some of our best cultural productions have come out of times when we better organized & winning the fight for self-determination.
the harlem renaissance is an obvious example. but we can reference much of the music of the 60's & 70's that most of us can agree was not only much more soul-ful than most of what we have today, but was taking many of our struggles & developments & putting them up for the world to see. some unapologetically, some just riding the bandwagon, but it was clear that during that time your music had to add to or acknowledge the tenor of the times to gain recognition.
i tend to think that hip hop's early ability to respond to reagan-bush era economics & the crack epidemic was an outgrowth of the culture that came before it -- a culture backed by a movement that felt powerful enough to challenge the system head-on. who's to say that if it had continued uniterrupted that it would have resulted in airwaves filled with marsalis-esque placidity? i think the picture would be quite different.