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"How Hip-Hop Failed Black America"

Posted by - 08:36 AM on 04/24/14
The Roots' drummer Questlove has posted the first in a weekly series of essays over at Vulture exploring the history and current landscape of hip-hop and what it means for black culture. It's an interesting read and well worth your time.
 
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08:46 AM on 04/24/14
#2
Star Slight
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Pretty fascinating article about the idea of cultural trends and the impact of "hip hop" on modern black culture. Quest is brilliant and I love his writing style. Look forward to the rest of these articles.


It's interesting that he challenges the idea of cultural trends not being cyclical but rather dying out completely. Often times many make the claim of trends in music moving in circles, but I don't know if that is the case. Disco as a cultural trend died out, and although there are artists carrying on elements of the genre, the cultural grasp that it had on the nation seemingly can never be reclaimed. One cannot really guess how/when/if hip hop will die out, but the questions raised about the death's impact on black culture are fascinating, especially since the predominant black presence in music is certainly hip hop. I never realized the current suffocation that hip hop has on black culture in the sense that almost every popular black artist is designated into the hip hop/hip hop adjacent category, compared to popular soul or distinct R&B or even rock bands of earlier decades.
09:16 AM on 04/24/14
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anthonydarko
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Great article, can't wait to read the rest.
09:17 AM on 04/24/14
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Jared Luttrell
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This is good.
09:30 AM on 04/24/14
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texan4lif281
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Good stuff.
09:45 AM on 04/24/14
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incognitojones
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I think he's right that, in music especially, trends really do die out. I think certain emotions being popular in music will always be cyclical, but music really builds on itself, and cycles only in adding different elements together to create something new. And that's a scary thought if black culture is simply reduced to a trend that will eventually fade after a period of prominence.
10:33 AM on 04/24/14
#7
RonStoppable
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?uestlove is a phenomenal writer. Mo Betta Blues was beautiful. There's a lot of value in this piece, I hope a lot of people read it.
11:11 AM on 04/24/14
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drewbaldy
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That was a really good article. Can't wait for the rest of him. I really liked the part about cycles.
06:18 PM on 04/24/14
#9
MorningStar10
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Love Quest, he truly is a musical historian.
10:31 PM on 04/24/14
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This was an amazing read. I just wished he would have gone more in depth. When I saw the article ended I was sad.. (Which I guess is good)
10:17 PM on 05/02/14
Dan CiTi
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Questlove's writing is super witty and intelligent here. I tend to agree here with his general assessment and fears. Hip Hop has been a powerful musical force since the late 80s, and it's great mainstream commercial success has been marching forward since around the late 90s, since the super high profile tragic murders of Tupac and Biggie. While the mainstream has surely moved past this a long time ago, it was a spark of sorts for hip hop's popularity.

In the ever-changing landscape of culture and the music industry seeing a tumultuous upheaval with the advent of modern technology and the free-ranging internet, artists have it harder than ever. Rap verses are commodified, beats sold online/on twitter as if they were annoying car salesman-esque ads.

This points to and is part of a bigger problem with our world and society as a whole, but hip hop is a major player in all of this. What happens when the well dries up? Will it lead into maturity (the Kendrick Lamar allusion he makes) or fade into obscurity as the trendy braggadocio becomes nothing more than a thrown away relic of an era that has clearly ended? Only time will tell. The right, the smart people will come along from the business end and/or the creative end and only these people will paint the future and become the movers and shakers and ultimately have their names in the history books.
08:56 AM on 05/03/14
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11:19 AM on 05/03/14
The_Effort
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Part 2 was great. Really enjoying these so far.
11:21 AM on 05/03/14
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Idk how much I agree with pt 2 but it's certainly thought provoking. The comments are surprisingly great as well
11:26 AM on 05/03/14
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Idk how much I agree with pt 2 but it's certainly thought provoking. The comments are surprisingly great as well
What about it are you disagreeing with?

For me, it's a strange concept to swallow the "this type of consumerism holds a better message than the other" aspect (for lack of a better way to phrase it). At the same time, I understand what he means. I'm up in the air about how much I agree as well, but really like hearing other people's opinions on this type of thing.

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