Hip Hop Reality

“Don’t get mad.  I’m just being real.” – Snoop Dog

“We were just doing our jobs.” – hypothetical cracker OR Afrikaaner jailer OR Italo-fascist in Ethiopia OR Nazi doctor.

Should hip hop and any other art form have an ethical compass?  Should art be free of such considerations?  What about when it’s not artistic?

5 comments

  1. As a woman with a daughter and a granddaughter, I don’t much like hip hop. I am not their target market anyway, although the kids are, and I won’t pretend to know much about it, even the good stuff – some of which I have actually just read, like poetry, when it’s been pointed out to me. That, I like.

    Should hip hop and any other art form have an ethical compass? Should art be free of such considerations? What about when it’s not artistic?

    Such an iffy area there. I am not sure, with art, you can say “should” to an ethical compass for the artist themselves – although most seem to have one of some sort of another. And then you have the consumers of the art – does their ethical compass matter?

    Then again, when things are mass produced and corporate driven for the bottom line, as some of (what I consider the worst) hiphop apparently is, when does it cease to be “art” and just become another product? I don’t know that I would see that sort of thing as “art” any more than I would the cover of a cereal box on grocery store shelves. It’s a product for mass consumption and mass returns on investment – the most shocking often returning the greatest profit, so it’s just slapped with the cover of “artistic expression” and sent on its merry way.

    In my opinion, anyway.

  2. That’s a great comparison. I can imagine the pseudo-outrage of commercial rappers at having their products compared to cereal boxes. Oh, the humanity. That’s absolutely hilarious. Thanks.

  3. I like Nanette’s cereal box analogy. I guess there’s not much to say about a product’s ethical compass when the entire operation is a scam in the first place.

    On the other hand, there’s also underground progressive hip hop and spoken word poetry slam, which, from what I’ve heard, does have a very strong ethical compass, and is in my opinion more “real” than the ice-crusted stripper pole world of pop rappers.

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