Originally Posted by zachus
hey man -
I just find it hard to believe that the state of rough neighbourhoods can be blamed on hip-hop .....[rest of the post is full of great commentary]
Great post, Zachus. He told us all to "fuck off", so I'd like to support your post. As Zachus was alluding to, there's an element of ethnocentrism in the attacks on hip-hop. Other cultural mediums just aren't held to the same standard.
With the exception of a small but temporary escalation a few years ago, gun violence has been going down in the United States since the mid 1990s. Ironically, that's when gansta raps' most public fueds began to surface. That is, the west coast vs east coast stuff. Gansta rap sales went up, while gun violence went down. The boom in the economy, during the second Clinton administration, had far more of an impact on people's lives than the music did. The emergence of gansta rap was more a mirror effect. You know, art and entertainment mirroring society. Fighting poverty, stoping institutional racism, and handling the drug war differently, will all do more to stop gun violence than eliminating a particular genre of art/music. In some places in Canada, such as Manitoba and Quebec, the Hells Angels (biker gangs) are responsible for a lot of the violence in poor neighbourhoods...it's drug related turf wars with collateral damage. Gun violene is not the same everywhere in Canada. It has a lot to do with what types of local gangs are "running things" and what level of competition there is for "control of the streets."
This all started with a comment about not supporting music that isn't a 100% positive. How can a person live a fufilling life if they only support art and creativity that is a 100% positive. Much of the entertainment/art produced is not 100% positive, as Zachus was mentioning. If art and entertainment mediums are going to shed light on the human condition, then, almost by definition, they will have to shed light on, and mirror, really shitty stuff. Now, having said that, I sometimes listen to songs that go overboard with the swearing and negative comments towards others. But some of those same songs make very astute observations about life. It's unfortunate, but many songs have good statements mixed with bad ones. Can a person really live an enjoyable, well rounded life if they are only going to listen to, read, or watch art and entertainment that is 100% positive? What a boring life.
Some of the best quotes I've ever read have come from terrible people, like Nazis or communist dictators, who supported aweful things that led to lots of deaths. Like gangsta rappers, those people shouldn't be looked at as role models, but their words shouldn't be completely dismissed either. It's ethnocentric to hold one type of cultural or artistic medium to a standard that is not being applied to other forms of written expression. In the Chinese culture, the words of Mao might offer inspiration, even though his words and policies led to millions of deaths. Personally, I find the following quotes to be worth repeating:
"Sweat saves blood, blood saves lives, and brains saves both." - Erwin Rommel
"You fight your war and I'll fight mine." - Mao
I'm not completely shutting myself off from Rommell and Mao's words just because some of their other statements are disgusting. Similarly, I am not going to stop listening to Wax or Tupac just because they make some statements I disagree with. Again, it would be a boring life if I shut myself off from these things just because they are not 100% positive. Again, great post, Zachus.