"Shots go off mothers cry, death since rise, homicide
Black On Black crime needs to stop, Y'all can't blame
it on Hip-Hop" - Wyclef Jean, "The Industry"
I could tell by the way the media were pumpin' up
the Cam'ron 60 Minutes interview days prior to the
airing that this wasn't going to be one of Hip-Hop's stellar moments.
With Hip-Hop already under fire in the Don Imus
aftermath, which was only eclipsed by the Virginia Tech
murders, America needed a new bad guy; a Hip-Hop
Hitler to point to as the source of all of
America's problems...Enter Cameron Giles...
Let's face it. It was ill advised, (or for the less
politically suave, down right dumb) for Cam to say
that he wouldn't turn in a serial killer livin' in the
crib next to his, while Ethel Lou in Topeka was
still shook from the story about the Virginia Tech
However, in reality it was a set up that stank to high
heaven. White America needed a new mainstream posterchild to blame for the deterioration of America's
moral values and Cam'ron gave it to them, signed,
sealed delivered and decorated with a golden eagle
Historically, America has always needed a Black boogie
man, a sacrificial lamb on whose back all the sins of
the world could be placed.
If you look back at the Civil Rights Era, when Reverend
Martin Luther King was leading his march to bring
attention to racial/economic injustice in Memphis, the
media focus was not on the smooth talkin' dude in the
nice suit, but on a gang of paid-off ruffians called
The Invaders, who allegedly wrecked havoc on innocent
bystanders. This served as evidence that segregation
was indeed justified because Black folks were not
quite civilized enough to eat a hot stack of pancakes
at Howard Johnson's.
Things became increasingly worse in the late 80s as
White folks went from trying to segregate a swimming
pool to trying to segregate an entire ocean at
Virginia Beach. The cause of the of problem was not
discrimination. No, according to the press, the real
problem was that Black college kids were shattering
the plaster in Biff and Britney's summer cottage with
their darn "ghetto blasters...
During the early 90s, I remember how the videotape
of Rodney King being brutalized by the L.A.P.D. was
replaced by Reginald Denny getting a mediaeval beat
down by a four man army of "street thugs." And no, the
"rioters" in L.A. were not making political statements
about systematic socioeconomic inequalities, they
were just monsters on a blood thirsty rampage fueled
by N.W.A. lyrics and St. Ides malt liquor.
Things have remained the same in the 21st century.
Back in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,
the questions about broken levees and government
cover-ups were drowned out by America's outrage over
Black thugs stealing wide screen TV sets from washed
out department stores. And since they didn't have any
electricity the thugs spent their afternoons target
practicing at helicopters that were trying to deliver
food and medical supplies to storm victims.
For those with long term memory disorders, they need
only think back to last winter when the outrage over
Michael "Kramer" Richards dropping all those N bombs
quickly switched to a national debate over why Black
folks call their homies the "N" word.
This brings us to the Imus "nappy headed ho" fiasco,
where the news clips of a deranged looking cowboy who
looked like he had one too many shots of Jack Daniels
were replaced with clips of Snoop Dogg giving his deep
intellectual insight into the various degrees of
So that brings us up to 4/22/07 and the Cam interview,
where the talking heads have just discovered that not
only don't rappers, "love dem ho's" they ain't got no
love for the Po Po's either. What is odd is that they
did not once mention that the genesis of the distrust
of the police is not based on a rap lyric but rooted
in decades of Jim Crow-isms, COINTELPRO and numerous
cases of mistaken identity and driving while Black.
Did they once mention that the Sean Bell shooting was
maybe just enough to make Black folks believe that the
Officer Friendly from their kindergarten coloring
books, wasn't so friendly after all?
Although Hip-Hop has been pretty resilient over the
years as it has been a consistent cheddar producing
cash cow for phat cats from Park Avenue to Rodeo Drive,
based on the current political climate as Moe Dee
told LL back in tha Day "this be the death blow."
Now, I am far from a Hip-Hop apologist but I know a
set-up when I see one. And you can best believe that
the "Hip-Hop" question will be the source of endless
political debates between now and the next election.
What America will never admit is that ultimately, Hip-Hop is not the problem, racism is. And if you get rid
of racism today, the "N" word and all things
associated would be gone tomorrow.
To portray all Hip-Hop artists as members of some
Third Reich is ludicrous. Although some of the major
record label owners may bear some resemblance to the
evil master of propaganda, Adolf Hitler, "da 50 Cent"
is not "der Fuhrer."
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott represents the Messianic
Afrikan Nation in Durham, North Carolina. He can be reached at