Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why Hip Hop

Hip Hop's Not Dead Yet- Response to a Piece on the Degeneration of Mainstream Hip Hop .

First of all, not every mainstream hip hop artist is promoting misogyny, violence and "poor on poor" crime. Recently, Eminem and Rihanna released one of the most powerful critiques of domestic violence that I have ever heard in ANY musical genre "I Love the Way You Lie." This song will be remembered long after Lil Wayne's "Bedrock" is forgotten.

Secondly, there is a powerful feminist resistance movement that operates within hip hop. For the last three years, a festival called "Mommas Hip Hop Kitchen" has attracted nearly a thousand people, most of them young, most of them women of color, to a celebration of women's power featuring women dj's, rappers, poets, and b girls.s The women who organized and participated in this festival refuse to cede Hip Hop to arists like 50 Cent and Lil Wayne.

Finally there is a thriving hip hop underground, in the US as well as other countries that contains powerful commentary on povety, war, police violence and the persecution of immigrants From Brooklyn's Talib Kwali and Hi Tek , to Harlem's Immortal Technique to the Bronx's Rebel Diaz, La Bruja, Patty Dukes and Rephstar,there are artists who use the hip hop tradition to speak truth to power in the tradition of Public Enemy and KRS-1 These artists are not promoted on mainstream radio and television, but their music is easily accessible on the internet and they perform regularly for progressive organizations and community groups.

Let's not give up on hip hop yet. The corporate interests that have ruined mainstream hip hop are the same ones that have destroyed our economy, and we have to fight them musically the same way we have to fight them politically.