As a 43 year old, I was around during the infancy of rap
& the birth of the hip Hop culture on a whole. The edge that made rap music
what it was in the 70’s & 80’s and its ability to flourish over the years
is that the music itself originated under the ideals of realness. Rappers such
as Africa Bambatta, Kurtis Blow and songs such as ‘The Message” brought the day
to day struggles of urban life to the masses across the nation & around the
world. Not just within the entertainment industry, but the whole state of mind
among inner city African Americans at that time caused the generation to adopt
the moniker of “Keep it Real,” to be the slogan for the time.
It was the realness of rap music that appealed to the youth
and transcended racial lines. I remember thinking to myself that finally,
people would now understand the day to day plight of inner city youth. Whether
not anything would be done was a different story but at least now it would be
out there. Rappers were the reporters of the urban youth and they told it how
they knew it. N.W.A. and the GETO Boyz gave the world the urban life straight
with no chaser. 2Live Crew and Digital Underground added a comedic aspect to
their approach while Public Enemy and X-Clan got into our minds; motivating us
to make a change. The bottom line was there were many different artists
speaking to the world on behalf of a generation and culture that desperately
needed a voice.
Fast forward to 2013; each day I take a trip of
approximately 35-45 minutes into downtown. This trip takes me along scenic Lake
Shore Drive into the Loop the out the 290 highway. As a lifelong fan of rap
music & the hip hop culture, I listen to what’s being played on the radio. During
my trip, every rap artist that I listened to during my travel, spoke of the
exact same content in their music. Money, cars & women were the topics and
hook of every song. How much money they have, how much sex they get, and what
kind of car they drive. The artists speak on how they belittle others with less
money or how they eliminate (lyrically I assume) others that are trying to get
where they are. The artists are giving listeners an impression of life that is
anything BUT real. Even the artists themselves don’t have the type of money and
live the type of lives that they rap about. One record said, “I woke up in a
new Bugatti.” Get the f@#k outta here!!
What frightens me is that impressionable youth are listening
to these lyrics and since none of these artists are giving these kids the step
by step method of “earning” the type of money that they rap about, these kids
are on their own to figure out a way to get it.
The contemporary artists that promote this type of lyrical content give
African American youth a fictitious view of life. They undermine the parental efforts
of instilling a strong work ethic and promote a short cut mentality in Black
youth. Youth that adopt this short cut mentality believe that they are entitled
to expensive material possessions without a diligent work ethic. Furthermore,
these artists have the opportunity to explain the “make believe” nature of
their lyrics through interviews.
However, they choose to show their “outlaw” nature through random run
ins with law enforcement, used by publicists to enhance their, street credibility.
Ironically, most of these artists receive their first contact with police after
Ironically, the ring leader or the “Boss, “of the circus of
unreal rappers calls himself Rick Ross. William Leonard Roberts II is a former Florida
correctional officer that caught his big break and ran with it. After graduating from Miami Carol City Senior
High School, Roberts attended the historically black college Albany State
University on a football scholarship. Instead of utilizing his life to inspire
& motivate others seeking the same path. Mr. Roberts took the life, style
and name of convicted drug dealer; Ricky Ross. The phenomenal good that could
have arisen from the story of an individual who worked to feed his family while
struggling to attain his goals will never be known. Instead the man was content
with the personal gains reaped by claiming the life of another. So pitiful is
this case of identity theft, even the way Ross wore his beard and head was
imitated. Mr. Roberts went as far as to deny his legitimate past until he was
presented with irrefutable evidence of his previous work history.
|Real Rick Ross|
As an original participant of the hip hop movement, the culture that evolved from it and the music that represents it. I am shocked & appalled at our current state of being. The whole basic dynamic of this life is that of realness, no matter where you come from. The original rappers were reporters from their respective geographical areas. These reporters used their lyrical ability to give insight on their past, present and future state of being. Though the artists gave it to us in their own manner, they held fast onto the ideology of keeping it real. Through Tupac Shakur’s lyrics we were allowed into his life and inner most thoughts. Notorious Christopher Wallace told us where he came from and how he got to where he was. Ice Cube took us with him for a day in his life.
|The Rapper/ RobertsII|
The movement began from a people’s desire to evolve and tell the world of their evolution. Though it may sound simple, keeping it real was the essence of the hip hop lifestyle. In order to institute change we must return to rationally based thinking grounded into reality. It was this way of thinking that created a culture based on integrity that would influence the lives of millions. We must return to this way of thinking, accepting all that is real and rejecting the unreal. At that point we will see the rebirth of the movement that spawned a culture so powerful that it created a music form that changed the face of entertainment; forever.
|C.O. William Leonard Roberts II|
Labels: 2 Live Crew, Christopher Wallace, entertainment industry fraud, Fake Hip Hop stars, Freeway Ricky Ross, GETO Boyz, hip hop culture, Notorious Big, NWA, rap music, Rick Ross, Tupac Shakur, Wanksta