The Audacity of Hope in Hip Hop

I’m going to write some more on this topic in due course, and I have a Guardian piece coming out soon talking about Obama and the hip hop generation, but for now let me post this video of Senator Obama himself talking about his love of hip hop and how he thinks it needs to look forward and inspire as well as stay rooted in the realness of today…


9 thoughts on “The Audacity of Hope in Hip Hop

  1. Pingback: MyStreamcast » Blog Archive » The Audacity of Hope in Hip Hop

  2. Def! This guy makes total sense. I’m so tired of all the “negative” hip hop out there! All guys like Snoop Dogg and 50cent do is ruin society. Hopefully we can get some guys coming forward who will bring hip hop back to what it was: social commentary. Not drugs, girls, and cars.

  3. It’s an interesting one…I’ve thought about this alot. Is the problem now that the music truly is a reflection of what many young black people think is important? In the past, hip hop was political, it was socially conscious – because those who were rapping also were. Maybe the shift has come because girls, cars and drugs are what is a key concern for some young people of that kind of age? I know it’s clearly not for all, but I just wonder. Young black people are less politically engaged now than they were before, even though they still face structural inequalities. But it seems some either do not know or do not care that those problems are there. Maybe they are less concerned with politics and being conscious than with the superfluous, superficial stuff that advertisers and consumerist society throws at them… It’s just a thought.

  4. Hip hop in the 80s was all about social change. it wasnt about drugs, girls, etc. whats happened is that the entertainment industry has taken this style of music and pigeonholed it into a genre whos lyrics are anything but uplifting. thus, i dont think its that the black community has changed at all. communities dont just change their values in a matter of a few decades. whats happened is that the ganster rap era began, and when all you hear in your music is the filth that they give you, your morals are directly effected.

    thankfully there are a few groups coming up who are aiming to reverse this. being a brit, im sure you know of the danish group, outlandish? they are probably the best known, but there are others. one of the best things we can do for our society is to support these socially conscious groups. if enough people do so, and give up the nonuplifting music, we can cause a paradigm shift within society hopefully and reverse this horrible trend before it destroys us.

  5. Yes, I know Outlandish – they are great!

    I disagree with you that it’s just about what the music industry has done. I have worked in the music industry for a number of years at both majors and independents and I think too much credit is given to the influence of ‘the industry’ on determining what artists talk about. And I disagree that the black community has not changed, even in a few decades. The so-called hip hop generation is massively different – particularly politically – from its parent’s generations. Mainly, black kids of today in America — living in the post segregation era – have not had to fight for the same struggles for equality in America as their parents had to which has hugely changed and impacted upon their perspective on politics and on life. It does not mean that young people don’t care at all but one thing young black people have not had so much of in recent years – as opposed to the civil rights generation – is the chance to be unified by a movement of mass social change. I believe that this is very much reflected in the hip hop music that we hear today.

    Also it’s no suprise that it’s a foreign group that you refer to when you talk about groups coming to reverse the trend. I notice that a lot more socially aware and conscious hip hop comes from outside of America – mainly I believe because people in those countries are fighting for equality in a number of ways and their music is an expression of their ‘struggle’ and their awareness of what’s going on around them and in their communities.

  6. I don’t believe at all that Hip Hop influences young people these days as much as their parents do. Hip Hop is just one thing amongst many to talk to your child about. PARENTS ARE THE INFLUENCE NOT HIP HOP! So I don’t feel it’s fair to say Hip Hop has the most influence. People rap and sing about whatever they want. Should they potray a more positive image? Yes, maybe. But point blank these people do what they want and you cant keep screaming there needs to be a more positive image of Hip Hop to these artist because they simply do what they know is going to sell.

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