D.L. Chandler's frequent thoughts on the world of hip hop and beyond

Friday, July 16, 2004

Hip Hop Witch Hunts & Misinformed MC's

The deification of so-called conscious or socially aware Hip Hop artists is a minor annoyance when compared to the various complaints from columnists and the media that Hip Hop is worse off than ever. This stems from the very nature of some people to only acknowledge what the major players force down the public’s throat. The only time Hip Hop participants seems to enjoy any type of true discourse is when the music is under fire for whatever controversial reason.

Jadakiss , an MC with the rap trio The Lox and currently a soloist, has managed to get the interrogation light pointed Hip Hop’s way again with his current single, "Why?", which poignantly asks some deep (at least compared to some of his usual content) questions and offers the idea that our President had a hand in the World Trade Center tragedy. As columnist Jason Alston suggests in his piece for the Daily Dispatch, J to the Muah really took the conspiracy angle to an unnecessary level – but fails to note that in his defense of Bush and country that Jadakiss is allowed his say and doesn’t recognize that at least it’s getting the kids talking about something other than the usual fare of popular Hip Hop. Jadakiss is more than misinformed but if anyone took this his lines as gospel could stand to let go of the remote every once in a while.
Bill O’Reilly, the Hip Hop witch hunter, is all over this as anyone with cable should know. Labeling Jadakiss a "smear merchant", O'Reilly is his usually consistent and annoying self. But that's nothing the Hip Hop nation need to pay attention to. This issue further illustrates one of the points made in last week's Confluence entry. When we have popular rappers with all this media influence and attention uttering statements without facts to back them up do nothing to serve up Hip Hop as a potential beacon for information and change. That isn’t said to condemn Jadakiss or any other rapper for their right to free speech and expression but we have to make, at the very least, partially educated declarations and accusations. Jada likens himself a martyr, someone to take the blame as he notes in this article from writer Rashuan Hall. But as noble as that seems, the glaring problem in all of this well-meaning dart throwing is that the subject is far too layered and esoteric for a rapper to inject into song without boring an audience. It’d be good to see Jada or other rappers that may support theories similar to this to get involved in a televised debate. If he’s truly concerned with stirring things up as he states in the Hall piece, let’s see him do it with some folks that can challenge him on a different platform.

“Why" is currently a hit all across the country and while that’s good for Jadakiss’s label and his royalty checks, let us hope that he’ll use this leverage that he claims to have planned to be used for the greater good and simply more than boosting sales of his LP.


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