Several people have asked for my opinions on the most recent developments in hip hop culture, largely Jay Z, Beyoncé and the omnipresent ghetto vortex we call the trap. Here is what I see.
Jay and Bey
- I like them. I like their music. They’re interesting.
- I consume their music as art, not life instruction or even a real a report on the state of their union.
- Lemonade, while culturally acclaimed, was largely seen among lots of black people as venting for “women,” while 4:44, though equally dope, has some people acting like it’s a new directive for all of black humanity.
Atlanta’s Pink Trap House and Trappin’ in General
- I don’t have a problem with 2Chainz. He was nice when I met him.
- I have some problems with the messages that he and his peers send through trap culture. Like the Pink Trap House in Atlanta.
- If you’re happy to be trappin’ and getting white and exotic bitches, you hate yourself. You’re a cannibal. Nothing makes you more complicit with white supremacy than hating your origin in the form of the women who raised you while poisoning your community with cheap drugs. It’s the mass incarceration express and you’re the conductor.
- If you are a woman who is vocal about gender inequality as you legally try to better yourself through career and education, you’re a “crazy feminist.” If you dare date or marry interracially or even post too many pics admiring Tommy from Power or President Grant from Scandal, you’re a bed wench. If you’re even a big fan of Scandal, you’re a bed wench.
- I digress.
- Women speaking up and speaking out is bitching.
- Men speaking up and speaking out is revelation.
I have always been vocal about problems in hip hop culture because I understand hip hop culture. Since I was a child in the 80s watching boys breakdance in the playground rec center, to being a writer, music conference panelist and weekly hip hop trivia winner, I’ve been an active participant. Through hip hop I’ve found love of the people and the music while gaining professional opportunities.
Still, I must proceed with caution. Don’t let the conversation become too unflattering. If you do, you are not a cultural critic, you’re a bitch.
Somehow, you cannot, like I do, simultaneously celebrate your colleagues and influences – who are overwhelmingly male – yet criticize the looming presence of misogyny, sexual assault and violence. If so, you have to consciously and subconsciously hate men on some level. For too many members of the hip hop loving public, support means blind allegiance, ego-stroking uplift and ass-kissing deference. You can speak out but carefully contextualize your conversation so as to not appear finger pointing and frequently pepper it with “I know not all men, but…”
The thin line between love and hate shows up in loving the people who make the music while genuinely hating the hell out of the negative shit they either directly or inadvertently perpetuate.
Please. If you’re a male who believes in fidelity, good parenting, self-respect, dignity and generational wealth, speak up. No one wants to listen to bitches like us.