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Hip-Hop: The Cultural Rebuild

Hip-Hop: The Cultural Rebuild


Written by: LITESKIN


The brain is very much like a muscle. If not worked out efficiently, it will lose its structural

make ­up and deteriorate. If not on a proper diet, it can lose its density and wither away. So it

should come to no shock when someone says, “our enemies will take us out by attacking the mind

first”. Even in the world of boxing, it is a very well­-known strategy to “damage the head, and the

body will follow suit”. With that being said, there is no wonder why major finances seemed to be

HipHop: The Cultural Rebuild dumped into the destruction of a people. What exactly does that mean,

right? Well, listen (read) closely; For years, people who have fought through oppression and against the

feelings and proof of inequality have battled in unnecessary and unjust wars. Poverty stricken “projects”

and strategic miseducation through school systems, made for the perfect backdrop to one of the most

powerful creations in our generation: That creation would be named, “HipHop” and this is where

HipHop was birthed through the artistic minds of geniuses, who may not have even known

what they were creating at the time. The main purpose was to get a party hype and get some

people moving. It was all in fun and was all done for the sake of feeling good. Then, it shortly

transitioned into a median and stage to voice concerns. People with righteous hearts and minds

saw the power of what getting on a microphone meant. There was a need to speak on the unfair

living conditions that seemed to only plague those who lived within the inner­city and economical

handicaps. The other elements definitely played a major part in HipHop as DJ’s spun and cut up

records for the audio; Graffiti Artists sprayed their Picasso like expressions on walls for the visuals,

and BreakDancers took to the frontline to show rhythmic movement for our cultural norms but the

MC, that was always “The Voice” of our people. And that’s not to say that any of the elements are

more important than the other but, each one played its position to make an impactful enlightening

and truthful movement. A movement that allowed the, “First Amendment of Freedom of Speech”

to be utilized (to a certain extent) in an important and detrimental manner.

At this day and age, it might be seen to most that this is a moot point. Nowadays, if you’re an

artist and not making dough, then you’re just a waste of time. This may bring forth the question,

“So, why write this article? Why jump into wishful thinking of wanting now, what once was?” And

then I run into this gem performed by David “D­Black” Roberts entitled, “I Apologize”.

Granted, this is about six years old but, how can time matter when a piece is so timeless?

Furthermore, why would anything other than the honest truth matter when that cold hard fact feels

like a freight train slapping you across your face, when it hits? Every sentiment that we should all

have as intelligent humans is displayed and expressed through this testimony. So much so, that

you should probably feel ashamed for not feeling a certain way if you yourself have not done your

part to demand more.

Look, our identities have been severed and one of the strongest things to come from our

hardships, has been transformed to a joke for those that wouldn’t understand those hardships. In

many aspects, it’s reminiscent to the famous scene in the movie, “Roots”.

No matter how prideful and strong LeVar Burton was as he stood up for himself while getting

whipped, he eventually cracked and claimed to be that of which pleased his oppressor. Is this

getting too deep or, is the rugged reality starting to sink in? In layman’s terms, WE the PEOPLE of

HIPHOP, have been physically, spiritually, and mentally whipped into becoming that of which is

not our image but only, the image of those that only wish to harm us. As powerful as “Kunta”

became “Toby”, was who it was that was actually whipping him. Are you starting to see the

correlation now? We are turned against each other and our own people are usually the ones

doing the dirty work against us. Yes, there is always a person or people pulling strings and

puppeteering. Disgustingly though, we are taught and wired to not want to fight against them, as

much as we are taught to take each other out for them. And as you see in the same scene

represented by the woman watching Kunta being beaten, real people that understand our power

and strength stand back and watch in disappointment.

So, how does that play into a music genre, right? How does the abuse, destruction, and

attempts of weaker re­creation of a people tie into rhymes and beats? Both great questions, now

he’s even better answers. During HipHop’s inception, the importance of what was said on the Mic

played an intricate role for the culture. Have you not noticed that it’s the total reverse? In fact, it

seems like artists are currently getting more notoriety and bank off of the fact that they either can’t

spit bars or, they can’t say anything positive about their own people. Record execs and label

owners are having more fun belittling people and destroying their image, rather than building them

up. Why is that? Does it fall under the same category of knowing that there is a cure for diseases

but, it won’t be put out to the public because there’s more money invested in the imaginary search,

than it is the actual solution? I know, that was a lot to swallow right there but these discussions

have to be had. We once had artists that gathered together to make tracks like, “Self Destruction”

and wanted to uplift people from the conditions that they were living in. Everybody on that track

was spitting straight knowledge and if you listen to Kool Moe Dee’s verse, you hear nothing but

gems. So question why wouldn’t current artists want to join together and start a movement like

this? Is it because they don’t see the need, especially with all the lives being taken and our youth

dying off slowly? Maybe all the facial slashings and our elders being seen as easy targets for

terrorizing isn’t enough, right? Or, is the commonsensical thought of, “Label owners are

stopping movements like this because it can spark a people to stop killing themselves and

making a move for their rightful spots of power” accurate? And yes, I say power because

HipHop has been the most powerful musical or artistic culture since it’s creation. If you disagree,

please name me another musical genre that has brought more people of all ethnic, racial, cultural,

political and religious backgrounds together. There are children of high­positioned politicians that

may even be racists but can tell you the track lists for a J Cole or K Dot album, without even


There are people in Asia that can’t speak a lick of English but can spit full verses from

Wu albums. There are people out in countries that have never touched soils of this continent but

can take out cardboards and BreakDance better than those who were born in the Bronx. So what

is that? That’s appreciation from others for something that we lost. Even more, that’s an

understanding of how truly powerful HipHop is and has been.

With a cultural history with that type of resume, you ever wondered why now we’re dealing with

grown men wearing skirts and others working so hard to ruin their own peoples’ image? You ever

wondered why it’s allowed for woman to be disrespected to the fullest extent and even have our

youngest of baby girls twerking and speaking on them wanting to be “trap queens”? Think really

hard and question why tracks like, “Self Destruction” have been stopped at the doors of offices

and Mic booths but have been replaced with thoughts of “you should live young and die fast”.

Could we all be witnessing a small portion of “population control” blueprinted by the very people

that want our population controlled? Do the math! Is this the reason that record labels like

“Rawkus” get bought off by larger labels and then get put away in a chamber somewhere? See,

maybe HipHop has been broken down and saturated to the point that the only way for albums to

reach certain statuses, is by fake beefs and scripted social media wars. That would give clear

understanding as to why one seems to pop up a week before albums drop. That would also

explain why millionaires have now found interest in buying off albums and turning a culture into a

regularly scheduled episode of a very corny Novela (soap opera in Spanish). Once you start to

step back and look at everything from outside­in, you’re able to add up all the funniness that goes

on. By the way, shout­out to MC’s like Kendrick and J Cole for going platinum through skills and

not through the cartoonish ways that most are choosing to take part in.

Now, when will artists stop calling themselves, “Toby”? What do I mean by that, right? When

will the artists and MC’s who are putting out music for these labels decide that enough has been

enough? When will producers decide to stop making beats for tracks that are disrespecting our

own people? Does the responsibility become theirs’? Again, the MC has always been the voice

of this so, if the “voice” decides to no longer spew poisonous nonsense about our people, I’m

pretty sure execs and owners will have to change their formula. And yeah I know, they can easily

replace those that go against the grain, with someone willing to do it. What if it was a united front

though? What if, not only do the MC’s and producers stand together but, so do the DJ’s and those

that funnel the music out to the people via airways? Now you got a movement! What you would

have is people standing up for a culture and their own people. It’s time for the “Proper Takeover”

to happen. It’s been way too long about hearing how many “rappers” are “leaning” and getting

“turnt up and turnt out” on becoming narcotic addicts. I remember there was a time when people

would say, “I will never be cracked­out” and now you got the youth proud of being “lean addicts”

and posting their pride through social media. YOU DO THE MATH!!! When you take young

minds and keep telling them what they should do and who they should be by something that they

love, eventually they will try their best to be what they are being told to be. Again, in the “Roots”

scene, Kunta got beat so bad that he eventually became “Toby”. He was forced to become the

identity of someone else based off what someone else felt he should be. PLEASE DO THE



Maybe J was right on his first verse of, “Lost One”. In it he spits, “And I don’t even know

how it came to this/except that fame is/the worse drug known to man/it’s stronger than ­

heroin/when you can look in the mirror like/”There I am”/and still not see/what you’ve

become “. So many are chasing fame and notoriety, that they have become numb to the

repercussions of their actions. Nobody cares who or how they are hurting themselves and their

own. We currently live in a time where young ladies and men are trying to get internet famous

through doing the dumbest things or, simply disrespecting themselves. People will pull out

cameras and record a child getting jumped by others instead of stopping someone from possibly

losing their life. That is evident now, more than ever. It is a sign of the times that we live in and I

personally feel that it’s through messages that are saturated throughout our fabric. Music plays a

major part in that saturation, as do other things.


How do we start this “Cultural Rebuild” and rebirth of a strong people? I know for one,

stopping ourselves from becoming “social media zombies” is a good spark. If these clowns get up

on their accounts and juice up the airways with their scripted quarrels, I would simply pay it no

mind. I know many of us stopped watching wrestling seriously, once we noticed how fake it was.

This should be no different. Another strong move would be petition signings to be sent to record

labels and letting them know that we will no longer stand to watch our creation of a culture be used

against our people for our destruction. If you noticed, there aren’t any other genres of music

promoting the killing of each other and their own. And third, it will take our own beloved artists and

MC’s to stop being the “record label created rappers” that the industry has produced. In other

words, people signed to labels discharging toxic messages should boycott that very label and take

a stance. Let it be known that you will not jump on any tracks with any misogynistic, drug

promoting, self­killing, and self­destructive endorsing messages. Once that money stops coming

in, it can almost be assured that things will have to change. In my eyes, and in the eyes of many,

fixing our own communities and bettering the opportunities of our own people should always trump

the individual gainings of one person. I’m pretty sure there are many other ways to make this

change happen but the most important thing is that something is done. We can’t continue to

watch our babies kill each other and our next generations strive for being strippers, corner

dwellers, and doped up clones just because that’s all they see their idols portraying. Let’s teach

them to be comfortable in their own skin by being prideful in who it is that they look up to. It’s time

for our superheroes to look just like us, rather than the villains that we are constantly depicted as.




  • Rellikpizzle

    Always on point. Our cultural revolution is way beyond what Kendrick did at the Grammys or Beyonce at the superbowl. We’ve had and continue to have artist who make every song and every concert about being true to us and our issues, yet they consistently are getting over looked and their career efforts are nullified by one Beyonce video or performance. These two events signaled for some a cultural revolution that has been taking place since the birth hiphop but which has been pushed from the mainstream. Making hiphop ours again requires a communal effort between our communities, our artist, and the radio stations that claim to represent us. Hip Hop gained notoriety while being pimped out. Until we as a community demand different music, until our radio stations decide not to circulate certain music, and until our artist assert their own creative independence we will in a position where one of our greatest tools is still not in our hands and has been weaponized to bring forth our destruction.

  • bennett

    I disagree, i do not believe kendrick than drake. Drake is way more relevant worldwide and commercially and Kendrick is some one that only has a few facets of interests. Your article is based on opinion and not fact just like my comment but if you want fact, why does every song drske put out go number one? Why has he broken the beatles record for must number one songs on the charts??