Why I Stopped Listening to Hip-Hop Part 1

Before I start ranting, I need to point out one thing… I have loved hip-hop and have always been a head from day one… from the time when I first heard the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”, I was instantly hooked. I also remember very clearly that during the 80s, I was one of very few Kenyan’s who actively sought out and listened to mainly rap music… ahh… the good ole days! I laugh now when I think back how all my buddies thought I was really lame for listening to “break-dance” music as they called it and how they insisted that music was just a fad that would soon fade away and that since break-dancing was dead, I too also needed to bury the music and move on with the times. Well? Rap didn’t die, it is still here with us. I would argue though that rap today is simply a shadow of what it was in the early to mid 80s.

So, what happened? How did hip-hop come to be a shadow of its former past? Let me start by looking back at a couple of significant events that happened in the mid to late 80s. I still clearly remember the first rap music tapes that I bought that contained violent and extremely explicit lyrics. This was in 1987. Although folks like Ice-T was the original gangster, rapping about the violent life in LA as a gangster (and he had his fair share of controversial tracks), when NWA came out with their album titled “Straight Outta Compton” in 1988 this album in my opinion was the turning point in the whole gangsta rap genre.. I think in part, living in LA was a huge influence in the music of both Ice-T and N.W.A and understanding the history of LA, the gangs and the LAPD is key to understanding their lyrics… But I digress… A year later a group called 2 Live Crew came out with an album titled, “As Nasty As They Wanna Be.” This album has the most sexually explicit (c)rap I had ever heard. Talk about verbal porn diarrhea! Now l must be totally honest with you, at that time, when I first got these albums, I thought the music was totally awesome and the rappers were geniuses. Maybe it was the rebellious teenager in me. I had quite a collection of such music and in fact it so happened that I stopped buying music that did not have the parental advisory label in the front. I think for many people today, this sort of attitude is the norm. But as the years went by, as I grow-up and matured and also as I rediscovered my Christian faith, I slowly but surely came to the realization that this type of rap music was absolute and utter trash. Not only are many of the lifestyles promoted by many of these rappers degrading to women (and to men too) but a lot of the music encourages destructive lifestyles and has set back the African American community in many ways…

This is part of an article that I wrote for Nubian Underground. The complete article can be found by going to this link.

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