Consciousness goes mainstream in hip hop

Diane,

Here’s a strange new trend: popular rappers who sell millions of albums (even after the bottom dropped out of the industry) releasing tracks with a… waddayacallit?… a MESSAGE.  Interesting. 

In this corner, we have Big Boi and Mary J. Blige with the lead single from Daddy Fat Sacks’s forthcoming solo record.  Message: the economy sucks and is killing folks.

And in this corner, Nas hits us up with his pro-‘Bama single, “Black President.”  Message: cautious optimism about the possibility of Obama getting elected.

And as long as I’m linking new hip hop with a message, check out this track from Killer Mike and Ice Cube, even though Mike isn’t a big name and therefore this has only a little to do with the point of this post.  Message: uh, I don’t think I’m qualified to sum this one up.  But it’s a damn heavy track.

In retrospect, I think Kanye telling us that George Bush doesn’t care about black people might have been some kind of spark.  We can probably also thank the recession and bubbling political climate we’re in.  It’s a very positive trend, to me – so much mainstream hip hop of the last few years (hate to say it, but basically since the South took over) has been completely substance-free.  We need more artists stirring the pot and – to borrow a Pharcydeism – kickin’ somethin’ that means somethin’.

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7 Responses to Consciousness goes mainstream in hip hop

  1. JimPanzee says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t link to Nas’s “Sly Fox,” since it’s newer than Black President…and since it comes in conjunction with his work with Color of Change:

  2. JimPanzee says:

    My bad, those links is all expired out. Try this on instead.

    Skip ahead to the second segment to see the “news” coverage that inspired the work. Skip ahead to the third segment for the interview with Nas.

    Then skip ahead to the fourth section for the actual song. Or just watch the whole show….you should be watching anyway.

  3. themcp says:

    on a different, but somewhat related note, how about snoop’s new bollywood venture?

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/bollywood/article4435826.ece

  4. Woah. I honestly think a Snoop album with Bollywood-style music (“Bombay the Hard Way,” anyone?) would be awesome.

  5. Ryan says:

    A positive trend, no doubt. I’m not sure the underground artists that have been preaching the same message will get much exposure from it, but the political and economic message has just been so negative and unrelenting that it’s impossible to ignore.

  6. Jen Fu says:

    I initially misread Killer Mike and Ice Cube as KILLER MICE.

    I want a rapper called that, please.

  7. I will make this happen for you. Killer Mice got to get his cheese!

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