Is gangsta rap a force for good?

Uncompromising and groundbreaking: NWA

*****

What rhymes with bigger?
What rhymes with trigger?
What rhymes with figure, jigga, gravedigger and cigarette?
What rhymes with the friend of Winnie the Pooh who wasn’t Eeyore, Christopher Robin or Piglet?

It’s a versatile word, yes, but the world would definitely be better if every rapper was banned from using his favourite epithet
It goes without saying that its flippant use in pop songs has got to be wrong
To spray the word like dirty fertiliser upon the earth
To use the term to wrap raps around is absurd
When we heard that if this word was spoken by black men
Their contribution would always be token

Right?

Maybe,
But why did Ice Cube name his band NWA and not BMEMWA:
Black Minority Ethnic Men With Attitude?
Could it be that he had learnt that men like him
Had spent 400 years not even being seen
So when he got up on the mic
Forgoed platitudes about the American Dream
Instead got heard by lacing his verse with savage language
So a racist could hear everything he was afraid of
From unrestrained hate through to pussy lust and gun love

This wasn’t high art
But vexed brothers blazing a path
Giving a generation of wordsmiths the chance
To exercise their first amendment right to rhyme tight
On worthy subjects like hoes, blunts and Smith & Wessons
Until rap became more all-American than John Wayne westerns
And 20 years after Straight Outta Compton
And two decades of relentlessly negative self-portraits of black men
America had such a low opinion of this race of untermensch
That they rejected a white war hero, and elected a black President

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3 thoughts on “Is gangsta rap a force for good?

  1. Great piece. It’s powerful to see folks really trying to explore issues like this in hip-hop cause they can often go overlooked. I think you might like my blog, Rhymes and Reasons. It is a series of interviews with hip-hop heads who discuss their lives in the context of a few songs that matter to them. The interviews tend to focus on powerful issues like the one that you are discussing.

    http://thisisrhymesandreasons.wordpress.com/

  2. Gansta rap is of course a force for good. hundreds of millions of album sales and a generation of inspired kids can’t be sullied by the race-hate mob struggling for column inches to decry what they cannot achieve: purpose.

  3. You cannot flower the truth, each person’s truth is different. Excellent response to a video that changed my feelings about a word I was scared of using, I don’t fear it anymore, I just don’t use it or much other racist language. Off to find out what untermensch means….

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