Is it conservative to criticize hip-hop? Recently I wrote an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal in which I expressed a feeling of deep disappointment and frustration that Barack Obama would show appreciation — without qualification — for rappers such as Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. I argued that the president can and should listen to whatever he pleases, but it’s contradictory to his own commendable example to publicly acknowledge — and therefore associate himself with — a terribly misguided young black man like Lil Wayne, who claims gang membership, last year fathered at least two babies by two different women, and is currently serving time on Rikers Island for drug and gun charges.
And it is perhaps worse still to allow an unrepentant former drug dealer like Jay-Z, a self-described “hustler,” to drop in on the White House as though he were a visiting head of state. It is my view that such endorsements send the wrong message about a hip-hop culture that often diminishes blacks.