Forum: General / Hip Hop / Hip Hop - Advanced

gangsta vs positive
By damon_k
On Mon May 23, 2005 07:05 PM

I just read a very insightful article posted on the socially and politically aware hip-hop website . . .
An interview with Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers


"The Poor Righteous Teachers were signed to Profile Records and Profile Records had a couple of conscious groups and then they had Run D.M.C. and so on and so forth, but in the era of gangster rap we saw DJ Quik come in, we saw N 2 Deep come in, we saw Smooth Da Hustler come in at Profile Records, we saw these things happening right before our eyes. We saw the marketing dollars being redirected from the positive or socially conscious groups to the gangster rapper. We saw these things happening.

One thing that the 10% know is that whatever a person thinks, that will become their reality. Whatever a person thinks and believes to be true that will become their surroundings. And the 10% knew that Hip-Hop was very, very powerful in that era. We had youth braiding their hair up, wearing Afros putting on their medallions, seeking out the QurÂ’an, and even the Bible. We were just seeking knowledge in all forms everywhere. And they saw this and they knew that they had to stop this, so Counter Intelligence Programs came into effect and we got what we got and we have what we have today. That pretty much is the process in what happened in Hip-Hop."


9 Replies to gangsta vs positive

re: gangsta vs positive
By iH0p
On Tue May 24, 2005 05:07 PM
I can't open the article for some reason but from the title of your thread I'm just gonna take a guess at what the topic is and throw in my 2 cents

The thing with younguns or just society as a whole is that... everything that is real, that is meant to be taken seriously, somehow becomes a stupid fad. "Gangsta" emcees like Tupac, Immortal Technique, Jean Grae, Kweli, etc. paint pictures of THEIR reality. Their lyrics are from their viewpoints, from their homes and from their experiences. And as "ghetto" as they are, they maintain intelligence; a lot of them have positive outlooks, and most of them are socially aware and very political. They make you think. They make you open your eyes and realize what other hardships are out there or what should be done. They express themselves and they do it with talent. That was what hip hop was for. Hip hop was an outlet, or a way to express themselves positively in such a negative environment. It was something to do in a place where you had no money and nothing but violence around you.

But big corp idiots who know absolutely nothing about real hip hop or what "street" means felt it was the big rims, du rags, the chickenheads and the big guns that did it for everyone. So they bought rappers and paid them to put out an image that kind of reversed what all the other emcees worked so hard for. I mean stereotypes promoted by fools like Ja Rule or 50 cent who are either just unintelligent or sellouts... imposed on little kids who are watching these guys in clubs with rags and acting tough start thinking this is what real men look like, and the girls that are watching beyonce and ciara and listening to missy elliot rap about sex and how this is what you do to please a man... it's not too long or difficult for hip hop to suddenly be a negative thing then.

But the difference between the real "gangsta" rappers and the ones we get today is that emcees like Tupac were not given a choice of what kind of life they got. Nearly all of their songs are about how hard life is on the streets, how things need to be changed, how all the violence needs to stop.

"I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself
is life worth living should I blast myself?
I'm tired of bein' poor & even worse I'm black
my stomach hurts so I'm lookin' for a purse to snatch
Cops give a damn about a negro
pull the trigger kill a n**** he's a hero
Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares
one less hungry mouth on the welfare
First ship 'em dope & let 'em deal to brothers
give 'em guns step back watch 'em kill each other
It's time to fight back that's what Huey said
2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead
I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere
unless we share with each other
We gotta start makin' changes
learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangers
and that's how it's supposed to be
How can the Devil take a brother if he's close to me?
I'd love to go back to when we played as kids
but things changed, that's the way it is" ("Changes" by 2pac)

Now where big corps and kids decided being poor and hungry and depressed and constantly on the run is a good thing... you got me. Most of these gangsta emcees are just communicating their frustrations and outlooks on life.

But the more manufactured popular gangsta rappers you get nowadays... do not know diddly squat about anything except maybe how to be an idiot. The kids who follow them are usually stupid, and anything but creative or original. These are the kids who don't think for themselves, who follow the herd of other stupid sheep, and herds like these usually walk off cliffs... and good riddance. You can't blame hip hop for that. But you can blame MTV for that.

re: gangsta vs positive
By damon_k
On Tue May 24, 2005 07:01 PM
Good example of positive Tupac messages. I like to think of Tupac as neutral as he had another side too. That side was largely responsible for the proliferation of the new form of hip-hop globally don't you think? Tupac's thug mentality ideology was misunderstood by the majority of fans who had little understanding of the situation and were taken in by the aggressive imaging and music. Tupac's push for 'Thug Life' as fighting the struggle was seen in the opposite light. Huge sales were a result of a slightly different dipiction of the man than I think he was trying to give. Not only that, but he was not soley in a good direction producing tracks that glorified negatives, acting arrogantly and looking like a loose cannon. Without an indepth look at him, one would easily misconceive him. I did and for a long time. That side was what became of hip-hop as it entered mainstream I think....It is a pitty the man isn't around now to keep atleast even grounds between the two opposing natures we have today.

Also, I don't think you can really blame the kids of today for who they follow. They just have bad teachers...we should save them from walking off cliffs, as we are only hurting ourselves by giving up on others.

There is a way to change things in Hip-hop, it just requires a little more indepth thought. You don't need to speak out about the government or on political matters as such to get through to the youth. You need to come at it on a more personal self growth type level whilst still being on point in all aspects of skill. It takes real people to do this who are not easily thwarted or tempted whilst still realising the social and political boundaries so as to not get taken out. Open minds without pushing buttons. Rappers fear talking on the real because of possible consequences so most avoid it entirely. It doesn't have to be this way.

I think there are changes happening and Hip-hop will change. Man, I am happy to have intelligent conversation on again.


re: gangsta vs positive
By damon_k
On Tue May 24, 2005 11:59 PM
I hope no one takes my 'intelligent conversation' statement the wrong way. I just am happy to talk about more indepth and meaningful matters.
re: gangsta vs positive
By iH0p
On Wed May 25, 2005 12:13 AM
LOL oy damon... you're a much nicer person than me. well i didn't really mean it when i said those kids can just walk off cliffs... but a lot of these kids ARE kids with plenty of choices...

Light-heartedness in Hip hop
By Boogiewalker34
On Wed May 25, 2005 02:49 AM
Haha... this conversation reminds me of a little proverb I read in a pretty well-known book. It goes something like this:

"woe to those who put evil for good and good for evil"

because it leads to destruction...

You know, I was driving home tonight from Locking rehearsal, listening to the Rhyme on XM radio (I highly recommend XM for those who can swing $12 a month in subscription fees...), and I heard a song by Lords of the Underground that I'd never heard before called "Sleep for Dinner".

The whole song talked about how, as kids in the projects, they would often go to bed without having eaten anything. However, instead of being a "oh woe is me! My life sucks!" rap, or a glorification of "keepin' it real in the PJ's", the song is HILARIOUS!! Seriously, dl it if you can or go buy the album. But it's a great rap about a serious subject but in a way that is both well-crafted and really funny and ironic in its delivery.

Anyway, I think the problem is: hip hop has lost its sense of humor. It takes itself WAY too seriously. Think about it: everyone is a "thug" or a "gangsta" right now. How many of those people do you think are REALLY bangin' and slangin' everyday? Even Snoop Dogg says in TV interviews that his favorite thing to do is coach his son's Pee-Wee Football team. Does that sound "gangsta" to you?

Whenever someone has the complete inability to look at something light-heartedly, to laugh at themselves or their situation or their self-importance: something is drastically wrong. Why is it that, even if they're not associated/affiliated with a specific gang like Snoop or The Game, all male rappers have to be "hard"? Does that necessarily make you more of a "man" if you can't smile and your primary concern is making sure that you "get yours" before someone else?

The only popular emcee I can think of in recent memory who has actually put out something that is a humorous critique of himself or his situation is Eminem. But everyone else involved with Shady/Aftermath productions is "hard".

Where are our Del, tha Funkee Homosapiens? Our Tribe Called Quests? our Pharcydes? Where are the people who, love hip hop and take it seriously as an art, a sub-culture and a craft, but aren't afraid to have a sense of humor about it?

I think the first key to reclaiming the positive in hip hop is to recover a sense of humor, to stop walking around being all "hard" all the time. I work at an elementary school and it bothers me to see girls who are 7 years old poppin' their butts as if they were in a Yin Yang Twins video. It's disturbing to hear an 8 year-old boy droning the words to 50 Cent's "Candyshop" while he works on his homework. I want these kids to be kids and to have cool music that they can enjoy--but without these hyper-sexualized, hyper-violent, uber-macho tones.

But how do we actually reclaim hip hop? We probably won't ever fully control it ever again. We'll be able to do our underground things: our own record labels, our own gigs/parties, etc. The masses are asses and there will always be a mass of relatively clueless bandwagoneers and Johnny-come-latelys who don't know jack about what hip hop really is, what's "good" hip hop and why, etc. etc.

But in the meantime, those of us who really want to see hip hop flourish as a legitimate art and sub-culture, have to strive to perfect our particular crafts, whether emceeing, dj'ing, writing/bombing, dancing, beatboxing, etc. And we're going to have to show that we're ok with being light-hearted about it all.

Light-heartedness is the antithesis of "gangsta"

anyway, I hope that makes sense.


G-boogie, the boogiewalker
re: gangsta vs positive
By Invent
On Wed May 25, 2005 10:56 AM
Wow... some REALLY good posts. Without the 50 Cent is the greatest!!! comment...

"Now where big corps and kids decided being poor and hungry and depressed and constantly on the run is a good thing... you got me. Most of these gangsta emcees are just communicating their frustrations and outlooks on life."

Now you know why I'm in love with her ;)

BoogieWalker makes an EXCELLENT point.
Humor needs to once again take the stage. Believe it or not, Eminem is using humor to mask his messages, which is why he is a popular artist (people always see what's on the outside, but not the inside). Perfect example is his song "*** Like That". Social commentary on the media using young (underaged) girls as sex objects and then it being illegal in society to do anything with an underage girl. (No he is not promoting doing things with underage girls... he is saying that the media is to blame for all the sickos out there...) It's a double standard in society.

In terms of taking back hip-hop... WE have hip-hop already. Taking over the mainstream is the difficult part. It STARTED to happen with Kanye West and Jadakiss... but Jada quickly buckled under corperate pressure and went to the "lover-thug" image.

The gangsta thing started actually with NWA... not Tupac. Tupac was never REALLY a gang member... (as in he wasn't a banger most of his life). He was fascinated by THAT particular culture and the streets, which as we see from above is what he wrote about. (In all honesty... I don't know of any "thugs" that went to Juliard like Tupac did.)

If you notice, even hip-hop these days is built off of trends. Hip-hop is (in the media) a trend it's self... a fad. But within' this fad, lay sub-fads, like Crunk, reggaeton, gangsta, concious... I really don't know where I'm going with this...

Sorry for the random thoughts...

Also, to answer to BoogieWalker's statement of people running around trying to ACT like men, because they think (from the image given to them by hip-hop) that they are being men... that is very true. I actually had a post about this on Mr. Wiggles forum... the differences between a boy and a man... and to be straightforward without repeating a while post:

A boy follows another group of boys, and they all run around trying to act tough, thinking that this is what a man does. A boy is nothing but a follower... a sheep. He does not think about what he is doing, he just acts blindly based on what everyone else is doing.

A man, is alone in life. He fights to survive. He supplies for his family. His main concern is living life correctly. He thinks out and reviews every action and imagines every consequence. A man knows he will not be accepted, and does not care, but the man at least knows he is right in his thoughts and actions.

Well... I'm done... with my random thoughts... and just for good measure I'll post exactly what I said on wiggles forum... hehe

"To me... a MAN, is someone that stands on their own two feet. A man can fend for himself. From his enemies and from any outside attackers. He provides the nourishment his family needs, builds shelter. A man does this all on his own. With his two bare hands.

A BOY. All boys WANT to be grown. But the fact of the matter is that either they hide behind the back of mommie's dress when confronted with danger, or they get together with the rest of their "boys"... all calling themselves men, and try to attack the world in numbers. But at the end of the day... they still need to go home to a bigger figure in their life and be comforted... held... told that "it's ok... I'll always have your back..."

The boys that want to become men move out on their own... they explore the world, see and experience new things and grow in mind, body, spirit, and ENRICH their lives by taking the good of the new experiences and using them in life, and throwing away the bad."

Same applies for women and girls!!!! haha
re: gangsta vs positive
By iH0p
On Wed May 25, 2005 05:46 PM
another thing about gangs back in the day... yeah in a way it was little boy stuff when you think of it as cliques and herds. but then i, and i doubt most of us, really get what hoods were REALLY like. and i'm going to go on a limb and say that 80% (probably more) of today's OGs of poppers, bboys, etc... probably were in gangs and have been through stuff we don't really want to think about. hip hop was all they had.

so i don't know about today's youngins because i've seen the spoiled little boppers with their "thug" buddies and their cell phones and the little girls with their imitation gucci bags and miniskirts... kids are stealing today not because they're hungry... but because... i don't really get why. it's fun? i don't know. so don't you get a sense that these aren't really desperate kids... and all the stuff they wear and the way they act really isn't necessary. like i said.. they have choices.

but back in the day in the real streets where there's the hungry big dogs eating all the little dogs.. they start to travel in packs. that's what gangs and crews were for. i mean most of these people were DESPERATE. we're talking survival here. but nowadays... it's just the cool macho tough thing. and boogiewalker's right in that we probably can't reclaim hip hop the way it was before it became some macho bling bling trend. but what can you do.

spread the knowledge and teach them while their young.

re: gangsta vs positive
By Jahz
On Wed May 25, 2005 08:32 PM
Have you ever gone down the street and had a little 8 year old boy, holding his toddler sister, come out and say "f you!" straight to you? It's a really depressing and weird experience...

My brother was a gangster. He's like known all around town for his gang history... But, then, I have to look back and wonder why he did it. I can only imagine why, because he won't tell me. But I do remember him telling me that he didn't have many friends in high school. He only had our cousin, and that was about it. He didn't have any more support system other than our family (which was... a strict family), and that wasn't really all too good yet because over half of our family was still back in Laos. So, I guess that's why he joined a gang... because that was like family to him, and the way he survived his times.
re: gangsta vs positive
By damon_k
On Wed May 25, 2005 08:35 PM

Growing up in Australia and NZ, Hip-hop didn't start to reach us until the early 90's. It wasn't even on the radio in Australia at all until around 98. That is why I talked on Tupac opening up Hip-hop, I meant globally. In NZ at that time, I first discovered Hip-hop music around when I saw Puffy and Mase videos and the mp3 revolution began. I spent a year solidly searching out the past 15-20 years worth of Hip-hop music and mostly through collaborations opened myself up to Artists that had been around for all unfolded like I was making my way through a huge family tree.
Taken by the pure emotional expression and vivid wonderous nature of the music, I was pulled into dance. I had no choice, my body simply required it. It was like a life injection...something my culture failed to provide me with. It was like seeing the world in colour.
It took quite a few years for me to catch up to the history of the culture and learn about the state of America etc...but has never ceased to fascinate.
It has made me become very aware of the ideologies of the different cultures and how Western culture has many serious kinks. Through this understanding, I have come to realise that I myself personally have had and still have a lot of work to do in order to live life in a better light.
I may not have many problems concerning living conditions or state of welfare, but like many Europeans or descendants of, I have a tendancy to be quite rigid. All I do now (particularly through the use of dance and music) is to brake down those barriers in my life personally.
It makes me feel sick to my stomach to think of how my descendants took advantage of those cultures whose intellects were of a lower level by our standards...when in fact it was ours that was the lower...
Now...what is there for me? I don't have a culture. I don't associate with those of the past...I am beyond that. I urge to be more like those who are closer to the earth and who live love to the fullest extent. I admire Hip-hop for what it is. I see everything that it is about now. I am aware of the boundaries, the challenge of trying to rise up in a system that is eventually destined to fail anyway. We are simply waiting for the world to wake up to the real way to live life..and until that happens there is always going to be people looking to satisfy that need for love through other ways.
Its like trying to re-plant a tree in another place, but the roots are already so deep in the present place. You are almost better off taking the seed and starting again.

This post has no purpose really... just letting you know.



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