Has Hip Hop Gone Too Far?

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Hip Hop isn’t dead. It’s just moved to the internet. The new internet rap is like a gangsta reality TV show, an urban survivor in which rappers compete to be the head of the Hip Hop crime family. Given the fact that there is no censorship on the internet, these rappers are free to use guns, drugs, violence nudity, the n-word and every other curse word on the planet.

Rap has always been driven by competitive battles. Rappers in the spirit of friendly competition would challenge other rappers by outdoing them musically and lyrically. Now rather than make songs, rappers simply get on camera and threaten, humiliate and belittle other rappers. Often times they pull out guns or threaten to hurt kill or injure other rappers. These new video clips are getting way more hits than any of these rappers’ songs.

Rappers are no longer defined by their musical talent wit or creativity. They are graded by their criminal past, toughness, money ability to dish out and take punishment. Rap has become less of a music and more of a spectacle for beef and criminality.

Rap has become a modern version of wrestling in which cartoonish stereotypical oafs make threats against their enemies, except for their beefs are not addressed in the ring but on the internet and occasionally real life.

These rappers promote gangs, gang violence, the distribution of cocaine, guns, marijuana use as well as the use of prescription pills. While Hip Hop used to document the negative elements of the black community now it seems to glamorize and promote them.

50 Cent seems to be the Vince McMahon of rap’s WWE. Not only does he profit off his own beef’s but he also profit’s off every rapper’s beef. 50 Cent owns  thisis50.com and his co-hort DJ Whoo Kid owns worldstarhiphop.com. Both sites routinely show rappers threatening each other and their family members and associates.

Recently 50 Cent narrated and promoted a pornographic movie with the mother of one of his enemies, Rick Ross’s child’e mother. He also released footage in which some of his followers find another enemy of his, DJ Khaled’s mother and taunt her. Another one of 50 Cent’s associates, Tony Yayo said if he was there he would’ve put Khaled’s mom in the trunk.

Of course one can remember a few years back when 50 Cent and The Game’s beef escalated to where The Game confronted 50’s camp at radio station, Hot 97 and one of his friends. Black media, gossip and Hip Hop sites add fuel to the fire giving the rappers a forum to disrespect each other publicly.

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Hip Hop has become reality TV on the internet, with viewers rooting on their favorite gangsters and waiting for humiliation, fist-fights and possibly gunshots. Not only is this new practice of internet beefing destructive to the rappers but also to the millions of black kids who look up to them and the white hip hop fans who see these goons as representative of black culture.

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Hip Hop taking criticism from O’Reilly and co for being offensive is like the the Crips taking criticism from Al Qaeda for violence. Still, the black community and the Hip Hop community must address the growing negativity in Hip Hop. As a teacher in the Bronx, I’ve seen how young blacks and Latinos idolize and emulate their favorite rapper’s their style, slang and attitudes. While the beefs and disrespect might be entertaining to some the affect it has on our youth and the image of black people is quite disturbing.

Hip Hop was once a way for African Americans to express social and political views but has become a combination of a minstrel show, reality TV show and a blacksploitation movie. There is still a good deal of positive Hip Hop out there but the internet gatekeepers only seem to promote the negative. The people who run  Hip Hop radio, internet, magazines and TV shows are like school children at the playground oohing, ahhing, instigating and egging on the rappers to beef.

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