Rappers Should Lead Protests Against Police, Not Pop Bottles In VIP Sections
Public Enemy never hesitated to speak truth to power.
photo by Kmeron via Flickr Creative Commons
Today's top hip-hop artists have no sense of righteousness. During the golden era of rap from the 1980s to the 1990s, there were so many of us really speaking to the black experience. Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, KRS-One, Ice-T, NWA, and 2Pac were just a few of the acts that raised public consciousness about the inequality African-Americans face.
Public Enemy was all about taking strong, pro-black political and social stances in music and life. For instance, in the video for the group's 1987 song "By the Time I Get to Arizona," they fictionally assassinate the state's governor, Evan Mecham, who canceled a state holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. The video shocked and enraged white America, but Public Enemy was conveying black frustration.
KRS-One started the Stop the Violence movement, an effort to encourage other hip-hop artists to combat the killings in black communities. Heck, 2Pac grew up with the Black Panthers. Sure, he made party songs, but he also put out albums like 2Pacalypse Now that concentrated on police brutality and drew public criticism from Vice President Dan Quayle after a Texas teen claimed 2Pac's music influenced his decision to shoot a state trooper.
Nowadays, we've got guys like Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar who continue this tradition. But then there's Kanye West, who is most concerned with being a fashion icon and part of America's most popular reality-TV family. Or there's Drake, a Canadian who grew up in a middle-class Toronto neighborhood and went to Jewish day school. There's no way they can relate to the bullshit that black people from Liberty City, Baltimore, or Ferguson must endure.
Others are more concerned about popping bottles at LIV on Sundays or which Kardashian sister to date. You have Young Thug and Lil Wayne getting into catfights featured on TMZ.
They need to be more like Jay Z, who along with his wife Beyoncé, reportedly put up the money to bail protesters out of jail in Ferguson and Baltimore. The hip-hop power couple has quietly supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
Every rapper in the game today should be leading the protests, holding his or her black fist in the air.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.