Hip Hop is supposed to be party music because it started at parties.
You had a DJ making people dance and rappers hyping up the DJ.
And while yeah, maybe some nerd or cornball occasionally got spotted in the crowd and roasted on the mic, said doofus usually either took it, tried to resort to fisticuffs, or learned to rap and came looking for payback.
But to imagine that in the late 70’s or early 80’s that some rapper would be on the mic at a party threatening to kill somebody?
There are girls here, moron! How are we supposed to be tryna get into some drawers with you talkin all that “murder-death-kill”?
The first ostensibly murderous Hip Hop song that I remember was Boogie Down Production’s “9mm Goes Bang” a song where our protagonist and rapper, KRS-One, kills a crack dealer.
You know that’s old-school because the crack dealer is actually the villain.
Then came NWA.
Soon, every rapper with dollar signs in his eyes lined up to shoot Black people in their songs.
An interesting sidebar that I think worth noting is the fact that the first genuinely “positive” Hip Hop song, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five’s “The Message” was actually the contrived creation of studio head Sylvia Robinson and, as we learned from Flash’s biography, he wanted nothing to do with it.
Can you imagine that happening nowadays?
A label actually making Hip Hop artists record songs with positive messages?
And I know, I’ve reached the point where there’s only two places I can go; I can either say that Black people are so dumb that we actively crave the music of our own destruction or I can suggest something more nefarious at play. I can say that we’re being conditioned to accept this music as the right music for us.
In all honesty though, the second answer is just a fancy way of saying the first.
And anyway, what I’m really saying is that at some point, both the music and the musicians changed.
Unlike Country’s “Outlaw” movement, where musicians took full control of their music and the sound hit home for loners and small groups who thought of challenging the government and taking on authority, the Gangsta Rap movement, from it’s inception, seems to be directed toward who almost all American violence is directed towards: Niggers.
How does this make any sense?
Not only are your recorded enemies your mirror reflection, but if Outlaw County fans can imagine waging war against the very nation in which they live and the best a Gangsta Rap fan can hope to do is kill another Nigger – something anybody can do – how stunted are Gangsta Rap fans’ dreams?
Finally, and this moves us up to Wednesday May 25th when TI and Troy Ave performed at Irving Plaza, Troy Ave got shot and another unfortunate soul murdered, why has it seemingly become a necessity that our musicians – though they talk gangster shit – be real gangsters?
Troy Ave getting shot is taken as being incidental because we’ve allowed ourselves to come to expect rappers to get shot.
If a Hollywood action star – I’m thinking Tom Cruise – got shot, the world would lose its muhfuccin mind.
Yet, we just accept Hip Hop stars getting shot, that they, perhaps should get shot like we accept as unavoidable realities police brutality and “Black-on-black crime”.
Too much of Hip Hop has gone from being party music to the soundtrack of Black genocide.
And we’re yet to stop dancing.