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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectGreat post!
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=21727&mesg_id=21825
21825, Great post!
Posted by murph25, Thu Aug-31-00 06:24 PM
Damn, this is a lot to think about. But, I'll add some more of my own thoughts.

>But outside of that, do black
>and white fans want the
>same thing out of their
>hip hop? Although Johnny
>and Jamal both got Eminem
>lp's, only Johny is supporting
>Limp Bizkit, Beasties, and Korn.
> The question I wonder
>is would a black group
>doing the same thing be
>received by either group.

This is an interesting point. My argument would be to a large extent, it's the record labels, radio, and MTV that define an audience's tastes strictly on racial boundaries. Eminem is played on modern rock radio and TRL along with the other white groups you mention. The problem is, a black group doing the same music would not be given the same platform from which to market their music. And I think that's institutional racism of the worst kind. Meanwhile, Eminem is played on BET and "urban" format radio, so he has access to a wide audience of black people.

>Consider that many college radio dj's
>are also of white heritage
>and white folks tend to
>have a more forgiving ear
>when it comes to hip
>hop, you can see how
>their involvement will change the
>face of the underground, and
>then overground.

I would argue that if college DJ's are giving a platform to artists who cannot get played on mainstream radio, they are performing a valuable service to hip hop regardless of their race. And I see how their playlist may affect the course of the hip hop underground, but I am not convinced it is necessarily detrimental. I mean, for every El-P record they play, they are playing multiple Aceyalone or Blackalicious tracks too. And, if the college DJ knows anything about the history of hip hop, they CAN have a positive impact by playing music that audiences wouldn't hear otherwise. I can see how these college DJs may not be the BEST curators for the traditions of hip hop, but I would suggest they play a positive role right now.

>What happens when white kids don't
>need to hear black authenticity.
> We all realize that
>if eminem slowly drifts towards
>a kid rock style of
>hip hop, our music will
>forever change.

I absolutely agree. The proliferation of white MCs could be problematic for hip hop's future. But I also don't particularly like the redefinition of "hip hop" along color lines which the media has begun doing. While on the surface, the media may be telling us "whites can't rap", they are effectively saying "blacks can't rock". Those distinctions based on race don't serve to keep white artists out of hip hop, but black artists out of white-dominated rock. So, the white rock audience's acceptance (which is a HUGE financial windfall) is being roped off from black artists (they aren't allowed in the door), while folks like Eminem, Kid Rock, etc. are cashing their paychecks and hanging up their platinum records!

>I personally think that most people
>listen to production first, and
>then pay attention to the
>image of an mc.
>Few folks actually listen to
>what folk say, despite the
>uncanny ability to memorize every

Interesting perspective you give here. I can see how an audience that places more emphasis on beats than rhymes might tend to overlook the underground cats. Incidentally, I heard Aceyalone's solo material for the first time on a college radio station in Austin (I was visiting a friend). They played "Headaches and Woes" well before his album dropped, and it had me open. Austin's a cool town, and it's probably more receptive to the underground than your average city.

>But labels are always looking for
>the killer app. So
>they will try new things.
> Rock Rap didn't work
>when black mc's rhymed over
>rock tracks(judgement night is what
>I'm thinking of, and Walk
>this way doesn't count), but
>it worked well when it
>was white mc's.

Absolutely, and Judgement Night was more impressive to me than anything Limp Bizkit has done! I would agree that racism on the part of the audiences probably contributed to its commercial failure. But it didn't get the media push given to Fred Durst's band. Remember when Bizkit came out, they were actually paying radio stations to put them on the playlist? I don't think the Judgement Night soundtrack got that level of support from the label.

>I think the people do that.
> I know for a
>fact that Black folks didn't
>want to come to see
>Outkast because it was on
>the white side of town.
> I know white folks
>who wouldn't go see UGK,
>even when it was on
>the white side of town.

This is a good point. People are afraid to go outside their own neighborhoods for all kinds of reasons. But, the deeper problem is "why do white and black people live on opposite sides of town". And this seems more institutional than personal. We seem to follow our racial labels in a lot of respects, from where we live to who we listen to, to how we worship. In this light, it 's a lot deeper than just our choice as consumers to support a particular type of music.

> The evil blackman is
>apart of the American psyche.
> Even if you eliminated
>the so-called negative black images
>from hip hop, you would
>still have to contend with
>them on the nightly news.
>And by erasing them from the
>public debate you aren't addressing
>the issues that they bring
>up. That's my main
>problem with the so-called conscious
>hip hop heads.

Well, I can see the value of addressing these stereotypes, but I would suggest that when music glorifies only certain images, this can be detrimental. The problem of racism at a larger scale is a point well taken. But I think that conscious MC's do address the very issues brought up by the images in mainstream music, and usually more effectively.

Now, I can appreciate the social value of NWA saying "F--- the Police" just as much as PE saying "Fight the Power". But, I have a hard time unwrapping the social value of "Bling Bling". I don't think gangstas are corrupting hip hop per se, but I think as long as white corporate control of hip hop persists, their message is going to dominate the public debate. And who would you rather have articulating the concerns of the black community on a national level: Cash Money or Dead Prez? Would you rather have artists who represent a social problem, or ones who articulate solutions?

>The intersection of race and
>hip hop leads to some
>weird places.

Definitely. White people listen to hip hop for all kinds of reasons, and a lot have some strange ideas they use to justify listening to or supporting artists who they ultimately disagree with or don't understand. And I can see how that goes for both sides of hip hop - underground and mainstream fans. My hope would be that the Aceyalone fan has a better shot (if they are really listening) of becoming enlightened about their own prejudices and racism. But I may be naive in thinking that.

>Is it a problem when Common
>is not accepted by black
>folks in his own neighborhood?
> How about Do or
>Die (the other side of
>chicago hip hop) are not
>accepted by white folks?
>It's not cut and dried.

True. But my point was this: white fans of rap who have a hard time accepting complex, intellectual black artists like Com are a bigger problem than those few who DO listen to him. He gives white fans some perspective, opens a few minds, etc. I understand how his lack of acceptance among black folks could be troubling. I'm not black, so I have a hard time understanding the various motivations for why they might not be supporting him in his neighborhood.

Personally, I have never listened to Do or Die. I don't know anything about them, but I suspect they are outside my area of interest. If someone gives me a good reason to support a group, I might do so. But I can't buy everything, so I pick and choose based on what I enjoy and what reflects my values. These reasons are certainly complex (not cut and dried), but they do tend to mirror overarching cultural trends.

>I have a
>feeling of white record execs
>really wanted to be in
>the black gospel business, black
>folks would have no real
>problems with it.

It seems to me that by demonstrating that they can succeed without the involvement of whites, black gospel artists are advancing the interests of their community, financially and socially. Even if their self-reliance comes more from necessity than some desire for control, the result still seems like a positive one. And perhaps it could serve as a viable model for hip hop artists who want to take some control of their music away from white-owned labels. Certainly it isn't far from some of the ideals I hear Black Star or Dead Prez talking about in their music...

Anyway thanks for sharing your thoughts. Sorry if I went on too long, but I wanted to do justice to the complexity of the issues.