Hip Hop: Time To shoot The Messenger
Artists have always played the crucial part of expressing the thoughts and feelings of society through their work. Some artist’s have been so influential and have managed to shape the direction that society takes through their work. Needless to say a lot more of such artist have lost their lives in the name of truth.
When it come to urban culture more specifically the Hip-Hop culture, rap music plays a dual role of entertaining and raising the consciousness of people within a particular society through the clever use of words and vocal abilities of the artists. Yet lately it appears that the consciousness part of the art seems to be loosing ground to the entertainment aspect.
Rap music as we know it today has its roots in America but If one were to listen to rap from the 80’s 90’s and what is out there currently a clear change in the music is noticeable. When rap music started it was a real force, some people got really scared of the message that the urban youths were preaching and listening to because they knew it was a question of time before these youths attacked the source of problem that plagued their communities. The only way to prevent this was to change the tone of the message so that they pointed their guns at each other rather than the real enemy.
Today most artists produce a wishy-washy kind of pseudo conscious message which seems to glorify certain activities that puts impressionable minds in line of harm, which often leads to either death or incarceration for the feeble minded. Those that are wise don’t take the message by most these rap musicians seriously.
Those that continue to carry a message that is relevant in their music achieve little financial success to be able to sustain themselves. Recording companies won’t offer them contracts, if they do get the contract and start acting too radical you read about them having been caught up in some nonsense and they just fall off the face of the planet. For the most part those musicians trying to discuss real issues that plague society dilute their message or they disguise it to the point it looses all essence.
The sad reality of popular culture is that it can be absorbed by other cultures at times without members of the absorbing culture fully understanding the impact of the message being carried. Even in African cultures where certain values which seem to have held our societies intact for so long seem to be now faced with contradictions that some of the messages carried by the American Hip-Hop culture.
Its summer in the USA and its called gun season… a time when young kids go killing each other senselessly for no reason. This may sound strange but it is true. A country like Zimbabwe doesn’t have a gun culture and there is little wanton killings happening so much we think we have some immunity but the reality is that most kids have grown up seeing these images in foreign made movies and music video are well primed . Not to mention images of careless sex and drug abuse. The mind is a funny thing the more is sees certain things that become its realty. Plato wrote about this in the Allegory of the Cave . It only takes a few conditions to change to be able to see the full scale of the effect of some of these messages. No society moves forward when it’s psychologically poisoning itself. It would be a shame for us to turn back one day and ask what happened……On that note who knows when KRS ONE last put out an album?
PS: Those who follow rap music know what kind of message KRS ONE preached.