Dear editor: I am writing this letter with hopes of reaching the souls and the intellect of those in this country and across the world who are sensitive to the plight of people of African descent living in America. I will get right down to the point of this letter. I have grown sick and tired of most Black male rappers lyrically attacking Black men and women in their raps.
Since the murder of rapper, Tupac Shakur, almost eight years ago, there seems to have been an overflow of rappers whose sole purpose for being in the rap game is to amass monetary and material gains. This, however, is not a huge crime in my book. In fact, it is the philosophy of the very system under which we all exist, it is called capitalism.
I only have a problem when the rappers use Black people as a violent stepping-stone to reach their economical goals. I have a problem when most Black male rappers today seem to willingly participate out of greed, self hatred, and ignorance in the perpetuation of negative images of Black people in order to gain a buck or a piece of jewelry. I am well aware of who is in control of the money at the record labels that aid and even encourage the proliferation of violence against Black men and women through the lyrics and imagery of the rap music that is purchased by the bulk all over the world. Trust me, none of the people in control look like Jay-Z, 50 Cent or even Russell Simmons.
I have observed that whenever there is an attempt made to address violent images in the rap industry in a forum or in a letter to the editor type situation, rap middle men like Russell Simmons, as well as the performers of this brand of rap, always come up with some bull or line about rap music not being the sole cause of some of the ills that plague the neighbor “hoods” where a lot of Black American youths and families live and play.
These people actually try to defend the relevance of the crap that they puke up on the MIC, on each CD, and in most live concerts. This is the one line that kills me the most, “If it were not for rapping and the rap game, most young Black men would not be able to get out of the ‘hood’ or even be able to feed their families.” Hmmm, I wonder how thousands, and even millions, of black people in this country made strides and overcame enormous obstacles to become successful in the past without having to resort to destroying their own people in the process.
Amazingly, most of these strides were made during the height of Jim Crow (segregation laws) and public lynching. I think determination, education, creativity, self-love, and guts had a lot to do with it. I am of the opinion that many of the brothers and sisters in today’s society tend to be weak and lacking in those characteristics mentioned a couple of lines earlier. Most of today’s Black male rappers seem to possess the attitude of not caring about anybody that looks like them when it comes to making music. It is almost as if most Black male rappers are handed a prepared script by White and Jewish owned record companies to follow if they want to become what is now viewed as “a success” in the rap industry.
It makes me sick when a right wing Conservative like a Bill O’Reilly, has to let us (Black people) know when one among us is making us look foolish in the eyes of the world. I could not care less about that piss-ant, Bill O’Reilly, but I think he told the truth and also did us (the Black community) a favor when he convinced Pepsi to drop Ludacris from their commercials.
I think Russell Simmons should have never gotten involved in that fight. In getting in the middle of that particular situation, I think Russell Simmons sent out an incorrect message to Black youths and people in general that chicken and coonin’ is cool, and we should strive to do that because it gets you paid. I am tired of Black male rappers calling Black men N*g*ers and portraying all of us as pimps in their rap songs while going along with the proliferation of that image in their music videos.
I am also tired of them referring to Black women as hoes, b*tc*es, chickens and whatever else they come up with that is totally opposite of what God created. I am sick of the rationales and excuses they give for the attack on Black. Here is one of my favorites “Man, it is just entertainment.”
That is the same bull line that’s used by so many of the deejays and on-air radio personalities in Memphis and across the country who play these songs over the air. These same deejays also use this line, “It’s my job to give the people what they want to hear.” They will say anything to justify “selling out” and to keep a job on the air.
Anyway, my challenge to Black male rappers who attack Black people in their lyrics is to either stop the madness and destruction or at least write and produce raps and/or songs that attack all ethic and racial groups equally, instead of mainly concentrating on Black people.
Since we are talking about giving the people what they want to hear, making money, and “entertaining” people, I hope this suggestion of “equality in music” does not take very long to take start bumping across our radio airways, in our car speakers, and on appearing on our television screens.
– Rico Rivers