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Author Topic: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music  (Read 2202 times)

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Offline Euron GreyjoyTopic starter

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2014, 06:43:56 PM »
You do got a point, a sad yet true point. However, when I made this thread, I wasn't aiming to degrade another black art form. I believe I came into this with an open mind and a heavy heart, pointing out the internal racism of modern rap.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #51 on: September 21, 2014, 06:45:30 PM »
The entertainment business has its underlined racism. And the racism between black people is very apparent.

Offline Euron GreyjoyTopic starter

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #52 on: September 21, 2014, 06:47:41 PM »
While yes that is indeed true, black rappers have the choice, of wither or not they want to rap a song that promotes negative stereotypes.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #53 on: September 21, 2014, 06:51:39 PM »
When you grow up in a community where not every black person wants an education or feels that they can't go anywhere because they are being stereotyped, the easiest thing to do is go about it through entertainment. Its like slavery, my ancestor's had great musicality and could sing and dance...thats all we were good for.

So with the mindset that some have, thats what they gravitate towards. Its sad, but true.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #54 on: September 21, 2014, 06:54:07 PM »
I think what Euron Greyjoy is saying is that mainstream rappers today have a choice whether or not to present drug references, degrading speech about women, swear words, n-words, etc. 

Despite their millions, they continue to propagate the same negative messages (even if their managers are coercing them to).  The reality is that they still make the choice to go through with it.

Offline Euron GreyjoyTopic starter

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #55 on: September 21, 2014, 06:57:37 PM »
Exactly. While perhaps a smaller market than in the past, there are people out there that want messages of black positivity like the days of Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, and Arrested Development.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #56 on: September 21, 2014, 07:02:16 PM »
There are other rappers out there that promote positivity. But, they don't get enough attention because of the entertainment business. Common is one of them. What I'm just trying to point out is WHY these things happen.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #57 on: September 21, 2014, 08:48:49 PM »
We ride roller coasters to experience fear in a safe way. Likewise, we watch movies and read books that explore situations and feelings that we might not otherwise be able to connect with. This is just my guess, but I'm willing to bet that introducing taboo topics like racism, slavery, poverty and crime into music might provide both the musician and listeners with a similar type of avenue to explore these topics from a safe distance.

With regard to the connection made between the "white" producers and racist material, if the material in question was not what the audience wanted, then they would not pay for it, and hence the "white" producers would not be making their money. Those who are successfully producing and marketing this music are successfully discovering what their audience wants and giving it to them. I think the idea that producers and marketers are somehow "brainwashing" the audience is a bit of a stretch. Try to sell something that nobody wants. You won't get very far.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 08:50:34 PM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #58 on: September 21, 2014, 08:53:22 PM »
With regard to the connection made between the "white" producers and racist material, if the material in question was not what the audience wanted, then they would not pay for it, and hence the "white" producers would not be making their money. Those who are successfully producing and marketing this music are successfully discovering what their audience wants and giving it to them. I think the idea that producers and marketers are somehow "brainwashing" the audience is a bit of a stretch. Try to sell something that nobody wants. You won't get very far.

Imagine if a Tupac existed today in the mainstream, rapping about meaningful social issues like his perspective on Ferguson, Missouri or other issues that impact the black community on a meaningful level.  I bet he would get a huge following - as much if more than the typical mainstream rapper talking about how easily he can get women or how rich he is.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #59 on: September 21, 2014, 09:02:03 PM »
That's possible, but sometimes you just want something dark and taboo. You want to hear someone say or shout the things that you are feeling, or you want someone to validate your feelings as taboo as they may be.  You are not really going to get that from a sanitized version of what you are looking for. When you crave bitter, sweet just doesn't cut it.


Offline Apple of Eris

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #60 on: September 21, 2014, 11:33:19 PM »
Imagine if a Tupac existed today in the mainstream, rapping about meaningful social issues like his perspective on Ferguson, Missouri or other issues that impact the black community on a meaningful level.  I bet he would get a huge following - as much if more than the typical mainstream rapper talking about how easily he can get women or how rich he is.

If that's what they were rapping about, they wouldn't be 'a Tupac'. Rappers cover the topics they do because they're popular and sell albums. There's still folk protest musicians in whit culture, but they get no coverage in the entertainment industry because those aren't you average pop happy songs; same thing with Rap. They have artists that do that, but they're not going to have the popular reach anymore that 'protest rap' did in the 80's/90's with groups like Public Enemy.

After all, where's the new generation's Bob Dylan? I don't hear them on rock radio either.

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #61 on: September 21, 2014, 11:35:52 PM »
If that's what they were rapping about, they wouldn't be 'a Tupac'. Rappers cover the topics they do because they're popular and sell albums. There's still folk protest musicians in whit culture, but they get no coverage in the entertainment industry because those aren't you average pop happy songs; same thing with Rap. They have artists that do that, but they're not going to have the popular reach anymore that 'protest rap' did in the 80's/90's with groups like Public Enemy.

After all, where's the new generation's Bob Dylan? I don't hear them on rock radio either.

This.

Record labels know what sells and what is popular - if a new anyone, not just Tupac, would actually be popular they would exist.  As Apple of Eris points out, its not that noone is making that music for the industry to promote, just that they're not promoting that music.

There's no money on the table.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #62 on: September 22, 2014, 01:04:41 AM »
I think Euron and I were referring to existing "mainstream" black rappers/artists reforming their ways after gaining popularity (regardless of their content) to set a new example now that they are famous.  For example, take the example of Kid Cudi a few years ago.  He announced openly that he is changing his ways to set a positive example.

He expressed on his Tumblr page that he's giving up smoking weed.  His new albums are going to be radio-friendly, and not contain any N-words.  Check out some of his tweets from when he turned around in 2011:

"Also, the WZRD album does not contain any profanity or the usage of the word “n**ga”. A universal album for everyone."

“Haha man some of yall really upset theres no profanity?? You know songs can be written with out them right? "

I'm not exactly a fan of Bill O'Reilly, but check out his speech in this video:  He totally reformed his ways once he gained fame, and setting a positive example, expressing the power of mainstream rap artists to enact change.





« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 01:06:11 AM by Valthazar »

Offline Euron GreyjoyTopic starter

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #63 on: September 22, 2014, 01:49:17 AM »
The question is it really racist, if they adopted at their own? I mean look at the N word. For the longest time it was hateful and ignorant word, but a lot of blacks adopted it, as a term of endearment.

Offline Mathim

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #64 on: September 22, 2014, 03:42:20 PM »
The point I'm making, seeing as I don't know whose black or not in this thread is: Every musical genre that was brought up in a black community was deemed bad in some way. It happened with Blues, Jazz, and Rock n Roll, now its Rap. I'm not saying Rap is an art form without flaws, i'm saying its just a little ridiculous that this genre is always being picked out among others.

Your point is perfectly valid, I wasn't aware you were making it before. The only thing I can think of as far as today why it gets comparatively more bad press is that the influence it has on behavior and culture is stronger, more visibly present and pervasive. You see way more youths acting out the thug life glamourized in some rap, than goth kids who listen to their style of music. Even if it's only media coverage of it, when it's more in our line of sight we tend to focus on it more. Personally, I see TONS of that stereotypical negative-rap-culture behavior from a majority of the young African-American males (ages 15-30's) on the two college campuses I frequent. So at least for me, it's not just a media hype thing.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #65 on: September 22, 2014, 04:45:48 PM »
Personally, I see TONS of that stereotypical negative-rap-culture behavior from a majority of the young African-American males (ages 15-30's) on the two college campuses I frequent. So at least for me, it's not just a media hype thing.

Me too.  I had a professor in undergrad say, "if you want to be an executive, then dress like an executive.  Fake it till you make it, because it works."

The sad part is that many of these African-American males are very talented and intelligent (accounting majors, education majors, etc.).  Yet, if they went out on the street, no one would take them seriously, because who in their right mind would honestly go to someone sagging their jeans and using the n-word, for their retirement planning?  If their accountant is acting like a thug, what does that say about his professionalism?

In the career center, there are a lot of kids (of all races) who say they have trouble getting any jobs or internships.  First step is to clean up your act, and behave like the people you want to be.

Offline Mathim

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #66 on: September 22, 2014, 05:30:42 PM »
Me too.  I had a professor in undergrad say, "if you want to be an executive, then dress like an executive.  Fake it till you make it, because it works."

The sad part is that many of these African-American males are very talented and intelligent (accounting majors, education majors, etc.).  Yet, if they went out on the street, no one would take them seriously, because who in their right mind would honestly go to someone sagging their jeans and using the n-word, for their retirement planning?  If their accountant is acting like a thug, what does that say about his professionalism?

In the career center, there are a lot of kids (of all races) who say they have trouble getting any jobs or internships.  First step is to clean up your act, and behave like the people you want to be.

That is logical. If you want to act the part when you're on your downtime, I could care less. If you're on a college campus I don't want to hear that music blasting away on your iPhone while you're walking down a hallway because you don't care about other people's desire not to be exposed to that; we have rules against that kind of thing so flouting them like that is wrong whether you believe that because you idolize rappers or not. I have actually had black students apologize to me for the behavior of other black students that embarrassed them so badly. THAT shit made my jaw drop. If someone's behavior is that bad, and it's because they believe the bullshit being fed to them by their favorite rap stars...I can't say anything kind about it. I know I've seen plenty of self-described 'wiggers' who embarrass the shit out of me, too, so it's definitely not exclusive to one community even if it's only targeted at one.

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #67 on: September 22, 2014, 06:25:27 PM »
Your point is perfectly valid, I wasn't aware you were making it before. The only thing I can think of as far as today why it gets comparatively more bad press is that the influence it has on behavior and culture is stronger, more visibly present and pervasive.

Really? That's the only reason you can think of? Nothing else comes to mind, particularly in the historical context NubianPrincess has been explicitly providing?

Offline ningyou

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #68 on: October 02, 2014, 05:20:50 PM »
Oh boy, this thread.

Quote from: Sabby
As someone whose listened to metal his whole life, I'm not seeing the two as being remotely comparable. Every genre has it's handful of songs you wouldn't want to play with your family around, but there's few genres out there that do it like rap. It's just so consistent in how debauched it is, and that's not a bad thing. Doesn't bother me if someone wants to listen to things like 'Dollah on mah dick', I just don't think it's fair to say that rock is anywhere near the same level.

Doesn't metal have a big, big problem with racism (and misogyny, and homophobia) and honest-to-god neo-nazis?

also has anyone decrying rap in this thread actually listened to it i mean holy shit between Euron bemoaning OH IT'S ALL BITCHES AND CASH MONEY WHY CAN'T IT BE POSITIVE LIKE BIGGIE AND TUPAC AND NWA (lmao have you even listened to some of their lyrics) and the dude talking about how consistently debauched rap is

also also how gross and patronising is it for a bunch of white dudes to make weird generalisations about how ~all rap these days is drugs and money and big booty bitches~ and oh gosh, the black community should know better?

Quote from: Euron Greyjoy
The question is it really racist, if they adopted at their own? I mean look at the N word. For the longest time it was hateful and ignorant word, but a lot of blacks adopted it, as a term of endearment.

Oh boy. Oh boy. Let me tell you about reclaiming slurs! Reclaiming slurs is a super contentious issue for p. much every community that has historically had slurs leveled at them in the first place but in part it's super simple!

Here's the simple part: are you black? No? Then it's still a racist slur that you absolutely should not use. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. "Lots of blacks adopted it as a term of endearment?" Doesn't matter.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #69 on: October 02, 2014, 08:45:51 PM »
Here's the simple part: are you black? No? Then it's still a racist slur that you absolutely should not use. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. "Lots of blacks adopted it as a term of endearment?" Doesn't matter.

I think part of the issue is that for better or for worse, most employers are white.  So if black youth are trying to get good jobs and develop their careers, they need to avoid language that caters to only their own ethnic group.  While using the N-word may be socially acceptable among other blacks, it is not professional or acceptable for a black person to be using the N-word in the company of other races (especially in a work setting).

All of us realize that we need to work together and adjust how we say things to function in a multicultural society.  This applies to people of all races.

Much of the hiring bias against minorities is due to certain behavioral traits that may be considered appropriate among their own subcultures, but not in wider society as a whole.  That's why many of us take issue with the use of the N-word in rap videos, which only perpetuates this negative behavior.

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #70 on: October 02, 2014, 09:39:07 PM »
Really? That's the only reason you can think of? Nothing else comes to mind, particularly in the historical context NubianPrincess has been explicitly providing?
Seconded. She's making some really important points here about the topic being discussed here. They make one reconsider some of their criticisms at the very least.

Offline ningyou

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #71 on: October 03, 2014, 05:43:15 PM »
Yes, by all means, double down on the patronizing I'M ONLY THINKING OF WHAT'S BEST FOR ~BLACK YOUTH~ shit. That is an absolutely amazing idea.

Quote from: Valthazar
I think part of the issue is that for better or for worse, most employers are white.

Most employers, huh? Most employers everywhere? Most employers in every field in the US? What? This seems like a really dumb broad statement to make. 

Quote from: Valthazar
So if black youth are trying to get good jobs and develop their careers, they need to avoid language that caters to only their own ethnic group.

Ohhhhhh goody. Also how is that word "language catering to their own ethnic group?" Do you honestly think that slurs (even reclaimed slurs!) are ~language catering to (whatever ethnic/etc. group they were used against)~? Do you think fa**ot is language catering to queer people? (and so on and so forth?)

And setting aside your whole SLURS = LANGUAGE CATERING TO THAT GROUP thing, it sounds like the underlying point here is 'oh golly y'know if black ppl want to get ahead in their career, maybe they should talk like white ppl,' which is also pretty gross! And wrapped up in a bunch of assumptions and stereotypes about how black people and white people talk.

Quote from: Valthazar
While using the N-word may be socially acceptable among other blacks, it is not professional or acceptable for a black person to be using the N-word in the company of other races (especially in a work setting).

All of us realize that we need to work together and adjust how we say things to function in a multicultural society.  This applies to people of all races.

Yeah see i don't think many people are going to be like WAIT I SHOULDN'T USE SLURS IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING???? GOSHHHHH I HAD NO IDEA and the only comfort to me as i read your post is imagining Aziz Ansari saying "SHUT UP" in a loop. (Tom is like...the third-best character on Parks and Rec. Third-best!)

Also I see your words about working together in a multicultural society but everything else there seems to say, "These minority folk should really act more white if they want to get ahead, you know?"

Quote from: Valthazar
Much of the hiring bias against minorities is due to certain behavioral traits that may be considered appropriate among their own subcultures, but not in wider society as a whole.  That's why many of us take issue with the use of the N-word in rap videos, which only perpetuates this negative behavior.

Wow. Wooooooooooooow.

The "hiring bias against minorities" isn't because gosh, you know, you want to like them but they just act too black/latino/queer/etc. with the exception of The Good Ones inappropriate behaviour, you freaking tosspot. It's because of, you know, white people being racist (and those racist attitudes being reinforced by other racist white people over time). Do you think centuries of systemic discrimination both overt and subtle came out of anything other than straight up racism?

Also this is a really bizarre reason to ~take issue with rap videos~ but okay.

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #72 on: October 03, 2014, 06:40:03 PM »
Let's try to remain civil here.  Points on both sides can be made without resorting to language that attacks other members.

Offline ningyou

Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #73 on: October 03, 2014, 07:14:55 PM »
....um. Wow. Okay. So "tosspot" is just as bad as (if not worse than) "it's black people's own fault that employers discriminate against them, because they just don't know how to *act* in public?" Got it. :S

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Inherent Racism of Modern Mainstream Rap Music
« Reply #74 on: October 03, 2014, 08:27:06 PM »
ningyou, I was not trying to single you out or anything, I was just sharing my thoughts on this subject.

It is safe to say the vast majority of employers (management positions and above) are not black (or minorities, for that matter).  This means that minorities face bias - and a well-documented one at that.  As a result, over the long-term, the goal is to create a society where management positions are equally represented by a variety of races.  This is also why we encourage more women to enter engineering and science fields.

I never suggested that any minority should "talk like white people."  All I said is that certain behaviors and personality traits are frequently associated with those who are successful in their careers.  Look at people who have done well in life, whether it is international giants like Narendra Modi (the prime minister of India) and Alassane Ouattara (the president of Cote d'Ivoire) or simply minorities who have been successful in everyday life (working in management, accounting, teaching, medicine/nursing, etc).  All of these people are successful because they know the importance of operating in a multicultural society, and avoid behaviors that insulate themselves along ethnic lines.  When an African American uses the n-word when speaking with other African Americans, or dresses in a manner found in mainstream rap videos, they are essentially making a choice to not participate in the mainstream, multicultural society (a conglomeration of European, Asian, Hispanic, and Black cultures).  Rather, they are making a choice to associate themselves with the image portrayed in the media.

To be successful in any career, it is important to present oneself in a manner that is welcoming and pleasant to all people.  I'm not saying this is right, it's just the way of the world.  The likelihood that a minority working in accounting is going to get clients of any race, dressing in saggy jeans and using the n-word, is very slim at best.

The point a few of us were making earlier, and from what I gather what Euron was saying, is that many of these negative associations within the black community have been artificially introduced through the media.  It's a shame that these artificially introduced images have been embraced by much of the black community when it is predominantly white producers who are funding this.