Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hip Hop Conspiracy

The Hip Hop Conspiracy

By Min. Paul Scott

With her legacy of slavery and oppression, to say that
this country has done some bad things to black folks
is an understatement. We all know about the African
Holocaust (the slave trade) and the Tuskegee
Experiment as well as other examples of the
mistreatment of Afrikan people by the European. But in
a society that has corrupted everything "black" to
serve its own evil purposes, how can we think that
"hip hop" would be exempt from its evil schemes.

We all know the well told story of how when Hip Hop
first started in the early 80’s , it was about
partying and how the Hip Hop nation under the
leadership of president Chuck D and vice president
Flava Flav, young black America was exposed to the
teachings of Malcolm X and Huey P Newton.

We are very familiar with the story of rap’s golden
era as it is known among the cool, hip hop insiders
who remember when breaking meant more than someone's arm
being broken in response to a “diss”
And when graffiti on a wall was an easily overlooked
misdemeanor and not a felony perceived as
a glorified death warrant against someone based on the
color of the bandana wrapped around his head.

So the million dollar question (since it’s all about
the benjamins) becomes. How did the sound of sweet
soul music become sour or better yet as Public Enemy
asked in the early 90’s “Who Stole the Soul?”
Let us begin in 1988 when so called “gangsta” rap
began to emerge out of California (West Side!!!) and spread
across the nation. I remember my first time hearing
“Gangsta Gangsta” by NWA when I was a young intern
/wanna be rapper /college student at a local radio
station. After listening to the promotional copy of
"Gangsta" about 10 times in a row, I remember busting
into the program director’s office yelling “Man,
you gotta hear this record, it’s so dope” (excuse the
outdated hip hop slang). The PD just looked at me and
said “We aint playing that mess, kids are riding
around shooting at each other playing that song.” I
remember thinking to myself how out of touch he was
and if an old man (30 something) could not “get with
the newness” maybe he needed to retire. At the time,
my 21 year old mind could not conceptualize a piece of
wax having so much power over someone's mind that the
person would be inticed to ice someone, but as they
say in the church , “ where I was blind, now I see. “

For a time "Conscious rap" and “Gangsta rap” coexisted
in almost perfect harmony, a musical ying and yang so
to speak. When the elders would criticize the lyrics
of some to the songs, the conscious rappers would
serve as ambassadors of goodwill for the “G’s" and
quickly point out that the rappers were just being
attacked because they were young black men saying
something that white society did not want to hear.
After all, they were just calling it as they saw it
or in the hip vernacular, they were just
“keeping it real” How many times have were heard the
worn out Arnold Schwarzeneger excuse, “Well,
he can kill 100 people in a movie and nobody says a
word, but when we….” To a point they were very right
but to a point they were very wrong. The young rappers
underestimated the depths that this society would go
to to prevent the " rising of a Black messiah." or to
destroy anything that would serve as a catalyst for
social change. As Neely Fuller once said "if you do
not understand white supremacy, everything else will
just confuse you."

In the early 90’s the Anti-gansta rap forces in the
black community formed a dangerous alliance with white
conservatives that had no love for black youth from
the “giddy up” They took the lead on the “gangsta rap
issue” under the guise of “family values.” So the
battle against negative lyrics became an attack on
black youth. Instead of rap that talked about drugs
and violence being attacked, all rappers that rapped
about anything stronger then “Parents Just Don’t
Understand” (Will Fresh Prince Smith) were seen as the

Since the Pan Africanist community ,who could have
“attacked “ the negative rap but not the rapper, or
“love the sinner but hate the sin“, were still banned
from the media , the only people that our youth saw
preaching against negative lyrics were old preachers
and civil rights crusaders. The media loved promoting
the image of the C. Delores Tuckers as the poster
children of morality in music. For over two years the
battle raged between the the Hip Hop Nation and
The Family Values Nation.

The real turning point came with the LA Rebellion
(called by the white media the LA Riots or the Rodney
King Verdict Aftermath). Until then, the effect of
rap music on the minds of black youth was still a
matter of debate. Could the rebellious words of the
rappers, actually be manifested in the actions of
Afrikan youth?
White America wondered “ if we really ticked black
people off would they really Fight the Power, as
rap group Public Enemy urged ?" In May of 1992, white
America’s worst nightmare was realized when thousands
of black people took to the streets with rap music
supplying the background music. White
reporters were shocked when interviewing “gang
members” that they could articulate the oppression of
Afrikan people both nationally and globally. Rap with
a message had to be stopped by any means necessary.

When the dust settled the gangsta rappers emerged
stronger than ever, the Family Values people emerged
with more political clout and the only casualties of
war were the “conscious rappers.” Was it a coincidence
that the majority of rappers that did not make it
through "Rap Armegedon” were the “conscious rappers”
(Sister Souljah, X Clan, Public Enemy, Paris) And the
ones that did make it did a 180 degree turn and got
smart, finding out that the “gangsta” style was the
safer and more lucrative wave of the future.(ie Ice
) So in the end, it was not gangsta rap that
destroyed positive rap it was the anti -gangsta rap
forces that put the nail in the coffin of problack

So what was left was symbol without substance or as
the Temptations sang, “ a ball of confusion.” All of
the energy that was created by Public Enemy and Paris
had no oulet. Our children knew that they were being
attacked but without the guidance of the Pan
Africanist community, had no idea who the enemy was.
They became modern day rebels without a cause.

During this period, most of the black radio stations
were in the process of being brought up by white mega
corporations and most of the black issues talk shows
had been taken off the air. So the minds of our people
were ripe for the picking. What corporate America
said was cool, was cool what corporate America said
was “black” was “black.” So Vanilla Ice and Eminem
could be “black” because they fit the corporate image.
(baggy pants, lots of profanity)

The enemy was no longer “the man” or a racist
,oppressive system, the media promoted the idea that the black man was the
enemy who must be destroyed. We were no longer
“brothers” or "Strong Black men" we were nigga’s ,
real nigga’s doing real things looking to bust a cap
in another nigga. We were not Nubian Kings, protecting
our Nubian Queens, we were their pimps and they were
our ho's. Any remnants of positive rap became easily
currupted so the Revolution that would not be
televised became "basketball" (according to the
Nike commercial by KRS-One). Even the new "conscious"
rappers talked about "blunts" and used profanity so
much that their positive message seemed to get lost in
the clutter.

It seems that the music that we created has become
just another tool for the oppression of the Afrikan
mind. So that is why today all of the music sounds the same.

The music of 1990 sounds the same as the music
of 2001. Our youth seem to be all talking, acting and
dressing the same. Why, because it is easier to
control a monolithic people. As it is said once you
control a man’s thinking, you do not have to worry
about how he will act.

Our challenge to day is to regain our power to define.
What it means to be “black” and what it means to be a
"freedom fighter." We must come back home to our
Afrikan selves.

Most people would not place the solving of the Hip Hop
Conspiracy in the same category with where is Jimmy
or who shot Martin Luther King . But does it
matter for those of us Afrikans still in the struggle ?

You bet your Timberland boots it does.

Min. Paul Scott's blog is He can be reached at (919) 451-8283