Drug and Alcohol being glamorized by the media? This is NOT new news, but it is a truthful statement about how MARKETING and MEDIA use alcohol and drugs to SELL MORE ALBUMS and MAKE MORE MONEY. Check it...
"This was a good week for Hip-Hop and moreover Hip-Hop Journalism. I have long been critical of the current state of the newly crowned Hip-Hop Literati. Online magazines, podcasts, radio shows and TV have been overrun by disingenuous and poorly trained hacks posing as journalists and advocates for the culture. These “vultures” who have been feasting on Hip-Hop have lately seen their meals interrupted. Whether it be uncensored criticism by the likes of Dame Dash and Azealia Banks or more nuanced reprimands by J Cole’s partner and Dreamville head, Ibrahim Hamad, passes are being revoked and Hip-Hop’s spirit of self determination is returning.
DJBooth and my new favorite website, RapRehab, published two outstanding articles recently calling out two major cancers in the Hip-Hop community. RapRehab published a scathing rebuke of Doran Miller-Rosenberg’s, a writer for EliteDaily.com’s piece “Why the ‘6 Ways to Stop Your Child From Being Brainwashed By Mainstream Rap’ Guide Got It All Wrong’”. Miller-Rosenberg’s piece itself was a counter attack to an earlier satirical article from Rap Rehab on the ills of commercial Hip-Hop. Sebastien Elkouby, the writer for RapRehab eviscerates Miller-Rosenberg as an example of Hipster interlopers in Hip-Hop whose editorial voice outweighs their commitment to the community.
“[Celebrating] Chief Keef’s brilliance while ignoring the depressing realities the rapper’s music reflects is a luxury only a clueless, disconnected snob can afford. While you arrogant clowns absolve yourselves of any accountability by arguing against the moralizing of art, misguided kids are trying to live out the lyrics to songs you and your grad school homies party to. While you celebrate Gucci Mane’s reckless abandon as the ultimate display of counterculture cool, the artist known as Radric Davis is spiraling downwards, in and out of jail, and in my estimation, in need of serious therapy. Magically, the average garden-variety trap rapper becomes your personal virtual tour guide through Anyhood, USA wherein you can live your wildest “ghetto” fantasies vicariously…”
This particularly resonated as I read it on #MLKDay and was reminded that there are more Black men in prison than in college. These writers “celebrate Gucci Mane’s reckless abandon as the ultimate display of counterculture cool” because they can do so as they stand on the edges of the community and our problems. Gucci is our cousin, our uncle or even college roommate. But to one who is not from the community, does not live in the community, does not work in the community, does not hire people from the community and does not give back to the community, Gucci is no more than a circus attraction. A Negro in cage to be gazed upon.
I echo Elkouby sentiments that while writers like Miller-Rosenberg are more than welcome to contribute we, as shareholders of Hip-Hop, must demand a higher level of respect and sensitivity. Hip-Hop is our refuge, our legacy, our livelihood, our culture. We can no longer let it be ravaged without consequence.
On the heels of RapRehab’s indictment, DJBooth wrote a brilliant piece on the hypocrisy of Future as revealed in the Atlanta singer/rapper’s interview with Clique Magazine. In the interview Future admits that the drug use which is the core of his music is not reality. He is not a Codeine, pill popping drug addict. It is an exaggeration created to sell records. Rappers lying is nothing new but what is so wrong is what DJ Booth’s Managing Editor Nathan S. writes,
“The largest media outlets completely pretended like that portion of the interview never happened at all, leaving it to Watchloud to finally point out the obvious. Complex, Fader, MTV, they detailed all of the interview’s major positive points while somehow completely passing over the part when music’s leading drug user said that he exaggerates his drug use to sell records. Maybe they didn’t actually watch the entire interview they wrote about (it happens), maybe they didn’t want to risk alienating Future and cutting off future interviews (it happens), or maybe they just didn’t actually think it was news worthy. Maybe they just didn’t care, but I do.”
Nathan continues to make the very personal point,
“But addiction? I know addiction. Addiction has so thoroughly rotted my family tree that there are only a few leaves left, a chainsaw’s teeth is almost finished tearing through the trunk. I never knew my grandfather, he drank himself to death when my father was just a kid himself. That’s the truth. My uncle died alone, his heart finally collapsing after decades of being battered by drugs and booze. That’s the truth. My cousin chose Oxycontin over life and lost his spouse, but it wasn’t until the Oxy turned into heroin that he broke into his childhood home and stole my Aunt’s TV. That’s the truth. Last week I sat on a metal folding chair in a circle, listening to a man talk about how chronic drinking had swollen his fingers so grotesquely he couldn’t hold a pen to fill out his hospital intake form. That’s the truth. None of those stories would sell albums, but they’re the truth.”
These lies that these brothers are telling are corrosive. Addiction to codeine should not be part of a marketing plan. Shame on you Future. I am sure like Nathan S, you too have people in your family ravaged by drugs, alcohol and prescription drugs. It should not be taken lightly and you should be fully aware that thousands of impressionable fans, young and old, may have been sent to the cold embrace of addiction trying to emulate the false image you present. You can take the Charles Barkley route and say you are not a role model but deep in your heart you know the call is to be more Nina Simone, “You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” These are times of state approved executions by the police, unprecedented rates of incarceration and attempt to roll back the progress that gave you a seat at the table.
I encourage you all to read the pieces in their entirety. It will remind you that the revolutionary spirit of Hip-Hop is back and reaffirming its dominance in critical conversations."