Eric Llobet" />
side bar
Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Rap artists assess hip-hop music’s effects

A concrete answer concerning who caused the "destruction of the black community" could not be answered Wednesday among a panel of community leaders, recording artists and scholars.

"The ultimate goal is to help rid hip-hop of the destructive elements, but hip-hop is so positive and powerful that we don’t want to destroy it," Houston activist Quanell X said. "We want to uplift it and get rid of the destructive elements."

The debate, which was intended to outline the struggles of the black community, often became heated amidst the dialogue and discussed topics.

"Before it was ‘I’m black, and I’m proud," rapper Wicked Cricket said. "Now it’s ‘I’m black, and I’m confused."

The panel consisted of community leaders Quanell X, Robert Muhammad and Sister Ariel Johnson, scholar Asada Williams and recording artists Latoya and M-1 from Dead Prez.

Rappers Scarface, Lil Flip and Pimp C could not attend as planned for personal reasons. They were replaced by Wicked Cricket, Lil’ O, Trae and Slim Thug.

Trae said that the black community needs to come together for a solution though, not continually be at odds.

"We do not respect each other and keep pointing the finger at each other," he said. "What rapper put crack in your neighborhood?"

Audience members asked the rappers when the black community is going to stop selling themselves to the record industry.

"There’s a suppression of conscious music," M-1said. "(The record labels) would love to pimp us, but the demand for this type music is lacking in the mainstream. What I would like is to not be pimped by anybody at all."

Trae, who is a Houston-based artist, also said he is also frustrated by the industry and its exploitations.

"BET got mad at me and boycotted my videos because I wouldn’t get girls on my video and put thongs on them," he said. "There’s a lot in rap music that does influence, but you cannot sit here and just blame it on hip-hop. If you do blame it on hip-hop then blame it on all the fake rappers out there."

M-1 said the recording industry needed to set a standard of expectations.

"We need to create a principle position around hip-hop among artists," he said. "We should set up a code of conduct that would separate the real from the fake. We might not want the responsibility of raising our children, but we have to have it."

M-1 emphasized that it is important to not lose control of hip-hop and rap music and bring it back to its roots.

"We need to put the power back into the hands of our people to control," he said. "Hip-hop does not belong to us. It’s been taken from us. All the record labels want to do is sell you something."

Wicked Cricket had similar thoughts, reminding the other rappers and the audience of the African roots that have come with rap music.

"Hip-hop is a part of the infinite wealth of creative expression that has been birthed by African people since the beginning of human evolution," he said. "Music has always been the centerpiece of African culture. We should be concerned, upset, outraged about the direction in which hip-hop is going."

History junior Anza Bacnel, one of the event organizers, said it was good that the audience became impassioned during the discussion.

"It represents all the frustration, confusion and disillusionment mentality that accounts for a lot of displaced energy in young people today," he said. "The audience conveyed a sentiment of disapproval. It’s not too often that the rappers get to hear criticism from the people."

Williams said the key is understanding that hip-hop has become a culture.

"Hip-hop is more than a form of music; it is a culture with the MC, DJ, break dancing and graffiti," Williams said. "It is a way of life – just as we were stolen from the African continent, hip-hop has been stolen from us."

Although the debate was frustrating, Quanell X said this is the first step in the right direction.

"I believe that tonight was the beginning of a sincere dialogue that will happen all across the country," he said. "Tonight will get things started and we will begin to mobilize our community. Rappers have never been challenged like they were tonight at this sitting. But they were challenged with love, challenged with the spirit of coming together."

The event was organized by the Sankofa Pan-African Organization, the Black Student Network and the New Black Panther Movement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑
  • Sign up for our Email Edition

  • Polls

    What about UH will you miss the least this summer?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...