Rappin’ Against the Right Wing: Can Hip Hop Save Black America?

Paul Scott, Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina), April 12, 2010

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For the last year, anti-black behavior has escalated from racist propaganda being promoted on radio stations to black Congressmen being called racial slurs and spat upon. All over the country Right Wing racists are rallying thousands of people, while rappers are too busy buying rims for their Escalades to notice.

Since Hip Hop has always prided itself as being the true voice of the black community, you would think that rap artists would be on the front line fighting against these disses to black folks.

Not so.

So far, there have been, relatively, few Hip Hoppers calling out the Right Wingers. This is not to say that there aren’t any rap artists speaking out on issues, as there are “raptavists” in communities across the country. However, most have heard about the attacks that came upon such political artists such as Professor Griff and Sister Souljah in the 80’s/90’s and don’t want the same thing to happen to them.

One of the by products of Hip Hop has been black male rebelliousness. This is why the media were quick to blame incidents of racial unrest such as the Virginia Beach and LA rebellions (riots) of the late 80’s/early 90’s on the music of groups like Public Enemy. Immediately, the music industry went to work to replace revolutionary Hip Hop with gangsta tales of black on black homicide and chemical genocide (crack sales). During the following decade, since “racism” became less overt, the black male aggressiveness generated by Hip Hop was used on other black males.

However, with racism becoming more “in your face” over the last year, the “powers that be” don’t want to risk the fratricidal message of gangsta rap to be misinterpreted as a call to “fight the power.” They know that with a change of a couple of words, a 50 Cent song becomes a Public Enemy-like call to organize collectively for political and economic power.

Although, “gangsta’s” are notoriously, politically apathetic, even the most hardcore thug will become outraged if while flippin’ the channel between Hip Hop stations, he hears a conservative radio host call him a “no good bum who will never amount to anything” and his mother a “lazy welfare queen.”

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Should Hip Hoppers, be more than a little concerned that Right Wingers are currently organizing major events across the country from Sean Hannity’s “Conservative Victory Tour” and Tea Party Express rallies to the upcoming Second Amendment Rally, where thousands of ticked off good ol boys will show up outside of DC locked and loaded on April 19th.

You bet, they should.

Regardless of how one feels about Hip Hop as an art form or pseudo-culture, at this point, Hip Hoppers are perhaps the most capable of organizing a mass resistance against the Tea Party and other ultra Conservatives.

Although, the Tea Partiers are able to organize thousands of people to show up at protests, rap artists have the potential to do the same if they were so, politically, inclined.

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Perhaps, most important, is the Hip Hop vernacular. Just as the Right Wing folks are able to use code words such as “illegals,” “inner city youth” and “states rights” to galvanize their base, rappers also have slang terms to mobilize their fans toward political action right under the noses of unsuspecting Republicans.

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It is past time that Hip Hop artists used their collective talents to do more than spread ghetto tales about strippers and drug sells.

This is why I am calling for a Right Wing Rap Attack (www.facebookbook.com/rightwingrapattack), where Hip Hop artists will challenge conservative commentators instead of dissin’ each other and will organize for political advocacy instead of coming up with new dances.

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