Indie hip hop is the industry’s lifesaver

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Hip-hop will always serve as a valuable tool in the struggle for liberation”
Feb. 9, 2007

To the Editor:
In the article, “Hip-hop will always serve as a valuable tool in the struggle for liberation,” the author claims, “hip hop is dead,” and describes the sorry state of the industry. Although he mentions problem areas, I beg to differ that the whole industry is in decline. In recent years, mainstream rap (defined as anything you would see on TV or hear on the radio) seems to have lost touch with its roots. While some may argue mainstream rap has always only been about the four B’s (booze, blunts, bling and butts), I disagree.

The fathers of gangsta rap " Tupac, Biggie, KRS-One, and Big L, among others " all rapped about the four B’s but in a way that emphasized the cultural struggles of a people society had left behind. This theme has reappeared, but not in the mainstream rap scene.

Since Bush took office, political hip-hop has exploded. Artists and groups such as Immortal Technique, Sweatshop Union, The Dope Poet Society and Sabac Red have burst onto the scene. Also, artists who have been around for a long time " like Talib Kweli and Jedi Mind Tricks " are finding a new audience for their music in people dissatisfied with the current rap culture

Political hip-hop isn’t the only part of rap seeing great new artists. Conscious rap also has promising new artists. The split of the group Binary Star led to a good solo CD by artist One Be Lo. There are also some artists who have been around forever and still make great music, like Canibus.

Anyone who says hip-hop is dead is not looking hard enough and most likely not looking at all. These are artists you won’t hear at The Barking Frog or on BET, but if anyone is looking for some intelligent, socially conscious hip-hop, I suggest checking out any artist or group mentioned in this letter.
"Bob McGrava
Political Science II

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