Words by Phlip
I think Twitter is ruining hip hop as a tool of revolution, or at least of activism. I say that to say that the means of HOW hip hop cares presents a major issue in the appearance of whether or not hip hop actually cares at all.I heard the collective groans, “what the hell is he talking about?” and I thank you all for asking. Remember in the 80s, when kids the nation over were joining gangs and/or going for self and taking each other’s Jordans and shit? Hip hop’s response(s) were 1989’s East-Coasterly “Self Destruction” and a 1990 West-Coasterly “We’re All In The Same Gang.” Both were well received, while preachy, and commended for being the voice of reason to a group of young people who were accused of being driven to hyper-violent behaviors by the same hip hoppers. The cast of characters in each were a veritable 1989 “who’s who?” of the industry, and I make that point because 20 years later, KRS One tried in response to what was a reoccurrence of the original problem in 2008, then again in 2009 to assemble another attempt at it.
The 2008 one Self Construction had names like Redman, David Banner, The Game, Nelly (odd, considering who assembled it), and several others totaling 55 artists. The 2009 song featured such names as Twista, Syleena Johnson, Phil G., Crucial Conflict, Kenny Bogus, Straw and Pugz Atomz. I will go as far as to say that neither got much burn, as I had no clue of either before consulting Wikipedia to write this, and STILL don’t know who half the people in the 2009 one even are.
I will say that it feels like Kris Parker was simply jumping the shark for personal gain, even if that gain was only a pat on the back for trying.
Fast forward, 2012… We have this monster called Twitter that operates as a content aggregator from which we can get music, news, opinion, politics, and porn. Major cities like Chicago are apparently war zones again. Entertainers FROM Chicago, rather than taking to the medium for which their fans pay them, take to Twitter and interviews to talk about it. While formidable as a first-hand source of information, Twitter is also perfect for appealing to the short attention spans of human beings. I know I said some funny shit on Twitter just last night, but damned if I can remember what it was. We tend to remember the real-world fallout of what was said on the internets more than we do what was actually said, no matter how valid or otherwise deep it was (yes, I am talking about Chief Keef and Lupe Fiasco).
We ALL know this to be fact, but that does not stop those with the power of the influence of their voices from continuing to sit on them. Farrakhan has spoken, and I commend him. Others have spoken, and I appreciate them for that as well.
Prominent hip hoppers on the other hand? Well, it seems that they’re fine with remaining passive on this.