unity

A Hip-Hop House Divided: What Happened to U.N.I.T.Y.?


“I’m asking if you feel me/And the crowd left me stranded” – “Respiration”, Black Star

Recently, more than 50,000 disgusted and disillusioned Hip-Hop fans jammed into Jefferson Square Garden to protest what had become of their beloved music. The chants of “Death to Ratchet Rap” that filled the auditorium threatened to shake the Garden from its very foundation. But when the organizers asked for volunteers to fight against the destruction of the culture, the only noise that could be heard was the pitter-patter of scared little feet runnin’ toward the exits….

In 1993, rapper Queen Latifah made a call for unity in the Hip-Hop community on her song,”U.N.I.T.Y. ” Unfortunately, almost 20 years later, a lot more people have united to destroy Hip-Hop than have organized to try and save it.

Latifah wasn’t the first person to call for Hip-Hoppers to come together for a common cause, as this was a relatively common theme in rap’s early history. During the early ’80s, Hip-Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa was able to parlay his gift of bringing gangs together to promote Hip-Hop unity through the Zulu Nation. Later, KRS One was able to round up some of the most popular artists of the period to participate in the Stop the Violence Movement, as well as H.E.A.L. (Human Education Against Lies). Even the non-political rappers of the era found strength in numbers by organizing themselves in crews from the Juice Crew to the Hit Squad.

But today, the popularity of the “Self Destruction “ video has been replaced by kids beatin’ the hell outta each other on YouTube. Contrary to the West Coast 1990 unity song, “We’re All in the Same Gang,” time has taught us that we are not. We all are not fightin’ for the same thing.

Although, the commercial rappers are able to brag that their fans are “lovin’ the crew” or “ain’t nobody messin’ with my clique,” for the real Hip-Hop revolutionists in 2012, it’s more like “Me Against the World.”

The only reason that ratchet rap is winnin’ right now is because those who claim to want a return to lyricism and consciousness in Hip-Hop are disorganized. Although there are thousands of disgruntled Hip-Hop fans vehemently opposed to the negative direction that Hip-Hop has taken, you can hardly name one group that is actually organizing to overthrow the reign of ratchetness. Most organizations just want Lil Wayne to perform at their next “fundraiser to rescue Hip-Hop. “

Although the media tries to distract us with faux confrontations like Nicki Minaj vs. Mariah Carey or Rick Ross vs Young Jeezy, the real confrontations have been between those who speak Truth and those who propagate Lies. Those who want to be Free, and those who want to stay on the plantation. So, the battle rages on between those who want to use Hip-Hop as a tool to wake the masses up, and those who want to use it to lull them to sleep.

According to D.C. Hip-Hop artist, Yasin 360 WiseGuy, there is a lack of unity because politically aware rappers are “trying to outdo each other with consciousness and are not reaching the people.” The rapper, who recently recorded underground battle cry “Right Now”, throws a stinging indictment at the advocates of real Hip-Hop saying, “You believe in this and that, but you’re not ready to go to war.”

However, the stuck on stupid rappers have always been in a state of Code Red; ready to defend their right to wear saggin’ skinny jeans to the death.

Remember back in the day, No Limit called themselves “soldiers,: and according to Hot Boy BG, “Cash Money was an army/better yet a navy.” But since the supergroups of the late ’80s/early ’90s such as X-Clan and Boogie Down Productions, the political rappers have been more like a small platoon of Cub Scouts.

If you ask the average person on the street about today’s rap music, nine times out of 10, he will reminisce about the good ol’ days when Hip-Hop meant something. Even a little kid will, ashamedly, admit that he “doesn’t listen to the words but only likes the beat.”

Even Rick Ross on his song, “So Sophisticated”, mocks that he comes from a city where “the Muslims, even Christians hate it.”

So, the obvious question is, if so many people hate the current state of Hip-Hop, how long are we gonna let Ratchet Rap define the culture?

Let’s face it. Rap Music is at an all-time low. Once you hit ratchetness, you are on the bottom floor. The elevator doesn’t go any lower. Today the music industry is creatively and spiritually bankrupt. Like T.I. said on “Live Your Life”, although the rappers today have millions of dollars in the bank, they are “piss poor morally.”

The only thing that is keepin’ commercial rap afloat, right now, is the implicit complacency of the silent majority of the population who appreciate real Hip-Hop.

In other words, although many people complain, few are willing to actually do something about it.

For instance. I get tweets all the time from conscious artists complaining that they don’t get any support from the Hip-Hop community. However, the question that should be asked is why don’t conscious rappers support each other? Why is there no “Union of Real Hip-Hop Artists?” There are unions for everything else in this country made up of people banded together for common goals and objectives. Why not Hip-Hop?

It seems that every person who is fighting to save Hip-Hop feels like he is the last man standing; the proverbial David standing alone against an army of Goliaths. But the truth is, you are not alone, there are millions of people who feel the same way that you do.

We just need to rally the troops.

It’s time for the silent majority to stand up and be heard!

If we organize we can determine the direction of the culture and not leave the future of Hip-Hop in the hands of a few numb-skulls.

Together, we can issue the ultimatum that ‘Pac and the Outlawz gave back in the day:

“You either ride with us or collide with us.”

The choice is yours.

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop,” a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. For more information on the No Warning Shots Fired lecture series, contact info@nowarningshotsfired.com, visit NoWarningShotsFired.com, or follow on Twitter (@truthminista).

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  • insaneangelic

    The fans let the corporations take over hip hop. Clear Channel, Radio One, and Viacom(MTV & BET) all took over and now dictate whats hot or lame in Hip Hop. Just look at how you always have a certain 6 or 8 stars whose names always come up. Then you have the occasional MC’s who change up to fit in before still getting tossed out the mix. For unity to return to hip hop it would strong force to oppose the powers to be and fans would have to support it but thats the other part of the problem, more people will bump Lamborghini Mercy over Lamborghini Angels and Clown DMX or Tech N9ne while admiring Rick Ross and Lil Wayne.

    • Abrasive Angel

      We can’t blame it all on corporations because there is also personal accountability.

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  • CanYouAllHearMe

    @insaneangelic said it best hip hop has gone to mainstream and has been taken out of the streets and taken out of our hands mainstream rappers dont make music for the hood anymore just rich people

  • I ‘preciate this article. Getting organized & unifying. Black nation could liberate themselves w/ these alone, organized & unified

  • MOTIVATION — MOVING — HEARTFELT — A WAKE UP CALL TO THE LEGIONS
    This is how this article made me feel, and for that I say WORD UP! God save our culture! Hip Hop will always reflect the American experience, when we left disco–we had Sugarhill, when we entered the new age, Afrikka took us on a voyage, when we had no voice in Washington, Chuck D fought the power. Then we hit a low, unemployment rampant, easy money was the way to go–and we embraced Gangsta. Although hip hop purity could still be found in G music–Cube, Warren G, MC Eiht, Kool G Rap, and the hip hop hustla was born. When we lost two icons, hip hop mourned by going “Pop”, this made us accessible to the white mainstream even more than before—and with that exposure came assimilation. The music became over saturated with joints about whips, European clothing labels, and clones—these clones breed a generation of clones, and it is still happening. Now today, we have a culture dilluted with the mimicry of balla rap—all style no substance. BUT we have saviors on deck and working hard, the prophecy is here—Joey Badass, Schoolboy Q and the TDE crew, Rocky, Danny Brown–these young cats are preserving and resurrecting our culture! Even our icons—Nas, Rakim, Em,–they’re putting out pure hip hop. We are coming back!

    • def there is def a new regime gaining speed ….!! or to @least add a balance … i dont hate guys like future …. but too much of it is enuff … side note I LIKE RAP …. i want to hear some bars … imo Jayz is like one of the last dudes that rap …. oh nas too … everybody esle is singing or throwing autotune on they ish …. i listen to rap for RAP!!! bars !!!!! if i wanted to hear someone sing i’d pick up a cd from a REAL SINGER !!!!!!!!!! or better yet get a real singer to do the singing if you need a dope melody on the track ………… i dont mind an rap artist singing … but when everyone is doing its like #damn i wasnt even feeling that in the first place now its popular lol 😉

    • insaneangelic

      I think its coming back too, Lupe made it clear on ITAL that people are tired of the same drug and stripper lyrics. It’s about time we uplift not jump hip hop but the black community in general.

  • Mossad in hiphop

    Real people write real things.

    • Life aint ah Game …We WANT Change #RIGHTNOW
      No Delay No Waiting No Pause…##RIGHTNOW
      No Illusions , Bamboozle ,HoodWinking..###RIGHTNOW
      IF Yall Dont GIVE IT WE GONNA TAKE IT & SPREAD IT OUT ####RIGHTNOW

  • side note $MONEY$ killed UNITY …………………. not money in someones pocket … but the pursuit of money … i could be popping like a mofo but you as a dj may hate my music ….. but due the fact that i got my ish popping and your probably a broke dj …. im looking like meal ticket right now …. so instead of maybe impowering real talent …. this DJ got bills to pay …… so chances are hes going to mess with the artist that makes sense financially ……… and most times that usually occurs in a more greedy situation … but just showing how $MONEY$ can even corupt the good guys …….

  • messias3

    I have a question to the board/Mr. @truthminista … I am not from the bronx … but do love ol’ skool hip-hop … I have watched many Doc’s on Rap/hip-hop … Where is it written/said at, by who .. that Hip-Hop was to be conscious only? This fan would like to know.

    • Its called uplifting the community….be bop, jazz, james brown and hip hop were ways to uplift the community and express the current social climate. The lack of eloquence and the “role play” assumed by most “artists” in the game today is a detriment to a culture that was meant to uplift people from the concrete jungles, or even the suburban feelings of solitude…..theres outlets for people who wanna spew trash, its called the entertainment industry. HIP HOP IS CULTURE

    • ladynamor

      its not written, but evident the “new way” is not working. It only works for the artist doing it and the company reaping benefits. It does nothing for the community but incite negativity and ignorance. We are paying to hear people brag about spending millions in the strip club, what does that do for anyone?

  • Man I read this article 3 times in a row and I am still fired up!! This was such a good article. Save Hip Hop please! We have grown up on Hip Hop and Rap and it isn’t close to what it used to be. All that Pop Tart music we hear today needs to go. We about to shut that down!

    • Yes WE ARE ABOUT 2 SHUT IT DOWN #RIGHTNOW !!! if you would like too hear #RIGHTNOW The Song in this article google ME or go to reverbnation.___/360wiseguy #SALUTE

  • Pierre Elliott

    DONT WORRY MY PEOPLE, IM ALMOST READY. ITS BEEN A LONG JOURNEY,
    BUT TRUST ME… THE WAIT WILL HAVE BEEN WORTH IT.
    IVE HAD ALOT OF PEOPLE AND FORCES TRY TO STOP ME, BUT IM TOO STRONG TOO REAL AND TOO FULL OF THE ANGER OF MILLIONS. MILLIONS OF BLACK,WHITE,BROWN PEOPLE OF THIS EARTH….

    IM READY. I KNOWN MY LIFE WILL CHANGE AS I WILL FOREVER HAVE KNOWN IT.
    BUT ITS TIME………………..

  • GREAT ARTICLE !!!! We Need Change #RIGHTNOW

  • Life aint ah Game …We WANT Change #RIGHTNOW
    No Delay No Waiting No Pause…##RIGHTNOW
    No Illusions , Bamboozle ,HoodWinking..###RIGHTNOW
    IF Yall Dont GIVE IT WE GONNA TAKE IT & SPREAD IT OUT ####RIGHTNOW
    (( Can Hear The Whole Song on reverbnation.c /360wiseguy
    twitter @DC360WISEGUY #SALUTE 2 ALL !!
    NOWARNINGSHOTSFIRED!!!!

  • Pierre Elliott

    INSANE RELICK <====the nastiest in NYC on the beats.
    YEAH PEOPLES, ITS TIME TO COME OUT OF THE SHADOWS NOW…..

    THERE WILL BE A BATTLE: ONE, WHERE REAL MUSIC AND HIP HOP, REAL LIFE, AND POSITIVE IMAGES.

    VS.

    PEOPLE AND MUSIC AND A CULTURE THAT IS ONE OF DIVISION, LIES SELF HATE.
    INSECURITY, COVERED UP IN MONEY, CLOTHING AND PERFUME.

    AINT NOT ONE OF YALL BALLING OR LIVING YOUR LIFE, LIKE ANY OF THESE LIES THESE FOOLS ON TV AND RADIO SPOUT TO YOU…..

    LIKE WE NEED ANOTHER RAPPER TALKING ABOUT DRUG SELLING AND OPENING HAIR SALONS UP IN THE HOOD, OR YET ANOTHER BOTTLE OF POISON TO DRINK.
    ****************************************************************************************************************
    PEOPLE THIS ISNT A GAME OR PARANOIA.

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  • Slaughtr

    I love what the article provoked but I don’t agree with the theory niggaz that are saying something we aint going hard enough your fckn kiddin!! When you have fcked up ass agent A&R working for these corporate lables their whole goal is to milk the shyt out of hip hop.All that BS about we aint ready to go to war quality rap brought the war you think your so graciously defending. These days people want ignorance not the struggle of what hip hop is and to me if I could execute every fake hip hop nigga I would,my fckn children can’t even listen to this garbage because it has no substance even when NWA droped they had something to say so fck all these twibble nimble ass rappers not emcees and that’s the difference, a fckn beat can’t save none of yall whack asses and if you choose to battle bring that oscar contender shit to the cone and watch what the fck happen sick of this dumb shyt. For all you niggaz like me who got a serious gripe make your words heard cause now I’m going in for the kill. Lastly all you phony ass bling niggaz fck’d the game up you are to blame every nigga got a Jesus piece but can’t follow the sanctity of hip hop this a life not just a mechanism to make money either love this shyt or bungee jump off a bridge with no string support and let it snap immediately…am I pissed been pissed.

    • ((( Lastly all you phony ass bling niggaz fck’d the game up you are to blame every nigga got a Jesus piece but can’t follow the sanctity of hip hop this a life not just a mechanism to make money either love this shyt or bungee jump off a bridge with no string support and let it snap immediately…am I pissed been pissed.))) P-O-W SHOTS FIRED !!!!! #RIGHTNOW #SALUTE

  • “You either ride with us or collide with us.”
    #RIGHTNOW

  • KrisW

    Kendrick Lamar and the TDE crew is doing pretty good. Mr. Lamar’s album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is pretty nice. You should check it out. Actually listen to the full song.

    • I don’t listen 2 others much but My Team told Me that He has “CONTENT” So I #SALUTE Him #RIGHTNOW

    • Pierre Elliott

      i will do that. and alot of the time, its not the raps perse, it be the beat that be garbage.

  • Pierre Elliott

    ONCE PUFF BALL BROUGHT IN THE SHINY SUITS, THEN THATS WHEN BLACK PEOPLE SAID: IM READY TO SELL MYSELF OUT FOR SOME OF THE AMERICAN DREAM….. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT PEOPLE? WE NEVER GOT IT…ALL WE GOT WAS MORE CORP CONTROL AND BLACKS SELLING OUT….. B.E.T. IS/WAS ONLY PART OF THE PICTURE.

    THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY OUR REGIONAL STYLES….

    HOW IS IT THAT I CAN TURN ON THE RADIO, AND HEAR ALL THIS DOWN SOUTH NlGGER DRAWL IN ARKANSAS.

    THEN I GET TO NYC AND THEY PLAYING THE SAME SHlT.

    HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

    HOW IS IT IN THE BIRTHPLACE OF RAP/HIP-HOP THERE ARE NO DOPE RECORDS OUT, YOU KNOW WHY, CAUSE CORPORATE COMPANIES BOUGHT AND SOLD
    ALL THE INDEPENDENTS THATR WOULD HAVE SIGNED MOST OF US TO A SINGLE DEAL.

    *****understand****** HIP HOP/RAP CHANGED THE RECORDING INDUSTRY, PERIOD.
    FROM CLOTHING TO SALES, TO MP3 USE.

    **********************GET IT THRU YOURE NlGGER HEADS************************************
    THEY DO NOT LIKE SOUL.
    THEY DO NOT LIKE ORIGINALITY.
    THEY DO NOT LIKE PEOPLE THAT INSPIRE.
    THEY DO NOT LIKE PEOPLE WHO EDUCATE THROUGH SONG, MEDIA HAPPINESS.
    THEY DO NOT LIKE THE MOVEMENT OF “SWING” WHICH IS IN ALL FORMS OF MUSIC UP UNTIL 1998.

    SWING IS ASSOCIATED WITH JAZZ, ROCK, SOUL AND THE BLUES.
    UNDERSTAND, THIS IS ABOUT MIND CONTROL…..

    WAKE UP AND PUT YOUR IPHONE DOWN FOR A SECOND.

  • Pierre Elliott

    IM NOT GONNA TALK ABOUT IT, IM GONNA BE ABOUT IT.**********************

    • Bruh where can I find some of your music?

      • Pierre Elliott

        IM ABOUT TO START A SOUNDCLOUD BUT I HAVE SOME UP ON MY OLD MYSPACE PAGE—myspace/insanexrelick

      • Pierre Elliott

        im a producer, but i rhyme when i feel i need to.

    • According to D.C. Hip-Hop artist, Yasin 360 WiseGuy, there is a lack of unity because politically aware rappers are “trying to outdo each other with consciousness and are not reaching the people.” The rapper, who recently recorded underground battle cry “Right Now”, throws a stinging indictment at the advocates of real Hip-Hop saying, “You believe in this and that, but you’re not ready to go to war.”….Yea well don’t let the Paint Dry CHAMP the Time Is #RIGHTNOW !!! Pleased 2 converse with You.
      when You get the chance check out #RIGHTNOW & #HOPE @
      reverbnation/360wiseguy #SALUTE.

  • Dokter_Mindbender

    Excellent article! Well written and informative.

  • Old City Films

    Good article but I think one of the reasons is because back in the 80’s and 90’s we had rap music labels on a major scale that was all about putting out good music being own by black and white, and today that has gone away to only major labels with no african american minority ownership to control the choice of music. We have a million small independent black owned labels but none on that major scale that can change the direction of the music on the radios, so where forced to hear whatever they want us to hear. Millzz from Old City Films and we are making films about these issues.

    • Pierre Elliott

      Its people like you, I want to be associated with. Opening minds, and beginning the fight. Changing mind states..

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  • Fish

    I agree with you 2000%, I am willing to stand with all true Hip Hop Fans……….

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