(AllHipHop News) Hip Hop was once viewed as the voice of the urban oppressed, but much of the current state of the culture revolves around coveting wealth, material possessions, and sexual exploits. In a time when the entire nation is facing serious questions about police brutality and equal justice, some rap stars like Killer Mike, J. Cole, Q-Tip, Nelly, The Game, Lauryn Hill, and others have demonstrated their concerns with the legal and social issues facing the country through songs, protests, or public speeches.
But some people would like to see Hip Hop artists, and musical celebrities in general, take an even more active role in addressing societal concerns. Amir “Questlove” Thompson of the Roots is one of those individuals.
The drummer/producer wrote a message on his Instagram page asking all artists to use their music to express a message. Questlove referenced past musicians/social commentators Bob Dylan, Public Enemy, Nina Simone, and Zack de la Rocha as examples of the type of artists he would like to see rise in this generation. He also called on the media to provide more balanced content via their outlets.
Questlove posted the following picture to IG with the caption below.
I urge and challenge musicians and artists alike to push themselves to be a voice of the times that we live in. I know that many see what happened to Dixie Chicks' #NatalieMaines @mainesmusic (she bravely expressed her opinion/dismay on the Bush administration declaring war & was unjustly targeted….while in hindsight being CORRECT) suddenly there was an onslaught of radio silence from artists across the board (correction not everyone was silent, but the silence was deafening) although I'm kinda/sorta addressing the hip hop nation I really apply this challenge to ALL artists. We need new Dylans. New Public Enemys. New Simones. New De La Roachas. New ideas! But it just doesn't stop there!! We need outlets (hello #ClearChannel #RadioOne #Vh1) to balance the system. Yeah I'm just as guilty of feeling the high of all that I despise ("Devil's Pie" D'angelo) but the reason why this nation seems to be moving 3 steps ahead in some areas…..but then 7 steps backwards in every area is a lack of balance. I'm not saying every song gotta be "Fight The Power" but in times like these we need to be more community minded (taking a wild guess that "urban radio's" format didn't change much from the pre program stuff (using that word *politely*) we've been hearing for years. & when I say challenge I don't mean breathless race to the finish on who makes the more banging "Fuck Tha Police" sequel. I mean real stories. Real narratives. Songs with spirit in them. Songs with solutions. Songs with questions. Protest songs don't have to be boring or non danceable or ready made for the next Olympics. They just have to speak truth. I laugh & have fun w "Bitch You Guessed It" like everyone else. But my soul is aching man. Seriously just ONE or Two songs that change the course. This is something I feel the need and urgency to put out there. #EricGarner #MikeBrown #JusticeForAll #FeedMySoul #HandsUpDontShoot #ICantBreathe