Hip-hop music has evolved over time along with certain movements. We had comical and political hip-hop of the 80’s and 90’s, conscientious hip-hop then “cool” hip-hop which eventually morphed into the problem of cool-thuggish gangsta hip-hop that is so prevalent in U.S. society today. If we are to begin to address the problems that cool-thuggish gangsta hip hop brings to the black culture, we need to address the root of the problem which is a culture striving to make it in a historically oppressive society.
In a capitalistic society, entrepreneurial endeavors thrive because of profits deriving from a target market. In this eco-system in which we live where everything is related and bound by the laws of cause and effect, there is a culture that perpetuates itself on this type of music. So our problem is not so much hip-hop but it is that the most profitable and successful types these days which seem to be the thug-gangsta hip-hop genre. It is glamorized and the children look up to these types as role models whom they try to emulate.
What we must do to address this problem
We need to make black “nerd” and conscientious hip-hop the standard of thing to which to aspire. In the 80’s and 90’s there were several hip-hop bands that rose to prominence (and some lesser known) because of their style of hip-hop. Artists such as Boogie Down Productions (BDP), X-Clan, Intelligent Hoodlum, Public Enemy, Lakim Shabazz and a slew of others who mostly advocated knowledge of self and unity to make it out of the economic rut that we are currently in.
To begin weaning ourselves of this culture so that it does not have a negative impact on the livelihoods of so many of the cool-thuggish gangsta hip-hop bands is they should look at transforming their words into a more conscientious style like both Public Enemy and BDP were successful in breaking away from cool-crime related songs in the 80’s. If the current thuggish-gangsta artists really cared about the black culture and had a love for self, they would start to rhyme and produce music about what it really takes to make it in this society and other successful groups have figured this out a long time ago.
Another thing we can collectively do is if this type of music continues to be produced then we must form a coalition to boycott or abstain from buying thuggish-gangsta hip-hop so that the record companies see that it is no longer profitable.
More positive role-models needed
While we have some positive role models in our community, blacks need to unite and do more in the overall community as leaders to make the change and progress that is needed. Imagine the type of change groups like Prodigy of Mobb Deep began to have on black society in the United States once he started producing more black conscientious music.