“it’s only right i hijack your car keys and run, spent all of my advancement on weed and guns”
– D12 (Shit on You)
Words are stronger than we can imagine. If someone I can’t trust owes me money and on the date he was supposed to pay I can’t find him I’ll have hope if the mtn operator says his number is “not reachable” but i’ll feel conned the moment the zain operator says “the number is switched off”. A different sentence gives a different ideal; even a different word does the same. This explains why the Americans survived the period of recession in their economy: simply because they made sure they never called it recession. The moment that word is used, there would have been panic that would have crumbled the economy.
While words are so powerful in terms of orientation, there is an equally, if not more powerful, controller of emotions: musical instruments. So when words and musical instruments are put together your emotion is captured while an orientation is given. Now the question becomes: what does it stare up in you?
It’s often said that Hip Hop started as a struggle, it began in response to the suffering of the black people under slavery and oppression in America. That is one way to look at it. Another way to look at it however is that Hip Hop started as hate for the white man, whether this hate is justified is not the issue under discussion. It started when the black man needed to drive home his point that he is God while the white man is the devil. This hate culture is part and parcel of Hip hop and this is why there is the concept of ‘Battle’ and ‘Beef’. Battle is an act in the street corners or wherever whereby two supposedly grown up adults, under no provocation, stand face to face and engage in verbal humiliation. And the subject of this humiliation is most times based on how ‘i slept with your mama’ and ‘how i slept with your sister’. Nobody battles another and say ‘your brother is an armed robber’ because in Hip hop armed robbery is a good reputation. So sad is the situation that there’s a battle programme presently on mtv called Yo Mama! And someone gets paid for winning, in other words he insults people’s mama better. And the ladies should understand this: when the an Hip hop artist talks of a bitch he is referring to ALL women, that’s why they say good bitch and bad bitch, but all bitches have one thing in common; check your dictionary. Tupac makes the point that all women, according to them, are bitched clear:
“i learnt not to trust a bitch from the prostitutes…” (Hell Razor)
“money bring bitches…” (Another useless cut whose name i’ve gladly forgotten)
Not only is the battle about humiliating women, no one will be polite enough to say “slept with”, you know the word they’ll use: four letters. The same four letter word you find all over these hip hop songs so much so that when it is edited sometimes the chorus is left with just instrumentals. The battles they say are not personal yet impersonally (if there’s a word like that) they insult each other’s mothers and sisters. What’s personal is when it’s a beef
Beef, on its part, is an extension of a battle. Beef is when two persons in the culture have a quarrel and they do not only battle, sometimes guns are drawn. The guns are so part of Hip hop that gun cracking forms part of the instrumental sometimes.
So what effect do all of these and those I purposely have not mentioned have on the listeners?
- Hiphop puts a good reputation to crime by presenting someone you love in that light and giving it a good name. E.g. Snoop dog wants you to believe he is a pimp, Olu Maintain claims Yahoo, another artist calls himself Bone Crusher, another calls himself Sticky Fingers (i.e. a thief), and one even calls himself Old Dirty Bastard (of the Wu Tang Clan), others are called Bizzare, Gangstarrs, Outlawz, e.t.c.
- If it doesn’t make you commit what they pride themselves of committing, it makes you forget the severity of such crimes. How many ladies today, some of them even relatively decent, are into MI. Yet the man says “i’am a girl teaser, big booty squeezer….” and they sing along. I also was unfortunate to always hear people singing a song that was almost only saying “i like that booty,…” but guess what, it was from a female classmate that i first heard one of the lines from the song “i like that over loaooood…”, when i asked if she heard herself she said “well well..”
- It creates the illusion that life should be all about enjoyment hence people oriented by it will never have true peace of mind and will constantly run after pleasures just like they say life is too short so enjoy yourself whereas the orientation should be that since life is too short leave like a passerby and prepare for the next and everlasting life
- It fluent imaginary resources like Jay Z once rhyme about how he “ships a meal…” (Money Ain’t a Thing) i.e. he imports his every single meal! Ridiculous claims like this coupled with show of flashy cars only creates the burning desire to be rich by any means necessary. Any means necessary includes robbing your neighbour.
- Creates a thug mentality where the criminal is the deal and the one who reports to the police is the snitch deserving death. A thug mentality that settles issues by the gun, a thug mentality that means if you have a car stereo it needs to be loud so that you can tell those without a car that you are a man, a thug mentality that makes people put their trousers in their buttocks even when it clearly doesn’t make sense and is not even convenient to do so, a thug mentality that creates scum and worthless individuals whose only relationship with society is parasitic in that they compete for air and space with productive human beings
- It humiliates and gives our women a bad reputation. Ever wondered why the first thing the man who quarrels with you call you is Ashawo? Yes because even when he smiles with you and act as if he respects you, he always saw you as ashawo. Your colleague in school or work may not call you that because they are enlightened: enlightened enough to not call you not to not think that you are. Hip hop is part of those things that make every woman seem bad
- Needless to say it promotes drugs, alcoholism, and prostitution, just make your list.
What about the good Hip hop? Like we used to call it; Deep Rap, Spitting Jewels, Dropping Knowledge. It’s all a deception because at the end of the day it draws you into a circle that draws you to the same vices earlier stated. An example is seen of Scarface who drops such deep lines but in the same album the 11th track he goes “Hotel, Motel,….” I can’t afford to continue.
Hip hop is a culture: a bad culture.
By Eseoghene Ohwojeheri