothing more compelling than a true story told in first person. But as they make it big, a lot of artists either keep talking about the hood they left years ago and are disconnected from OR they talk about money and baggin’ groupies.

          i am positive that in corporate meetings rooms there is the same convo re: a rapper wanting to talk about some different ish, and someone from marketing explaining how the shit works. they are not in control and are slaves to the money, its a reality-and a sad one. there’s a price to pay when you go from trife life to lavish, and its often your common sense and morality. at the end of the day, it may not take a village, but as a parent you go up against a lot trying to fight the adverse effects pop culture, esp ours, has on our youth. i say ours because they could give a damn about hollywood overseas, its americans who are convinced perez hilton has the gospel.

          JTTW!

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            @overit, i am positive that in corporate meetings rooms there is the same convo re: a rapper wanting to talk about some different ish, and someone from marketing explaining how the shit works. they are not in control and are slaves to the money, its a reality-and a sad one.

            while i don’t disagree completely, i think that rappesr that want to talk about different sh*t basically do…they just don’t sell. but they weren’t going to sell in the first place. most rappers follow the money (if thats why they’re doing it). some with huge mainstream success try other things, like ludacris for example, but the fact is, they aint dumb either. it doesnt take a corporate exec to let them know they need dough so they do what makes sense to make hits and stay on teh radio.

            the other thing is, i dont know if the stranglehold is on like it used to be anyway with the rise of independents. i think artists are largely doing what the f*ck they want nowadays. folsk dont even need labels anymore. unless you’re an ll cool j or something but thats only for distribution so you can reach as many folks as possible.

            i’m faily certain that nobody is holding a boot down on tehse cats necks right now like, “no, we need more violence, more gun talk” my guess is that they’re pretty prepared to oblige anyway.

      • Omar

        @shay_d_lady,
        “Hell aint nobody make teddy p and barry white apologize for teen pregnancy or the spread of std’s through unprotected s.e.x”

        In defense to Teddy P. and Barry White, started in a time when teens could and would get married so the situation was different. Teens have always gotten pregnant it is just that society has changed. Also STDs weren’t as prevalent in their time; besides their job was to get you into bed, what you did when you got there was on you. teddy wasn’t going to tell you to put on a condom anymore then he was going to tell you what position to try.

        I DO, however, blame R. Kelly for teen pregnancy simply because he has ‘deflowered’ some teens in his day and thus has set a bad example.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          @Omar, In defense to Teddy P. and Barry White, started in a time when teens could and would get married so the situation was different.

          i think you’re looking for the term “forced” to get married. a lot of those marriages were shotgun.

          • Omar

            @Panama Jackson, “i think you’re looking for the term “forced” to get married.”

            Yeah, but it was more so the guy that was forced than the girl and it may have been messy but it helped reduce the amount kids running around with no parents or just one parent which is the main problem behind teenage pregnancy.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        @shay_d_lady,

        However lets be real about the expectation of artists..they seem to be a little different when it comes to rappers as opposed to other genres…..

        Hell aint nobody make teddy p and barry white apologize for teen pregnancy or the spread of std’s through unprotected s.e.x
        *kanye shrug* Im just sayin

        rap gets a bad rap because its the only musical genre where songs/artists detailing, reporting about, or just outright promoting violence, misogyny, and death are typically your most prominent. comparing love songs with something from the dipset or mobb deep is like comparing apples to hand grenades.

        also, while i agree that all societal ills won’t just magically disappear if murder rap did, because our community is in a unique position, i think the people who have a prominent voice have a unique responsibility.

    • Gem of the Ocean

      @overit,

      etwin, you know i feel you on everything you’ve said throughout this thread.

      i feel this way about rappers (becuz that is who our young black children often want to emulate) and ATHLETES. i could go on and on about this but i wont.

      essentially, i think it’s up to the community (read: black folk) to hold each other accountable and provide other role models for our kids to see so that positive images can be ingrained in young kids minds. so many parents OBVIOUSLY aren’t raising their children well or with any level of decent morals or quality of life, so it’s up to the rest of us to pick up the slack. and if we dont want these youngins to be raised on the image of the poor lives rappers discuss in their music of that athletes show day to day (*smh* @ the whole mcnair sitch) then we gotta start steppin up and puttin more out there to see.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Gem of the Ocean, this is one of those statements that’s right, but only b/c it has no way to be wrong.

        yay.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Panama Jackson,

          “yay” is 62 percent gay