Tag Archives: hiphop

Pharrell Reaction to Happy on Oprah

When you have a craft and you are able to make an impact for not only the people around you but the people around the world. This is truly awesome and I applaud this GENTLEMAN for making such a positive song. If this song does not put you in a better mode after listening to it, I do not know what to tell you. I love what this songs stands for. How says positivity does not sell?

Adrian “GC Smooth” Taylor

Graffiti Alley Radio

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This has been a long day coming but it is here. Tune in tonight, where you will hear Our leader of the GC movement talk about the positive sides of our culture with the Drill Team on Graffiti Alley Radio. We are so proud of him and the things that he is doing in the community. Let’s continue to support Mr. GC or GC Smooth as he continue to grow. Tune in tonight at 830 PM EST! You will not want to miss this.

Macklemore: I Wouldn’t Have Been as Successful If I Were Black

Before he was basically the biggest rapper in the country, with back-to-back No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us“), and another Top 20 track (the treacly gay-equality anthem “Same Love”), rapper Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty wrote a song called “White Privilege.” (Sample lyrics: “Where’s my place in a music that’s been taken by my race / Culturally appropriated by the white face.”)

You see, Macklemore is the kind of rapper that those in the know would describe as a “white rapper,” and he has a lot more to say on the subject in Rolling Stone‘s recent cover story profile of him:

“If you’re going to be a white dude and do this shit, I think you have to take some level of accountability,” Haggerty says. “You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it. At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 2013 with the success that The Heist has had.”

“We made a great album,” he continues, “but I do think we have benefited from being white and the media grabbing on to something. A song like ‘Thrift Shop’ was safe enough for the kids. It was like, ‘This is music that my mom likes and that I can like as a teenager,’ and even though I’m cussing my ass off in the song, the fact that I’m a white guy, parents feel safe. They let their six-year-olds listen to it. I mean it’s just…it’s different. And would that success have been the same if I would have been a black dude? I think the answer is no.”

I think first congratulations are due to Macklemore for self-congratulating so articulately.

Furthermore, to me this quote exposes the practical uselessness of so much of the privilege discourse you see on the Internet and very rarely elsewhere. If one checks his privilege, as he is often encouraged to do by seemingly concerned and arguably condescending individuals, while continuing to go about his business and do the things he would be doing anyway, doesn’t his behavior become flagrantly imperialistic? I mean, you can do all sorts of shitty things like robbing old people or rhyming “change us” with “change us,” and just because you are aware that it’s a shitty thing to do doesn’t make it less shitty. In fact, that awareness makes it shittier: “I’m taking advantage of the unfairness of the world, and what?” It seems like in this case, ignorance would make the shittiness more forgivable, if we are agreeing that it’s shitty for a white man to be rapping. I don’t know that it is, in principle, though if this specific white man quit rapping, I wouldn’t complain.

But shouldn’t a white man who has hip-hop in his heart and awareness in his brain (of his privilege and of injustice and of how white audiences will gravitate to him just cuz) stop rapping? Shouldn’t he convince his listeners that to balance out systematic power, they would be doing a much better thing for the world by turning him off and listening to Kendrick Lamar?

(Race matters aside, you would, by the way, be doing a better thing for the world and your brain if you listened to Kendrick Lamar instead of Macklemore.)

But maybe Macklemore is no model for putting big ideas into practice. Early on in Brian Hiatt’s piece, the writer notices that Macklemore is wearing Nikes, which would seem to contradict his anti-consumerist song “Wings” (“These Nikes help me define me / But I’m trying to take mine off”). In response, Macklemore says:

“Am I being a hypocrite? Absolutely. But that’s OK. I’m a fucking human being and I don’t need to be perfect. I can make a song like ‘Wings’ and wear Nikes.”

You can shrug everything off by saying, “I’m a fucking human being,” or you can actually be a fucking human being and use your fucking human being brain so that you become the change you say you wish for the world. I don’t know if the above quote signals more privilege or just laziness. Maybe sometimes they’re one and the same.

“HIP HOP HOPE” WITH WEDNESDAY’S WORD: ATTENTION (Kendrick Lamar Commentary)

OH MAN!!! Kendrick Lamar has stirred up the pot now!!  And you know what? He has ALL OF OUR ATTENTION!!  The thing is, NOTHING that he has done or said is anything new!  Kool Moe Dee started calling people out long ago and many other rappers have followed suit.  The rap game has a voice and with that voice, folks speak truth.  What is funny is that a lot of people are MAD now because of his one line:

“I’m Makaveli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York
King of the Coast, one hand, I juggle them both”

Okay, some are mad for more than that but tweets have been off the hook because of his ‘claim’. What is even funnier is that he got their attention, got them mad and for what?!?!  From my research of hip hop history and reading the lyrics to his part in Big Sean’s “Control”, I would venture to interpret the line above as the following:

Kendrick, in my opinion, is saying that he is like TuPac Shakur.  A rap artist that rapped and dominated BOTH coasts (juggle them both)!!  From what I gather, Kendrick is not saying that HE is the king of New York, specifically, but if you research you will find that TuPac’s initial rap pen name was “MC New York”.  As a lyrical ‘offspring’, Kendrick is crowning himself king of both coasts!!  In my mind, it is not a diss against anyone who had or has dominated the NY scene.  

Now let’s skip forward to calling folks out.  Shoot, it’s needed!! I won’t agree with all called out, but he has his reasons… if anything to get that attention and wake folks up.  How is that different from giving donations and doing a challenge to other organizations to match what you have given?  He is laying the cards on the table, waiting for the pick up!  

When did the same lyrical mouthpiece that gave our people a voice and a sound get wrapped around a bottle top?  When did that SAME mouthpiece become more important wrapped around a roach?  When did the SAME mouthpiece start to demean and degrade women?  Well, when society changed and THAT was what people wanted to hear or talk about.  Is it wrong?  No, it’s storytelling and marketing at its finest.   However, when that is ALL your brand has become or has grown from, then you have deviated or separated from REAL HIP HOP.  This ‘marketing’ has expanded the business, but tainted the message. It’s ‘bubble gum’ and folks are getting chewed up and chewed out by a man that wants to bring REAL HIP HOP back.  Does the ‘coast’ really matter?  Surely it didn’t as one of rap’s icons succeeded on both, East and West, and a newbie to the mainstream is just trying to fill the gap that has been empty for a minute.

“I’m dressed in all black, this is not for the fan of Elvis
I’m aimin’ straight for your pelvis, you can’t stomach me.”

He got our attention; he’s mourning Hip Hop.  He’s fighting for it!  He has stirred up the pot and everyone is ready to eat now, except for the wrong reason because they are mad!! Now rappers have something to prove, right?  It took getting the ATTENTION to make them move!  Well, I’m not mad at it at all.  Thank you Kendrick Lamar.

So how will YOU get the ATTENTION of those interested in what you may have to say?  Are you chillin’ in the corner observing silently or yelling to the hills that something is needed and something has to change and you are the person to do it?  Stir up the pot then!  You may be a jack of all trades, but be an EXPERT in one!!  Get that ATTENTION that you desire.  WHAT YOU HAVE LOVE FOR, YOU WILL FIGHT FOR!  That’s what Kendrick Lamar is doing… just loving Hip Hop.

Dr. Janice (‘Jai’) Armstrong

Do Hip Hop Artist Give Back?

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Hip hop music is the most controversial form of music. Most people thought that it would be a fade. Well over 30 years later it still stands strong today. Hip hop music is one of my favorite forms of music. I grew up when most rappers told stories and actually took time to perfect their craft. Now, I do not believe that is the case. What happen to pure talent, charisma and hustle getting you over the hump.

I am tired of seeing 30 and 40 year olds trying to fight each other, to bring attention and hype to themselves. Not only that they are millionaires. If I want to see millionaires fight, I watch Boxing or MMA. 90% of the rappers are not thugs anyways. They are actors. Now they might be surrounded by gangsters and thugs. But, there reality to real life has gotten mixed up somewhere in their pursuit for fame.

Where is the leadership and devotion to your community that you glorify? If is funny how much you continue to say that you want people to know where you came from and how hard it is to grow up in the inner city, but no one seems to every see you anymore. Screaming your hoods name on records surely is not enough.

You wonder why I am not calling out other forms of entertainment. Well they are not making money off the name of their city, hood, street, clique, or block.
If you know a rapper that is an active part of his community please let me know. I mean giving back to his communities through foundations, parks, time, money, ect…………. I am not just talking about coming around during Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Remember to Keep It GC,
Counselor Adrian