2 Moguls Viewpoints on Hip Hop: Does It Influence the Youth?? Part 1
Written by Danny P Ocean on May 30, 2016
Danny P Ocean
First off let me preface this by saying I love hip-hop and the culture that it gave me. I probably have been affected more by hip-hop than any other single culture. The culture of hip-hop introduced me to Malcolm X, jazz, and a multitude of books I may have never picked up. However, as much as I love hip-hop I do realize that with the good came the bullshit. Now before you Breakin’ 2 Electric Bugaloo card carrying fans get your Timbs in a bunch understand that with ANY culture you will have good and bad elements.
One thing I noticed about hip hop fans is that we will defend the culture to our death bed. That pretty much comes from being around in the early days and trying to convince older heads that rap music was not a fad. So we stood behind the KRS-Ones, the PEs, the NWAs, and the 2 Live Crews. Our platform was that rappers just reported what they saw in the hood like the “evening news.” We said that shit so much that we began to believe it.
When I speak of the harm the hip hop culture has done to us, I am speaking of the violence that is celebrated. We are now witnessing what years upon years of gun talk, drug celebrations and a general degradation of a community through music and lifestyle, in general, will do to a people. True, we had all of this before rap music, but can you point to another time in history where the culture and the music were both so negative at the same time. Even when we were in the depths of slavery and Jim Crow we didn’t resort to the ignorance that is now prominently on display.
I know one argument that is continually brought up is what I call the Nino Brown speech….. “we don’t make drugs, we don’t create and distribute guns so this can’t possibly be our fault!” Yeah…. wrong. Blacks have had guns since the end of the civil war. We have done drugs since the days of Abraham. But somehow, someway we were able to maintain control of our community. We didn’t have decades in the early 1900s where scores of Black males were getting gunned down by one another because we got into a dispute. Another popular argument is that we don’t “have” opportunities in the hoods these days, so the kids have no choice but to be angry and kill, kill, kill, murder, murder, murder. Well, what opportunities did we have during slavery? Or how about during the Jim Crow days? These opportunities that the people point to are probably that brief period of time after MLK died but before Clinton left office. What maybe 35 years or so.
There is no denying the fact that some of the listeners of rap music come from homes where they don’t necessary have positive influences, so where are these kids going to turn to for guidance? Could it possibly be from the music of the culture that they are entrenched in? Could the music that they listen to and live by influence them negatively the same way Public Enemy influenced kids 30 years ago?
Is it a coincidence that the hood’s ailments and hip hop seem to run parallel? Again I am not saying ALL hip hop is bad. Or that I am shitting on all of the positivity that came out of the culture. But we can’t deny the fact that hip-hop the culture has had influences on the youth both good and bad.
Hip hop used to have something very similar to corporate responsibility that many successful organizations claim to have today. It was the story of the people being brought to the masses. Many feel that the voice of the voiceless has been condensed to very simplistic subject matter.
We have many rappers talking about how they bust their guns and it does have an impact on how young and impressionable listeners conduct themselves in the same environments that many of their favorite rappers speak upon.
So where does the blame go? Hip-hop culture or the environments that many rappers come from? The irony and pun can be found in the cliche “don’t shoot the messenger.” I don’t blame the entertainer. I blame the consumer. As consumers, we relinquish our power to so many situations in life due to the power of influence. There’s research that suggests that the United States is a nation of group think while studies show independent thought breeds more ideas of quality, but I digress. If consumers demanded more from our hip hop artists than record labels would supply our demand. We continue to support DJs and radio stations that offer no variety, yet complain about every artist sounding the same. If hip hop fans are tired of our youth being influenced by the ignorance of the music then we should do something about it.