The End of Hip Hop

| February 28, 2003

The proof can be found on any episode of MTV ?Cribs,? a Right Guard antiperspirant commercial featuring Red Man and Method Man, or the latest DMX Jet Li movie: Real rap culture is dead.? And all that?s left are the shameless hangers-on intent on squeezing a few more drops of blood from the corpse. ?It?s had a good run, but it no longer serves the community that spawned it,? says Pierre Bennu in Pop and Politics.

Aside from all the ?bling bling? and gross display of self-love and wealth-love, which rank supreme on hip hop?s current industry standard, there is the notion that the very language created by hip hop culture has failed to hold any valuable meaning. ?Gangsta shouldn?t be shooting someone you grew up with in the face; ?Gangsta? is calling the United States to task for not attending the World Summit on Racism in South Africa,? says Bennu. ??Baling? shouldn?t be renting a mansion; it should be owning your own distribution company or starting a union.?

Just below the surface, though, underground hip hop is alive and kicking. And projects like Camp Cool J and Russell Simmons? rally to stop budget cuts for New York City schools are great examples of rap pioneers putting a little back into the community. But while these things soften the blow, they?re not enough to mend a broken heart. So Bennu parts ways with hip hop, his first true love, saying, ?I will always love you, but it?s time to move on.?
-Nick Garafola

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