Black Culture

Destruction of Black Civilization: Did Hip-Hop Swagga Jack Black Culture?


“So, I try to find a clue in you/ But evidently White folks know more Black history than we do” – “G.O.D.” -Common feat. Cee Lo

On June 19, 1865, Black folks in Galveston, Texas finally got the Emancipation Proclamation announcement that slavery was over. They were ecstatic that they no longer had to choose between pickin’ massa’s crops or gettin’ beaten with rawhide. On June 19, 2012, rap artists got the Hip-Hop Emancipation memo that they no longer had to be coons and buffoons on the corporate rap music plantation, and make mindless, murda music to mislead the masses. They were, now, free to make music to actually uplift the Black community. Their reaction?

“Naw, dawg. We good…”

Although many African Americans are celebrating Juneteenth, a holiday marking the “official” end of slavery in the U.S., many in Hip-Hop still have not gotten the message. While it may be argued that there was a time when artists had to bow to the will of major record labels to be heard, in the Internet age of YouTube and Twitter, this is no longer the case. So, what we have is not really modern day slavery, but voluntary servitude.

Back in 1987, Dr. Chancellor Williams wrote the outstanding book, The Destruction of Black Civilization, about the factors that led to the decline of great African societies. If he would have waited just a few more years, he could have added a chapter called “Hip-Hop,” as it has done what 400 years of slavery could not. It has made a generation of African Americans, totally, reject Black culture.

Today, many in Hip-Hop have ceased to identify themselves with “Blackness.” Although, some of our lighter-skinned grandparents had to “pass for white” to get over on society, many artists today “pass for Hip-Hop” instead of accepting the social responsibility of being Black in America.

For some, Hip-Hop is more than just a “culture”; it has become a separate race. And they show more allegiance to Hip-Hop than to the culture of their ancestors. I would not be surprised if one day somebody started a campaign to get Hip-Hop included as a special racial category on the McDonald’s employment application forms.

The only time that some artists play the rap “race card” is when someone steps to them about their negative messages. How many times have you heard an otherwise culturally-clueless rapper, eloquently, defend his lyrics by claiming, “Y’all just pickin’ on me ‘cause I’m an African American, Black man of color in America. I don’t see y’all sayin’ nuthin’ to Arnold Schwarzenegger….”

Although, some of the mainstream rappers are quick to defend Gay Rights, pitbull rights, and the rights of large sea mammals, they are slow to speak out on “Black” issues. They will even jump to the defense of a White person using the dreaded “N “ word.

Case in point is the recent uproar over the N*gga joke that was tweeted courtesy of actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s Twitter account. Although artists like Q-Tip expressed righteous indignation, some quickly rose to defend their damsel in distress. It was reported that The-Dream tried to take the heat by claiming that he was the real culprit. And later Nas threatened to give anybody who messed with his ride-or-die chick of the Caucasian persuasion a quick Queensbridge beat-down.

Maybe The-Dream needs to revisit Malcolm X’s “House Negro vs. Field Negro” speech, where he said “the house Negro loved his master more than the master loved himself.” And Nas should go back and listen to his own, now autobiographical song “Coon Picnic (These Are Our Heroes..)”

“Let’s hear it, too, for the spooks who do cartwheels/ ’cuz they say they played their parts well.”

However, they are not the only ones suffering from a racial identity crisis.

As hardcore as “MC Kill-M-All” may be when interviewed by DJ Blaze on Hip Hop Power 97 in NY, his personality does a 180, when he politely chats with DJ Richie the C on Dance 105 in Des Moines. Or the same rapper who flashes guns and throws up gang signs on the Murda U Magazine DVD goes out of his way to convince a reporter from CNN or Forbes, that he is just an average guy who only wants peace for all mankind.

The real problem is that rappers rep’ thug-ism harder than we rep’ Black culture.

You have to give the swag boys credit for one thing – conviction. They are very clear on what they represent. (Whatever that may be.)

While the thugz have no problem walking into a ritzy, black-tie event with their drawers showin’, a 40-oz. in one hand and a big, greasy bucket of fried chicken in the other, some of us won’t even wear an African medallion out in public for fear of being labeled a “radical.” And even though the gangstas will stand up in a room full of Ph.Ds and boldly defend their rights to be as ig’nant as they wanna be, the conscious cats get nervous just debating 13-year-olds about the difference between rap and Hip-Hop.

So, just as commercial rap music helped to destroy our culture, this Juneteenth, we must make a vow to restore it. We must once again be proud to be Black.

Even though Ice T claims in his new documentary, The Art of Rap, that rap music made “something out of nothing,” in reality, it made nothing out of something…

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

He can be reached at info@nowarningshotsfired.com, on his website at www.NoWarningShotsFired.com, or on Twitter (@truthminista).

  • i dont see how or what hip hop have to do with black parents not raising there children black or african.  hip hop isnt the reason why black people turned from being black and proud to screaming its not about black and white and the dumb notion that there is only one race the “human race”.  to blame hip hop and forget that the same thing happen with other genre of black music (rock, jazz, blues etc etc) makes no sense to me.

    the #1 point that chancellor williams made in his book was the mixing (of the race), the trusting (of other races over your own), and the lack of unity (within out race) is what led to the destruction of our civilization
    and if you take hip hop out the picture
    we will still be faced with the same problems

    so no hip hop didnt “swagga jack” the black culture
    we abandoned our culture for the illusion of being included in a system that wants to destroy us

    • TALK_BOSS

      Well said…….

    • Well chief…Hip Hop started out innocent and pure, it also had a lot of cultural foundations like, African,Jamaican and Latin influences. As time went on and this culture we called Hip Hop got commercial recognition through RAP the “all powerful” Jew stepped in and that’s when the true essence of Hip Hop was separated from the people. If you look at these uncle tom rappers now they would not survive in the golden age of Hip Hop (1976-1994). Your from Brooklyn you should know your history chief. Although we would still have these issues in our communities if Hip Hop was here or not is not the issue. It is an issue when RAP excellerates the ignorance with self destructive and self hatred at our peoples expense and some other race (JEWS) profits from it. And sir RAP is the new Willy Lynch system for our people to destroy ourselves. Check “How to Make a Slave” -William Lynch those techniques( psychologically) are used within RAP today.

      •  AGAIN, its lack of knowledge of self. you had these same coons in rock, rag time and every other genre of music WE created.  the jew created the sambo character also, and once HE created it WE lined up to play the role in movies because WE couldnt get other roles
        and with us playing the role we helped brain wash our children to believe that we talked like “yessa boss, i’sa be’sa” and all that bull.

        and just like hip hop now, WE created it, and because WE dont know OURself we allow those that continue to steal from us to dictate what is and what isnt “black” or to be black.

        when that black family CHOOSE not to teach they child(ren) what it is to be black, who they black fore fathers is etc etc then WE create the platform for this to happen.  stop acting like black history started when hip hop was created, nothing happening now is new. when our babies in the 2000’s are STILL looking at dolls and saying they perfer the white doll over the black or the black image is dirty and the white image is trust worthy etc etc a test they took in the 60s or 70s before i was even born then we are lying to our self when we blame hip hop for “swagga jacking” a culture that we dont even control or have a say so in, like our so call black organizations like the NAACP  who started this group? not us, not hip hop………..who help fund our black colleges??? not hip hop, this issue is so much more then hip hop but hip hop is the whipping boy and the excuse black people use when we dont want to look at our self and what we AINT doing when it comes to culture.

        you mentioned “cultural foundations” because African, Jamaican and the so call Latin “cultural foundation” ISNT african????

        simple as this
        because WE dont know who WE are THEY will continue to exploit and mold OUR culture to what THEY want……. no matter if its hip hop now, movies or the next thing WE create

      • Q.

        Excellent comments, duke.

        To be fair to the writer, I don’t think he was trying to be literal–it seemed like a lot of his analogies were just to provoke thought. Points well taken all around, though. It’s all in the same spirit.

        Yeah, but lack of Knowledge of Self is the linchpin here. I say this all the time.

      • immackulate

        i doubt if its the lack of knowledge in self MORE than ITS ALWAYS YOUR OWN PEOPLE/1 BAD APPLE WILL SPOIL THE BUNCH

      • Black Mamba

        amen brother

      • Pierre Elliott

        YO THE BROTHER DROPPED HIS KNOWLEDGE… BUT ITS TRUE.
        I SEE YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR…SPANISH AND BLACK.
        AND THEY ACT LIKE THEY DONT KNOW TITO PUENTE OR JAMES BROWN… TELLIN ME: OH THAT SOUNDS OLD…

        IF THAT WERE THE CASE, MY GENERATION NEVER WOULDA SAMPLED 40,50,60S JAZZ.. COUNTRY SOUL.. NOW HEADS DONT SAMPLE AND THE MUSIC IS DEVOID OF SOUL.

    • immackulate

      man you blind my bruvah … see niggas dont wanna BLAME hiphop becuz we have an affinity for the culture … but at some point MATURITY sets in (you know when you STOP believing that they REAL, rich, pimpin, thugging, etc…) most these rappers is MARRIED with CHILDREN but they aint gonna tell you that cuz they sold you a dream that you still clutching on to.  Why do you think PR’s lie about their artists being in relationships, dont tell you that majority of these artists tried to attend college … cuz it hurts they pocket book and goes against what they are rapping to you and your sons/daughters.

      “either you make a joyful noise upon the LORD or you just making noise”

      aint no if’s and or but’s around that homey…

      •  meaningless response.

        if you think hip hop is what “swagga jacked” black culture then its you thats blind “bruvah”

      • immackulate

        tell me the difference between RAP and its origins and rap now COMMERCIALIZED and tell me there aint a difference – wake up YOU OBVIOUSLY dont understand Mathematics and RELATIVITY … er’thangs relative

    • Samuel_Jones1

      “we abandoned our culture for the illusion of being included in a system that wants to destroy us”

  • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    This article is weird. You say hip hop is a race, then abandon that point, then say Gwenyth Paltrow’s friends are “house negros,” then abandon that point. Then you kind of confuse “swagga buys” with “thugs,” and I think that right there is your whole argument derailing, cause it’s not about the “conscious MCs” versus the “gangsta MCs” anymore. It’s more complicated than that, there’s more voices being heard, and it’s kind of funny how the more diverse the culture gets, the louder you hear people screaming that it is dieing. You hear it all over the world in different capacities. If hip hop is a race, then this is it’s racist phase.

    • Pierre Elliott

      no no no. Hip-Hop the TRUE form WAS NOT ABOUT…
      CLUBS,HOES AND CLOTHES… and if it was..it was only a certain amount of people
      who made that music…But there was balance. There is NO balance..
      Only one form of this music…The Most IGNORANT. Radio wise, real music is gone.

  • Point well taken.

  • Q.

    I’m still SMH at Nas over that coonish comment he made last week. He was out of bounds for that. I expected better.

    Overall, I get your point, Minista Scott…

    • Lack of knowledge of Self and history. Check.

    • Selling your soul for a dollar, throwing dignity out the window. Check.

    • Just general degradation of your culture for the sake of mindless entertainment. Double check.

    …that’s today’s rap game in a nutshell (with a few exceptions, of course).

  • Pierre Elliott

    Hip-Hop like Jazz was sold to the highest bidder. Black, Latin and White ALL SOLD THEIR LABELS.. In NYC, it was: Sleeping Bag, POP Art, Zakia, Sutra and the list goes on and on….The people thought these labels would take care of the artists already on the rosters…No it was slash and burn and now there is nothing. Black people lost in between the years of 92-95. Crucial in black america, as well as the coon monkey
    who sold BET to Viacom. Which is run by a right wing zealot. And in the case of Hip-Hop
    some would say Gangsta Rap did it, or it was made to counter the thouightful more intelligent Hip-Hop. It was also sold by people of color. We didnt do a quality check
    on Hip-Hop. I live in NYC, and I noticed a change in the fall/winter of 1995.

    Wu was killing the airwaves in NYC, you had dope groups in the underground dropping
    incredible music and rhymes. B.I.G. had just dropped Ready to Die the year before.

    Then SWV dropped: “Anything”Wutang Remix”. It was cool the first few times you
    heard it, cause at that time both KISS and WBLS were playing no Hip-Hop until
    later at night…So HOT97 ( which had been a dance/freestyle/rican style station)
    one day changed up and became the blueprint for some many stations across this
    country… But they played the song 30 times in 3 hours. I said to myself…

    “This cant be right..” Then they began to do it with Total, they did it with Missy
    they did it 2PAC” California” They also did it with MA$E as well as so many throw
    away artists from 97–2000. By the time 2001 came around TRL was on MTV
    and Comicview became a Rogues Gallery of buffonish comedy of the most
    ghetto and most dumb of black comedians. And trust me, for a small period I watched
    Comicview. It was BLACK COMEDY…And a good portion of the talent was southern
    and it was ALL relatable. But when Viacom took over, they dumbed it down 90%
    and thats when you had white and asian people telling me: Hey Comicview is funny..

    Are you kidding me??

  • Pierre Elliott

    We forgot about the struggle…We forgot about The Jeffersons. We forgot about Earth Wind & Fire, We forgot about Emmitt Till, we forgot about Skool Daze. We forgot about pride…We forsook our SOUL a soul that is eternal, and is MAGICAL and COSMIC. Something cant be spoken of but only heard…It keeps this world and dimension in balance… That balance has been distorted on many levels….Because we are the first of this earth… First science. First Love. First Drama. First civilization. First Magjik.
    First religion. But last to realize what is going on………

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  • Jim Beam

    So Nas is a “house negro” for not being angry at Gwyneth Paltrow over referring to a song by it’s actual name ? I hate this “here’s our chance to get somebody” attitude that SOME blacks have. It’s disgusting. And Nas has done more for hip hop than this clown of an author could ever hope to.

    • immackulate

      shut yo HIP HOP culture living self up … he a sucker for trying to give her a pass
      how many rap songs have the title NIGGA in them … and when did we start letting them get away with saying it?

      • Chrisblackusa

        when did we start letting them get away with it,,,who are you,,,we are not in the same lane,,,the word only has power to those you look up to,,,every generation of black america has been different since this so called freedom,,,there is no part of black america since slavery that is immulated from us like what is given from this hip hop culture,,,is stronger then all the barriers the elders built to seperate,,race,class,religion and yet it controls the soul of more youths in every country like a religion,,,,

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  • Its strange the all these rappers got alot of necklaces but none of them have a African Medallion with diamonds in it = Sellouts

  • justyouraverage

    unapproving my comments smfh censorship at its worst an u sit ther having posted this saying how black people are being held back from our full potential …its peole like u holding us back i have a voice an just coz u dont approve of my oppinion dosent mean i wont voice it u nazi

    • immackulate

      you’re a weirdo

  • kylekuts

    Hope is within you. The american dream is and always was a lie, only answer is separation.

  • immackulate

    good read …

  • Beautifully put…

  • Black Exodus

    I’m a artist that reps the struggle…faithfully and truthfully. Check me out!

    Black Exodus “DIamonds” “Most Hated” “Problems” “Unchangeable” youtube me

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  • rep87

    It appears that we forgot Industry killed Pro Black Rap acts in favor of So call Gangsta Rap in the late 90’s groups like P. E. KRS 1 Paris ,X Clan , Poor righteous teachers , KAM , and they poured big money into Negitive rap acts and every rap magazine and  web site’s fell for it to AHH is guilty of it just as well as BET ,MTV , and others despite what many say The Power that be that control what children hear see and watch from pushing homo , lesbian, fake gang members, what hiphop site is willing to step up and say if you are promoting and producing rapping about garbage you want be on this site ?

  • LetsBeRealpeople

    I see your perspective, but I think you still miss with generalizing the Black Intellect.
    If anything, on the topic of swagger jacking, more like pawning the Black Culture and Auctioning the Black Culture through record contract deals.

    “The Otherside” of the deal will name authority by owning your contract and the contents within it. Hip Hop is an idea within a culture, it’s foundation is expressed through music, mostly.

    Those cats  Began it in New York, but certainly their seeds have bastardized and have become the heads of the mainstream hiphop game.  The West Coast Gansta Rap had its place and time, but gets marketed as the bad rap…When you listen to it again, with an adult ear; West Coast Rap spoke about fighting against authority, crooked cops and the deals they made in their area to put food on the table. The Powers that be wanted to shut West Coast rap down, because it would speak about the government involvment in placing drugs and gunsin the Black Community. Yeah, you got the glamorized commercial, radio ready, but when you sit with the lyrics you start to hear the story of what was happening to Black People.
     . . .
     For the rest of us who run our program through the neighborhoods and on the smaller stages and festivals, we preserve Hip Hop…don’t read me wrong, we got kids running it in the East, but they got label vampires after their  ticket.

    Black People know who they are but definitely get choked when they submit to mainstream. It’s 2012, phrase “First Black” should not exist. We are high achievers with or without that System, and always have been. We can’t join in a fight against Hip Hop, it is the hub for all of our creativity and things/words/history/life/future that can’t nobody express so eloquantly as they can through Hip Hop. 

    We have always had folks selling out, k00ning, and jiving you out of yours. That’s not new to 
    Black People. When we say to somebody, “Stay Black” we know exactly what that means.

    We know when somebody is fronting on some b’llsh’t  trying to call who we are, what we do by some other name, or some other face.

    What we will have to do from 2012 on out, is preserve the integrity of what is the art of being Black. Being Black is a soul matter. Being Black is a living record of how human folks treat each other according to what they see, assume and hear.

    It’s never the end of our cultural existence when somebody inside or out misuses “Being Black” It is a shame, an indicator of shame that things are the same as they ever were.

    • Jeremey Pope

      Good point my dude

  • Chrisblackusa

    this article is so freaking wack,,,,hiphop controls the soul of youth in almost every country where music is played,,,,and guess what ,,it is stronger then all the bonds the elders built for centuries,,,,race,religion,class,language,,,hiphop flows through all,,,there are some things from so called black culture in america that is not good for you also,,ex, alot of the soul food staples,,pig feet and so on,,,,,hiphop has taken over gospel music,rock music and doing major moves in classical music too now,,,if your not talkin the foundation with a dj mixing the beats where he can get assaulted for a missed on time mix then its a different scene anyway,,,the mc has completely turned his back on the dj today if he even has a dj,,,and let me tell ya this much,,,the future leaders in almost every country will be hiphop heads because we got their soul as youths,,,

  • isnt this the same article you always write, we get your point, write something different, and regarding the nigga joke, i was watchin a rap battle between a whiteboy the real deal and some crip named magic, magic called the whiteboy a cracker which is ok to the masses, but whiteboy cant say nigga cuz thats racist. I am not saying its right to say nigga, but we cant have it both ways. If we dont want to be called niggas or in my case spics then we need to stop calling white ppl honkeys and crackers. Also i think is offensive to compare rappers to slaves, rappers have it good compared to slaves, i think that is a slap in the face to all ppl from black decent, you shouldnt compare getting whipped and forced into slavery to someone who is getting paid to do a job and getting paid very well with a contract. No one snatches rappers out the hood in chains.

  • TRUE INDEED 

  • JoshuaIsaac

     Gensis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, know of a sure that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs ( America), and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. Psalms 44:14 Thou make us a byword ( nigger,nigga,coon, colored,black,etc.) among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people. Read! My lost Hebrew people it’s time to WAKE UP to the truth!!! Every being on this earth can identify the nation from which they came, besides us. Why? Because it’s part of the curses we recieved in Deuteronomy 28, we didn’t follow the commandments Moses brought back from mountians so we have been cursed! Hosea 5:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..

  • Thats crazy how HipHop has took the place of Rap.. Rap was frm the soul, it was that energy that soothed the Pain.. This Hip Hop shit, a lot of these people r only out 4 $$$ n they will let whoever got the biggest dollar stick dick in they ass rather it b Male or Female… n the Craziest Thing that this is a fact… majority of people 2day dont even care 2 learn or understand who they really are or where They came frm.. Vampires&Zombies is what i call them… A major portion of the HipHop Nation really is just a Hip n a Hop.. There’s no ground 2 stand on 4 them, that’s Y they believe in doing so many drugs.. They wanna b numb n the only way they feel love is thru a deep sickness they have inside of them.. Yet when they physical leaves this earth n they Soul c what they Generations has become.. It will b 2 late…  Ghost

    • Pierre Elliott

      shorty i hear what ure saying but u got it backward.
      Hip-Hop came first. It is the father of rap.
      Rap is what was made AFTER the corporations got a hold of hip hop.

      • Pierre Elliott

        but all of what you said is real.

    • Hip Hop is a craft and a culture. Rap is something you do so although your right but you have rap and Hip Hop backwards it should be the other way around.

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  • Reblogged this on i Rockwell and commented:
    Dope Editorial… Worth the Read

  • The best Hip Hop essay I’ve read this year. On the dogma side, yet still worthy of discourse. I question why Hip Hop is not considered high art. I think you just answered my question.

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