I have had quite the morning today. First of all, I decided to watch BET’s America Vs. Hip Hop program in it’s entireity yesterday afternoon..I was less than enthused when I realized that the only place I could watch it was BET On Blast . I don’t need to see a bunch of car and Doritos commercials and that loud ass explosion that fucks up my external speakers. I decided to grin and bear it and watch anyways. After all, when’s the last time BET actually aired something worth watching anyways?
It kills me how it seemed that BET could’ve easily been airing shows about relevant social topics ages ago but now that they’re forced to do it they pull Cousin Jeff (pictured above) Johnson out of mothballs and give Toure's wack ass (pictured below) a mic. Toure annoys the fuck outta me, he has since he used to write for the Source and Rolling Stone back in the days...and that was before I ever even saw what he looked like or heard his voice. I just feel like snuffin’ him out for some odd reason but that’s neither here nor there. I notice that BET decided to trot out Stanley Crouch, Michael Eric Dyson, Dr. Cornel West, Chuck D, Master P and Al Sharpton...I haven’t seen them around for a while. Did I turn to TV One by mistake? Then I see Nelly and T.I. and I realize that I am in fact watching a BET program.
The obvious result of not having a forum that discusses real issues on BET where artists can actually have a dialogue with people and express their opinions is evident as panelist after panelist (well known writers included) keep expressing that they are amazed at how well spoken, articulate and grounded in reality Nelly and T.I. appear to be. If you’re in shock that two of the most successful artists of the last ten years actually have their heads screwed on straight and you yourself work in the media (Farai Chideya, I’m looking at you!), then clearly the media is dropping the ball and/or doing a tremendous job of marginalizing and narrowcasting the Rap/Hip Hop audience. Who doesn’t know that Nelly isn’t an iidiot? Shit, I knew that I don’t even by his records...or is that the only reason why I know he’s not an idiot (because I read his print interviews and radio interviews)?
He is still paying for swiping a credit card down a stripper's (Wyte Chocolate! © Tip Harris) ass crack in an adult video..something that wasn’t even his idea (the girl pictured above suggested it!). Why isn’t anyone yelling at Vince Neil for letting girls that are contestants on his show blow him because he’s clearly taking advantage of these women...or does anyone care that those girls on Rock Of Love are being exploited as well? I hate these dumb ass double standards that exist for brown people/urban music. How can Hip Hop be hurting America when it’s just a reflection of what’s going on in other aspects of our overall culture? Think about it. If these insiders that cover the culture didn’t know this about Nelly and T.I. then surely the buying public at large sure as hell isn’t aware that these dudes have some common damn sense. That scares me. Oh by the way...where the hell is everybody? In Jena, LA with Mos Def? Did Mike Jones contribute anything to this forum at all?
Everything has been dumbed down across the board, it’s getting to be like that short story Kurt Vonnegut wrote called “Harrison Bergeron” where the government dumbed everything down so everyone could be equal and gave smart people a choice...either help us keep the order or we’ll lobotomize because you’re too smart/talented and people in society at large will resent, hate or envy you for it. My old English teacher said that with every passing year things get more and more like the world Ray Bradbury imagined in the pages of “Fahrenheit 451”. Then again, who gives a fuck what she thinks...reading books is gay (unless they’re autobiographies about being a rapper/gangster/gangsters or girls who fucked and sucked a lot of rappers/gangsters). Oh yeah, let’s talk about Ms. Steffans...new paragraph, please.
Karrine Steffans lead the most useless, head scratching segment of the whole discussion. She claimed that she didn’t agree when people blamed Hip Hop for all of the problems in the Black community/America at large. She also claimed that 75% of the people in Hip Hop are constantly high on a myriad of drugs and/or gay. Huh? What! She also claims that while Hip Hop isn’t to blame, her 9 year old son that she had with “one of the greatest emcees of all time” (Kool G Rap) isn’t ever allowed to listen to it...Karrine, I cram to understand you.
First of all, just because you were personally passed around like a blunt at a session for years between some of Hip Hop’s most notorious idiots and knuckleheads doesn’t mean that you can generalize about the entireity of the Hip Hop community on national television (especially given to you yourself admit to being high and intoxicated constantly for a period of almost three tears and you used sex as a way to seek acceptance from males and compensate for your own low self image/esteem issues). That was completely irresponsible and dead wrong in my opinion, not that she had any real credibilty in the first place. Why aren’t there any female emcees of substance or relevance on major labels today? Did they even really address that question or properly utilize/involve MC Lyte in the discussion? No! Fuck that entire segment.
The big issue to me are the multiple “generational” divides in Hip Hop. Hip Hop/Rap has generations every 3-5 years due to shifts in the marketplace and the listening public. If you came out in 1988, chances are unless you’re an exceptional artist you wouldn’t last past 1993/4. If you came out with a new style in 1991, chances were that same shit you spit was hittin’ in 1996 and so on. This means that the whole Hip Hop aesthetic of someone who came up during the two so-called Hip Hop Golden Eras (1986-1989 and 1992-1996) and someone who grew up during the Post Telecommunications Act Era (1997-) will be completely different. I can’t watch 106 & Park without having a part of me slowly die inside thinking that one of my little cousins is somewhere is front of a TV crankin’ dat (exactly what is Soulja Boy gonna tell ‘em? Not a goddamn thing, that’s what!)
BET is one some bullshit for doing this so after the fact and being reactionists. How can the biggest drug dealer in the city suddenly calling an anti drug/drug abuse prevention & drug awareness rally in his own palatial home paid for with bloody drug money and ask that assembled throng of people “What can we do to get these fiends off these drugs?” when the whole audience is dumbfounded like “Nigga, you’re the one copping, bagging, and distributing it to everyone!”
First of all, BET needs to balance out their playlist and diversify the kind of music they air and how often they air it (at least, they need to if they want to be taken seriously by it's many critics). Next, they need to make an initiative to give some deserving independent artists that should be on the rotation monies and access to make videos for their singles. There is no reason why so many dope artists don’t have videos or can’t get them on the air.
After all of that happened, I got a MySpace message from some irate girl that was heated that my brother and I refused to sell her a beat because we rejected the song she was going to do on it after we saw the lyrics and concept for the song. It would’ve been wack and anyone who actually listens to Hip Hop music would’ve been like “Why y’all let her shit all over that beat like that?”. She claimed that we needed to stop having such high standards and the reason I didn’t like ANY of the lyrics she sent was because I was sober when I read them and that I’m disconnected form the Hip Hop community because 75% of them all smoke weed. She also said that it’s okay to dumb down your material otherwise no one will listen to it. Oh word?
To make a long story short I took her off of my friends list immediately and blocked her. I don’t care how much money she was willing to pay , we have integrity and Buc wouldn’t let his beats go wasted on someone that can’t even formulate a tight song. If more people had some damn standards and integrity the industry wouldn’t be so fucked up now that BET is doing specials about it in the first damn place.
Here are some videos that you’ll more than likely NEVER see on Rap City even though it comes on at 1AM now:
Lupe Fiasco-Dumb It Down
The Away Team-Greedy
Blu & Exile-Soul Amazing
Havoc-I’m The Boss
Akir f/Immortal Technique-Apocalypse/Treason
Aesop Rock-None Shall Pass
PackFM-Spell It With A K
Strong Arm Steady f/Talib Kweli-One Step
Animal-Icewater Inc. f/Raekwon
RZA f/Rev. William Burke-Chamber Of Fear
EMC-What It Stand For?
Stat Quo-We Get Higher
Lin Que- Breathe, Spit
Redman f/Saukrates & Icadon-Get ‘Em
Special Teamz Inteview (Courtesy of BronxRap.com)
Jay-Z- Official Def Jam Blue Magic Promo