Fear of An Intelligent Black Man: Does Hip-Hop Hate the Educated Rapper?

“…Like conscious rappers/Mad ‘cause we winnin’” – “Lap Dance”, Tyga

During a recent episode of BMET’s (Black Mis-Education Television), Fantastic Friday Rap Battle, the crowd went wild as the champ, B. Grimey, dropped bombastic bombs on the challenger, MC Imhotep. By the time he said his third “yo mama so Black” rhyme, the celebrity judges were applauding loudly as hosts, Clarence J and Rosie danced across the stage. However, when MC Imhotep started rappin’ about how Grimey’s sneakers were made from sweatshop slave labor, his bling courtesy of South African diamond mines, and his swag a product of a dysfunctional educational system, the audience sat dumbfounded, and the judges ran for cover as Clarence J yelled “cut to commercial….”

Hip-Hop has a long history of beef with intelligent rappers. I remember back in the day when Kangol Kid of UTFO dissed fellow group member EMD, “The Educated Rapper” in front of Roxanne, with the classic line  “I know you’re educated/But when will you learn/Not all girls want to be involved with book worms.” Since EMD was just a character who wasn’t exactly known for droppin’ knowledge, it was understood as just part of the act.

However, when rappers like Tyga infer that intelligent MCs are just hatin’ on him and his crew because they are “winning,” that, sir, means war!

In fairness, Tyga was not the first to diss Hip-Hop brainiacs, as over years more than a few commercially successful rappers have taken random shots at intellectual rappers. Remember back in 2002, Nelly aimed a diss at “tha Teacha,” KRS-ONE, when he said that people judging Hip-Hop are the ones whose album flop on his song “Number 1.”


So, does Hip-Hop really despise smart rappers?

Historically, America has always feared intelligent Black men. Even going back to the early 19th Century with Nat Turner. Although he is portrayed in history books as a mindless brute, runnin’ around slaughtering slave owners, Turner was intelligent. Also, even though the Black Panthers of the late 1960s were known for bustin’ their guns, it must remembered that the party was founded on a college campus, and their main threat to the power structure was their political education classes. Today, since Hip-Hop is dominated by Black male voices, the paranoia is still there.

Although Ice T is mostly known for his pimp and gun talk, his most threatening lyric was “my lethal weapon is my mind.” That still holds true today as, although White mainstream Americans profess to hate violent, misogynist rap music, the reason why they back it financially and give it a platform is because of their fear of the alternative; music that will inspire Black people to challenge the status quo.

So, it is not really hate that fuels the animosity against intelligence in rap, but fear. And when this fear is internalized, it morphs into self-hatred. As Marianne Williamson said in her oft quoted poem,  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Although some rappers are actually intellectually challenged in real life, many are just playing dumb. One of the best examples is one of the hottest rappers in the game right now, 2Chainz. Although, he is rumored to be academically gifted and, according to his website, even down with the Hip-Hop Congress’s “Respect My Vote” campaign, the message that he sends our children does not reflect any of that. His latest songs, “Riot” and “Rich Man’s World” could have easily been the political anthems of the  Occupy Wall Street/Trayvon Martin Era, but instead he chose to continue with the same misogynistic  tales of murder and mayhem.

So what do we do?

We declare war.

Contrary to popular belief, there has never been an all out war against Hip-Hop ignorance.

Although, back in ‘94, Jeru the Damaja threatened to stab “Mr. Ignorance,” “in the heart with sharp steel bookmarks” in “Can’t Stop The Prophet”, he is alive and kicking. Reason being, over the years we have either looked to a rap apologist going through mid-life crisis still tryin’ to be down, or an overpaid Hip-Hop academician to solve the problem.

However, the solutions are simple.

First, we have to stop parroting the lie that the reason that Hip-Hop is in its present state because that is what “we” want.

Uh…no, “we” don’t.

Unfortunately, anyone who is smarter than a fifth grader is, somehow, always left out of the official Hip-Hop census.

Also, conscious rappers and Hip-Hop journalists need to stop goin’ out like suckas. Although, playing dumb may be an entrance requirement for the cool kids table for high school freshman, when adults dumb themselves down to fit in with their kid’s homies…Well, that’s just wrong.

Finally, as unbelievable as it might sound, the best sage wisdom comes courtesy of the late Notorious B.I.G. on his song “Unbelievable”. “Dumb rappers need teachin’.” If we can’t make being smart cool, at least we can make being stupid, uncool.

So, no Tyga we ain’t mad because you’re winnin’. We’re mad because of lyrics like yours, our children are losin’.

Although, school is out for the summer, we have to admit that for Hip-Hop, school has been out for decades. It’s time ring the bell and yell, “Class is back in session!”

A generation ago, KRS One proclaimed, “The age of the ignorant rapper is done.” Unfortunately, we’ve been singin’ that same song for 20 summers.

Maybe this year, KRS. Maybe this year….

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is This Ain’t Hip Hop, a column for intelligent Hip-Hop headz.

Reach him via e-mail at, on his website,, or on Twitter (@truthminista).

  • Mechanikal Bull

    great piece my brotha.  we need more….more….more!  It’s a war going on outside we aint safe from!

    • Rocky

      i feel the same way.. dumb rappers B Quit 

  • First off how can you write about a hip hop show on a dummy network like b.e.t . and Not know the Correct Name Of the Host that you are reporting about..His name is TERRANCE J. (we know that you dont read or watch or even know who he is to make this huge misprint of character). R.I.F.. Who ever this is as a writer a person or even a fan do your homework on the people you are refering too .And where the hell are the Editors of this story ……SMH

    • He id that on purpose homes. I think you missed the joke

    • DipSet23

      The Bigga Figga. Like you aint bet the PITCHA. Niga did that on Purpose. BET it BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION. Dude had BMET, Black Mis-Education Television. and you getting it twisted. This the same ignorance of the younger generation dude is speaking about. Read and understand before you comment

    • immackulate

      man you a complete DUMB AZZ – and clearly didnt understand SHYT you were reading
      phuck outta here if you cant comprehend SARCASM

  • ItGoesDownINtheDM

    hip hop doesnt hate the educated rapper however that rapper gets put on a pedalstool and gets ridiculed for anything they do that might seem out of character … ie canibus is getting murdered right now for pulling out a note pad and i mean murdered ……… but no one does anything about the rapper fraud who claimed they had major stake in them streets before rap …. we just go OH HE MAKES GOOD MUSIC WHO CARES lol 

  • Tony G.

    I agree with godblessbeatz that there is no middle ground….back in the day u had the NWA’s, u had the Pacs and Bigs and Wutangs..but u also had PE, Poor Righteous Teachers, Tribe and others and it was all accepted becuz it was all good music…

  • Jas1ne

    All I can say is let them think they winning. They’ll have a new ni **a next year.Underground rappers have a huge fanbase so they always gonna stay relevant. Touring overseas, across the country, and INDEPENDENTLY putting out albums.  It’s all about longevity not how many records you sell. So let these commercial cats have their 15 minutes of fame cuz eventully they gonna have to find out the hard way you aint gonna stay on top forever. Ask Nelly

    • jason curry

      you speaketh the truth.  Where’s yin yang twins?  where’s chingy?  shit, where’s nelly?  where’s mike jones?  laffy taffy niggaz?  its like a payday loan.  You get the money quick, but payback’s a beatch.

      • Jas1ne

        Exactly. They think they on top running thangs but will be broke within 10 years. Nobody’s gonna get that Jay/Diddy money because they not business savy

      • immackulate

        nelly still get more rotation and mention than krs-one – but kris get more respect

        it aint about WHERES WHOEVER cuz they both fell off
        its about the LEGACY left behind

    • immackulate

      man that goes both ways bruvah … you can ask KRS-ONE the same thing you asked NELLY – point is when you review both artists body of work there’s a BIG DIFFERENCE in the contribution giving to the culture – NELLY will never have the respect KRS-ONE has just like JESSE JACKSON will never have the respect MLK but he prolly got more $$$$$

  • kstaxx

    These ol school and underground Hip hop heads and their fans can say what they want about this new generation you aint got to like or respect it but the show will go on with or without you, there still is gonna be more albums/mixtapes, more shows/tours, more fans, mo money, mo money,mo money its so many different type of styles to choose from, Im so sick of all this complaining and whining about the State of Hip Hop, nobody is forcing you to listen to something you dont wanna listen too, nobody is forcin you to buy or download music you dont want to buy or download, if you dont like what you hear on the radio switch the station or turn it off, if you dont like what you see on TV then change the channel or turn it off.

    And if you dont like the mainstream rap thats being played on the radio or shown on Tv, thats what they have underground rappers for Its not rocket science!! there is room for everybody in the rap game to eat from the most lyrical with substance to the crunkest hypest club rapper to the trap rappers to the gangsta mafioso type rappers, everybody has their own lane in which allows themselves be heard such as Ludacris, T.I, B.O.B, Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka, Future, 2 Chainz, Travis Porter, Rick Ross, Plies, Ace Hood, Lil Wayne, Jay Electronica, Currenscy, Kirko Bangz, Yo Gotti, Big Krit, J.Cole, Pusha T, Drake, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, Big Sean, Stalley, Freddie Gibbs,The Game, Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle, YG, Tyga, Wiz Khalifa, Meek Mill, Wale, Fabolous, Llyod Banks, Jadakiss, Styles P, Maino, French Montana, ASAP Rocky GET IT WHERE U FIT IN!!


      • kstaxx

        So are you saying everybody on that list of rappers DON’T CARE ABOUT UPLIFTMENT OR ENLIGHTENMENT FOR THE COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES? Have you actually looked into what these artists are doing behind the scenes for their communities, such as their charities, foundations, etc or are you jus like so many who wants to judge before actually doing your reserach on each particular artist.  

      • immackulate

        say what you mean and mean what you say YOUNGSTER
        thats the bottom line … if you REALLY care about your community/families involved than you aren’t going to SPEW out messages of self hatred, violence, drugs, etc… these bruvahs tell you off record the ill’s of the hood but then GLORIFY it in song format thats giving off 2 completely different messages

        i wonder do artists realize that they will be held accountable for the bad messages and vibrations sent out to their audiences – unfortunately, rappers are TEACHERS AND PREACHERS to a certain extent (rather you agree or not, its truth)

      • kstaxx

        Messages of self hatred violence and drugs, thats everyday life in America from the movies to the TV series why would they not rap about that? most of the hoods these rappers come from thats all they have known and see so why not spew it for the world to see, like Pac said I’m gonna show the most graphic details of what I see and experience in the hood from the drugs, gangs,to violence money etc, and hopefull those in power will make an attempt to stop whats going on in those communites.

      • immackulate

        since its everyday life in AMERICA (we both can agree on that) but its being used so much it’s starting to sound like a cop out – why do we need to be REMINDED of it every artists that comes out … hell why do i need rap music if i can look out my window and PHYSICALLY see what they are PHONETICALLY speaking about – who wants to watch the same ole movie over and over and over again?

        do you watch MENACE 11 SOCIETY everyday – sometimes you dont feel like watching COSBY SHOW,  COLOR PURPLE or ROOTS maybe TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD … you dont?  OK, you chose to watch MENACE er’day right … understand, that psychologically can play apart in your everyday thinking/pschy.

        understand MUSIC evokes feelings … when you go to a party they dont play ELEVATOR MUSIC or the SOUNDS OF WATER GUSHING AGAINST THE SEA SHORES cuz that shyt uh put you to sleep … quick – same thing goes for the other end of the specturm potna

      • Jas1ne

        These rappers have managers and publicists setting up these charities for them and tell them “it’s good for their image” They dont do this shit on their own. You can tell who gives back and who don’t

      • kstaxx

        Yeah I know they got mangers and publicists that setup the charities for them but its still there money they are donating it really dont matter rather they do it because it presents a good image or not, the fact of the matter is at least they puttin some of that money to good use and giving back. What exactly are you doin for your community since you so quick to criticize another man for what they are doin with theirs? And you right I can tell who gives back and who dont because I do my reserach.

      • Jas1ne

        I teach kids how to dj, to keep them off the streets and to make better use of their time, for free.

    • Labtekwon

      the show dont always go on holmes:
      ask all the Black Rock n Roll, Motown and 80’s R and B acts that have faded into oblivion.

      nothing last forever except the truth.


    • immackulate

      get out your feelings YOUNGSTER – nobody was speaking about your GENERATION in general – truth be told, the OLD HEADS when i was younger said the same thing – it’s not an OLD vs NEW its really a balance of YING AND YANG – good and bad – but right now there’s no balance – you were right when you said THE SHOWS STILL GONNA GO ON and it has but without any BALANCE – for every Young Jeezy there should be an Immortal Technique – so on and so forth. 

  • Isnt Tyga expecting a baby from a well known stripper? How is THAT “winning”? smh

  • FuckYa_Biotch662

    This Was A Very Well Put Together Article, I Had Fun Reading It. It Is True Hip/Hop Has Loss It’s Sense In Wisdom, Many Have The Key To Display It But Spreading Knowledge To This Generation Is Difficult Because They Are Mentally Lazy. You Need To Apply Truthful Force In Order To Make An Elevation Outta This And This Method Hasn’t Been Done Since The 90’s But One Day My Fiends, One Day It’s Coming.

  • KRS-ONE.

    I used to be a fan. But there was a time when you had Hip-Hop on lock.
    all you did was ego tripping. Building a temple for yourself, had people
    worshipping you. At a time when you could have made a difference.
    Where you could have put ego aside. And spoken common sense.

    Look at Chuck D. He never lost credibility.
    Because he never spazzed out on ego.

    Sorry to write this. But this is the truth.

    Attention is a hell of a drug.

  • Nice article…

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  • Preach brotha Preach!

  • Great article, i could never however get into the super-concious side of rap, and as a hip-hop head i know i probably missed out on a lot. However those that had that balance made me look at things differently. Nas for one made me really want to get down and read something when i was younger that would benefit my life, while wearing the freshest gear in a fly whip with a bad chick asking me “what am i learning”? I think it has to be a middle ground. I NEVER entertained the ignorant side of rap. I couldnt tell u one Tyga song except maybe the coconut lime song but at the same time i couldnt tell you one KRS-1 song either. But artist like Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, Big Krit, AZ, Wu Tang Clan, J Cole, even Kanye West in the beginning of his career just to name a few always mixed the conciousness with something you can relate to & snuck it in to make it stick.

    • Detroit Chick

      Agreed, its like puttin  the medicine in bread to disguise it. I feel  you, Common is another one that I feel does that but yes Nas did /does it best imo

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  • thaGOD83

    i was cleaning out my garage when tupacs dear mama came  on, and i couldnt help but stop and just zone out, thinking about the beautiful GODDESSESS whom sacrificed it all for me, that song to me is the best “hip hop “song ever written…great beat, hook, lyrics, power..i cant listen to any music talking about “bricks,bitches, kilos, cars, chains, etc” i have nieces, lil cousins, and a son, i have hustled in the streets and in corporate worlds and neither one is for me..i have been to too many funerals, sent too many kites to locked up friends, feared for my life too many times, to co sign a rapper almost 30 talking bout the very things that we within HATE..having a mother/father on drugs, brother/sister dead/shot, this dumb shit has to go…i mentioned Dear Mama, because that song could stop a 40 man brawl, can humble the hardest dude, and thats was REAL music of any genre does…we were here on the plan-et 1st, and now its time for us to go back home, this modern music keeps you trapped mentally, spiritually then it goes to the physical, im tired of all this bs in our streets, and these rappers are caught up in materialism, one way to keep you trapped, the youth cant free themselves when our own is keeping them confined through music, which is the key to the universe and its all OURS…i wont ever own a bentley, you wont either, so why listen to a rapper that sells death by selling dreams that lead to eternal pain, i got them bricks/birds, when coke/crack almost wiped us out, im not perfect by far, but Waking up out of my spiritual coma, starts with how i eat, who i hang with, my thoughts, and what i listen too.. if jay/puff aint selling liquor, its clothes, technology (take knowledge away) or like mentioned a lifestyle…there are certain people whom cant vibrate on a higher level, cant travel to other dimensions, so their aim is to keep us in a coma, with shots, bad water/food/tv (tell lie to your vision) and music..if you can shake that control method, you can bend time, time travel, read minds, fly) shout to krs-1, andre 3000, rakim, cannibus, poor rightous teachers, x clan, zulu nation, PAC, and any person that know this and doesnt care about fame/power/wealth, when health is more important that all 3 combined.    SHALOM GODS/GODDESSES


      While I AMEN 90% of this post, I have to hope that you don’t listen to the rest of the 2Pac album b/c he’s talking about the dope game, killing, and materialism of which you speak.  I look at 2Pac as someone who sold out to the machine b/c he had a GREAT gift and message in the beginning, but then he STARTED the T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E movement.  What a WASTE of good talent.

    • immackulate

      thumbs up  YOUNGSTER

    • Detroit Chick

      Best post I’ve read




  • screwfacecapone

    First of all, Nelly didn’t start the beef with KRS-One.  He was not dissing him, or anyone with number one, KRS just took it as a diss and ran with it.  If Nelly was guilty of anything, it was not backing down.  Secondly, a lot of what is called conscious hip hop is really condescending and self-righteous.  It’s cool to have a message, but when it gets too preachy, it just comes off to younger heads as ‘hate’.

  • justreal5

    Black people still practice slave religion and then run from that religion to another religion, of course we hate intelligent rappers. If we cant understand religion, science and social injustices..How are we supposed to understand anything other than no homo, or i got my red flag in my back pocket with my nina in right hand, with a oozi in my left hand, and i just skeeted on this ho the other night, and i came in her mouth…  

    • immackulate

      in my experiences the IGNORANT niggahs always hate the intelligent rappers cuz
      MISERY LOVES COMPANY right? so dont no immature, mind in the gutter, be damned if i pick up a book, dont know where im from but you can call me AFRICAN-AMERICAN (thats 2 different continents dummy lol,) wont teach my son his self worth and value BUT he got on JORDANS and know er’word to Young Jeezy Trap Or Die azz niggahs

      • Detroit Chick

        Ikr, dudes killin for concords, mixtape shouldve been called Trap N Die Niggas…ITs a shame an then my friends my age (24) ask me why I havent had kids?  Im like first off im not doin it until im financially stable an two I dnt knw if I wana have any if they will have to go to school an be around the retards I see everyday.

      • immackulate

        you know what … you made it this long you might as well wait until you find somebody that takes their MANHOOD seriously … but dont be scared because of all the RATCHETNESS around us … raise him up in the way that he should go AND your child will learn at an early age his self worth is not in a RAP song

  • BilderbergSuperstar

    Denzel didn’t win the oscar for Malcom X he won for Training Day…We don’t support anything that’s intelligent..I listen to all music..when rock comes on they call it classic..when hip-hop or r&b is on its old school..Until we respect the foundation we can never move forward..

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  • This is not about black people.  I’m sick and tired of black people trying to take over Hip-Hop.  It’s an art form!!!  Now, to the actual topic.

    People in Hip-Hop don’t like intelligence because education connotes wealth.  If you are educated, chances are that you had numerous advantages others never got.  Since Hip-Hop began as an inner-city art form and, more importantly, formed its identity around that, emcees always have to feel like they have to represent for the streets.  Well, my friends, representing for the streets means education and knowledge.  I remember when I was in college and a gang member – also a fellow college student, btw – told me that “nobody in the hood really listens to that Freestyle Fellowship sh*t.”  To him, it meant that it wasn’t AS HOOD, or didn’t keep it real as much.  To me, as long as those people represented for the people, then it didn’t matter who listened to them.  In other words, as long as you advocate for the common people, then you are keeping it supremely real.  Furthermore, they were from the hood anyways. 

    But, to me, you don’t have to be from the hood to represent the hood. And, even wilder, even if you are from the hood, you can betray the hood (and I don’t mean by moving out of it, I mean by abandoning it entirely).  Once you wrap your head around THAT, you realize THIS:  it doesn’t matter where you’re from it’s where you’re at.  And, once you figure that out, you realize that it doesn’t matter how educated or accomplished you are if you don’t represent for the people in the first place.  I’m out.  That didn’t make much sense, my bad.

    • immackulate

      LOL at your anger in that 1st line … SMH at black people TRYING to take over HipHop
      you my friend are a clown – take over HIPHOP? it was never anyone else’s for us to try to TAKEOVER it’s always belong to our people and the 4 elements of hiphop will always be apart of our culture.

      it’s not about education, being from the hood, or being rich and poor its about
      MATURITY which comes in all levels shapes and sizes – once we reach a certain level of maturity A MAN BECOMES A MAN and begins to put childish things away.  Unfortunately, 18, 21,25, 40 are just numbers that reflect a persons age and NEVER their maturity level.  If a person isn’t mature in thought than they continue to entertain the ignorance, self hatred, stereotypes that plague our collective progress.

      At some point we have to minimize the excuse making and begin to take accountability for the disrespectful way we carry ourselves … look around there’s no more PRIDE in being black.  Youngster’s don’t KNOW THYSELF because the people/person that raised them didnt care to teach them or didnt know THEMSELVES well enough to try to negate this cycle we continue to perpetuate.

      • Detroit Chick


    • Detroit Chick

      Lol U lost me with the first sentence. Black ppl tryna tkae over HipHop??!!! We ARE HipHop! It’s our story an the artform we created, If any one is tryna take it over its suburban white kids who think our music,culture an lifestyle is cool because it differs vastly from theirs. They wanna be rebellious so they throw on 2Chainz, but their mom would clutch her purse if she saw him walking down the street. I’m not against other races rapping, I love Em but you were waayy outta line for that comment. Smh an Lmao

    • Darren Myt Collins

      If anybody has “TAKEN OVER” hip hop its white coporate america

    • Jennifer Ebunilo

      you probably made a lot of sense but ur first sentence was just so foul I couldn’t read on. black people take over hip-hop?? black people INVENTED hip-hop.. you like the art form and yet know nothing of its lineage. thats just ignorance son.

  • thats whats up….

  • immackulate

    good article … next time add in a list of RAPPERS that are relavant to today’s standards
    but are pushing the envelope

    Immortal Technique
    Killah Mike
    Jay Elect
    K-Rino etc…

  • Craig Maximum

    the dumb ass rapper is by design …..ya don’t want intelligence cause being a goat/jackass seems to fun. P.S. there ain’t a rapper today who raps educated who is in the mass media. People have chosen not to listen to a dumb ass that’s why records sales suck.

  • Jim Beam

    The irony is usually white kids will listen to the intelligent black mans music and the black kids will listen to the most insanely ignorant sloth like moron that they can possibly find. I’ve been trying to figure this out for 20 years.

  • GladiatorGee05

    So-called conscious rappers should pick better beats. they’ll attract more listeners if they do, there’s only a small number of people in this generation that really get down with boom bap rap.

  • I think its about balance. I rap. I’m young (24yrs old). I lived in da hood and in da burbs. I’ve known men of God and real deal killers. I think its the responsibility of anyone who does what I do to maintain a #balance in whut dey rap bout. Its coo to make a bunch of songs about hoes, money, and mayhem. But you gotta #Balance that with songs bout serious issues too (like AIDs, Politics, Racism, Death). Successful rappers carry too much influence to NOT make sure a positive/serious message is also laced to counter some of the ignorance. My two cents.

    Follow @DaRealJoBlakk 

  • House Niggas Be Quiet…House Niggas Be Quiet…House Niggas Be Quiet…Your in a Real Niggas Presence!

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  • nasirm1

    Seem like you can just come out with any type of song and make a hit. We need conscious rappers also. Look how hip hop went down since the pass of PAC.

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  • Ronin

    Jesus…..I mean when will people realize that 2Pac may have started with an intelligent and revolutionary mentality, he ended up saying the same bullshit that everyone does now. I stopped listening for the same reason I can’t listen to the majority of garbage that’s out now. Hip hop represents a caricature how people see “young black men” and how “young black men” see themselves. As the music industry has shown repeatedly, there are plenty of “artists” that will dance when they’re told to, say what’s “trending”, “hot” or whatever they think is popular. Look at Eddy Burke’s comment below…..talking about “house niggas” and “real niggas”? It’s 2013 and you need to step up your book game! Read a paper, a book or a bible.

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