Paper 2 – Some Things to Think About
Below are two opinions on Hip Hop from 20 years ago that serve as kinds of predictions.
Since you are writing about Hip Hop from “now ” and comparing it to Hip Hop from “then”,
read these and think about whether or not you agree.
If you would like to use Greg Tate’s article “Hip Hop Turns Thirty” as a source, I encourage it
or anything else from “Flyboy 2” , but regardless, meditate on these two quotes from the
article before you begin writing.
“What the heck are we celebrating exactly? A right and proper question, that one is, mate. One to
which my best answer has been: Nothing less, my man, than the marriage of heaven and hell, of
New World African ingenuity and that trick of the devil known as global hyper-capitalism. Hooray.”
“We’ll tell them how fools thought they were celebrating the 30th anniversary of hiphop……..when
they were really presiding over a funeral. We’ll tell them how once upon a time there was this
marvelous art form where the Negro could finally say in public whatever was on his or her mind in
rhyme and how the Negro hiphop artist, staring down minimum wage slavery, Iraq, or the freedom of
the incarcerated chose to take his emancipated motor mouth and stuck it up a stripper’s ass because
it turned out there really was gold in them thar hills.”
Likewise, for a different perspective, any chapter from Nelson George’s “Hip Hop America”,
could be a wise source, but here is a quote from Chapter 16 –the final lines of the book – to
ruminate on before you begin writing.
“The truth is that hip hop — in its many guises — has reflected (and internalized) our society’s woes
so evocatively that it has grown from minority expression to mainstream appreciation…..This thing
labeled hip hop has simply been in the middle of much, and nothing at the turn of the century has
changed that. The allegiance of its true believers is deep and looks to be lifelong……”
“The long-term direction of America, and hip hop’s role in it, will be decided by two very different
factors. First, the state of America’s soul. Will a commitment to social justice, to nonpolarizingpolitics
and old-fashioned community resurface? If so, such a humanist movement would certainly alter the
culture, perhaps spawning a musical movement as optimistic as the golden days of Motown. Don’t
hold your breath.”
“One day …..all this fun and fury will seem as antiquated as spats and big bands do to us. The next
generation may reject hip hop for the next sweeping cultural trend. And, by the logic of pop culture,
12/1/2020 Paper 2 – Some Things to Think About: MUS 17 – Hip-Hop – Babin [FA20]
they are actually supposed to. But, whether they like it or not, they’ll know there once was a hip hop