This retort is based on an article written by Reverend Romal Tune entitled “What Does Hip Hop Tell Us About Faith and Society?” in Huffington Post.
Written by: Deltonia N. Shropshire, MA
THERE IS HEAVEN and HELL IN HIP HOP
Mary J. Blige
Eric B. and Rakim
Diggy Simmons (offspring of the infamous REV Run from RUN DMC, also among the elite)
….just to name a few.
There is HEAVEN in HIP HOP.
The issue is discerning between those artists who are authentic about their actual testimony and those who are faking the funk.
Hip hop from its inception has been the amped up deliverer of testimonies from those categorized by the church/society as “lost” or “in the wilderness”. These sagas are often from hungry souls fighting to make ends (material or spiritual) meet by any means necessary yet still bold enough to give honor, chastise, and/or repent through rhyme and lyricism.
Original hip hop had heart, soul, and zeal that breathed fire into listeners because it came from the artists’ genuine personal experience. The audience identified with the struggle and connected with the artist and his/her label-much like the Bible to many previous generations.
There were forces (seen and unseen) that were intimidated by the quick thinking, well versed brown and black wordsmiths that could insight crowds to ascend to a higher consciousness. They were concerned that the dances that the children created to go along with these songs were likened to those moves seen in churches by those worshippers overcome by an omnipotent force. That power had to be harnessed.
“Did we allow big business to extract the soul out of our music and people?”
As with many other musical forms namely gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, blues and invariably rap-the music evoked rebellion amongst the children.
That type of palpable reaction from the underserved populations (specifically those individuals who were impoverished, of color, and uneducated) were immediate threats that could not be allowed to breathe life and purpose into suffrages.
Where have all of the conscious hip hop artists gone? In short, they have been run underground or out of circulation altogether and categorically deemed irrelevant by the superficial, inarticulate, auto-tuned, studio generated, falsified pipers of communities that require more deliberate leadership. The integrity of the art form has been so saturated with minutia that there is no real competition in the game.
Skilled artisans have taken their abilities and gone elsewhere. Which more often than not is anywhere outside of the United States.
There are those within the hip hop industry/community that are false prophets, much like some of those posing in the pulpits for the sake of prosperity.
They are rapping about nonsense and leading the audiences that have fallen by the way side of rap into further delusion about what true hip hop was intended to instill.
The authentic creative spirit has been sampled beyond recognition by those who aren’t as authentically gifted. For instance, Kanye West and Jay Z recently released a single entitled “OTIS” and Lil Ma gave the world “Scrawberry” a nod to MC Lyte, both of which were dubbed homages to the greats that inspired the artists. Quite frankly the homages were dysfunctional and ill prepared.
Art is art and one’s expression is undeniably individual. However, the extraction of the original soul and the reinsertion of any semblance of manipulated synthesis is inappropriate at best. Herein lie the same dilemma within many faith based entities and churches.
The barren fruit that is that form of “music”, undeniably leaves our youth spiritually, morally and intellectually empty.
Objectivity is futile.
This is the HELL in Hip Hop. There isn’t cause nor purpose beyond making a profit. There are music executives and other decision makers who could care less about the “spirit” in a song. As a matter of fact, it is questioned whether or not these individuals even think on that level.
If something sells, then the pattern is to milk that type of music dry until there is nothing left to do but re-invent the music, discard the artist or both.
The present state of mainstream hip hop is wholly temporary. The vicious cycle of supply and demand keeps insignificance in circulation. The uselessness is feeding a generation that is easily satiated by grunts, tricked out beats, moans, and cotton candy hair dos. DISTRACTIONING LISTENERS FROM REALIZING THAT THERE IS SOMETHING LACKING.
Diddy and all of his acts
At what point do those that know hip hop for its authentic self, reinsert themselves back into the culture to inform those that are lost? Dazed and confused children and young adults are wandering aimlessly from the effects of schemes waged against those things that seek to destroy their consciousness.
Is this not the time for wisdom, truth, and understanding to be more vigilant than ever before? The days of radical leadership seem to have dissipated but that leaves the flock unattended.
There is HEAVEN AND HELL IN HIP HOP just as with every other dynamic in the universe.
The guardians, parents, overseers, protectors and pastors have got to reclaim their authority in ways that are relevant to the people.
People have got to refuse to support that which leaves them feeling more assaulted than before they listened.
… choices, work and action…it is written so let it be done.