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Kanye the Narcissist

Narcissism is the concept of excessive interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance. Some research has shown a correlation between narcissism and consumer tendencies to exemplify “personal uniqueness” For example a rapper buying an expensive chain or car to represent the degree of success. A mindset was not as prominent in the early stages of Hip Hop culture especially in conscious Hip Hop.

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Birdman and Lil Wayne of Cash Money Records

Fueled by a their blind narcissism, rappers’s usual message in their music how much funds “in the bank” they have accumulated thorough the “hustle” which is drug selling,
prostitution in their own community. For the sole purpose of being respected in a capitalistic society that sees money as power. Looking back at the history of African Americans who were enslaved and denied rights for being different. Which leads me to think maybe most MC’s overcompensate for the lack of ability to do so in the past.

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The Drug Game and Violence

Even during the 90’s  “Golden Era” the selling of crack and murder were prominent in lyrics and videos. Tupac who is regarded as one of the best MC’s to ever touch the mic was gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996 in a feud between another legend The Notorious B.I.G, who was also killed in retaliation a year later. Both MC’s are respected as idols in the culture but were victims to the music they “consciously”  rapped about. This incident was a foreshadow to what the future had in store for Hip Hop.

“Rap music”  unlike “conscious Hip Hop ” is focused on accumulating riches through the criminal activity like drug selling and pimping of women. This is what the “industry” deems “profitable” and “Hip”.Contemporary “Emcees” like Rick Ross who sellout and pushes a persona of a “feared drug dealer” for a selfish desire to increase marketability. The “lack of accountability” on the part of Rick Ross aka William Roberts, is apparent in the use of an image that is detrimental to the black community. This behavior correlates with studies done that prove people who are suffering from narcissism lack the awareness of their actions to others. The more disturbing fact is that Rick Ross the rapper is nothing but a literal “fake” who stole the persona from an actual New York cocaine king pin named “Freeway Ricky Ross”.

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The Real Drug lord “Freeway Ricky Ross”

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Rick Ross “The Boss”

…Sex Sells

This ideology with “depictions of crude materialism, spectacular hyper sexuality, and black interracial violence”. Women have become nothing but objects of social status, and are as sex symbols in commercialized rap music. Could this be the product of a “world more concerned with marketability then righteousness” ?

Lyrics from Snoop Dogg

“Bitches ain’t shit but ho’s and tricks / lick on this nuts and suck the dick”

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Snoop Dogg on the red carpet “walking” to lovely ladies.

Lost in Translation

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Being that the United States is predominantly white population. Making the black community and other ethnic races a minority. How can Hip hop become so trendy in a society that the culture sought to contrast? Can anyone see the irony? I sure do and I think maybe the industry exploited “rap music” to profit off an audience that does not care about any outdated civil rights narrative on the radio. Which may factor into the mass appeal gained by “rap music” that allowed media outlets like MTV to build a billion dollar industry that we all see today. Yet, further studies need to be done to link exploitation of “rap music” in America.

What does it mean to be “Hip”?

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Imagine if Dr.Martin Luther King rapped his “I have a Dream” speech. That is what conscious Hip Hop essentially is . Through the cleverness of rhyme schemes groups like A Tribe Called Quest, De la Soul, Public Enemy and The Fugees challenged the social, and economic status of the African-American in U.S society. Lauryn Hill of the Fugees, who is often regarded as the “Queen of Hip Hop” represented the independent black women in society that will be victimized by consumerism, and the “all mighty dollar”.


Lyrics from “Neurotic Society”

“People stuck in dichotomies, pseudo-sicko anxieties
Serial criminals dressed in variety
Social transvestisms, subliminal dressed up as piety
Transforms projections like Cartesian images
Robbing innocence, stealing inheritance
Quiet victims with no defense betrayed over dollars and cents
Maladjusted ignorant malediction and dissonance
Too much addiction, no consciousness
Don’t trust it, this cosmology is busted”

-Lauryn Hill

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Other Conscious Emcees like KRS-One continued the ideology of “Hip Hop being a way of life” by expressing the importance of an seeking knowledge and articulating your opinion through the elements of Hip Hop. His goal to heighten the “consciousness” of the black community. Becoming an advocate against gun-violence after his friend DJ Scott La Rock was gunned down.

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KRS-ONE (Knowledge Reign Supreme Over Nearly Everyone)

Lyrics from “Hip Hop Lives”

Hip means to know, it’s a form of intelligence
To be hip is to be update and relevant
Hop is a form of movement
You can’t just observe a hop, you gotta hop up and do it

Hip and hop is more than music
Hip is the knowledge, hop is the movement
Hip and Hop is intelligent movement
Or relevant movement we sellin the music

 

Read more: KRS One – Hip-Hop Lives Lyrics | MetroLyric

The academic community celebrates “conscious” Hip Hop as being “positive, conscious, and progressive”. A sense of communal pride was being represented in this music. Optimistic narratives of self-respect, intellectual creativity was the utmost priority which was fueled by  a “David vs Goliath” attitude.

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Hip Hop 101

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DJ Woody on Hip Hop’s birth.

Our beloved culture of Hip Hop was forged in the minds of rhythmic geniuses like Africa Bambaataa and Dj Kool Herc who thrived at neighborhood block parties in  Bronx, New york during the 1970’s. This movement was fueled by a proud African heritage, which took the ideas of civil rights and expressed them through this four essential “elements”.

1. Emcee (MC)
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Known as the master of ceremony which through art of rhyming a series of words holds the attention of the crowd. Through poetic word structures, MC’s blow minds with complex uses of literary devices. Research has traced back the roots of the term “rapping” to the Wolof language of West Africa.

“Excuse me, flows just grow through me
Like trees to branches
Cliffs to avalanches
It’s the praying mantis
Deep like the mind of Farrakhan
A mother****** rap phenomenon..”

-The Notorious B.I.G

2. Disc-jockey (Dj)
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A producer back behind a turntable this living tool of sound controls the tempo of any beat which the MC raps over. A pure mastermind with sound,  no song of any genre is safe from being sampled or looped.

3. Breakdancer (B-Boy)
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The personification of the Dj’s beat. Through body movement this artist “acts out” and matches the music.

4. Graffiti Artist (Bomber)
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The visual element of the artform  which was used mostly aerosol cans to paint their urban environment. The canvas usually consisted of Subways and Alley ways but was not limited to.

These elements became the foundation for a movement that created a culture which defined a generation but more importantly it united a people.