I Pledge Allegiance: The Value Of Hip Hop's Dissenting Opinions

From "Fight The Power" to "I Wanna Kill Sam," playing your favorite militant Hip Hop anthems may ultimately be the most genuine form of patriotism on the fourth of July weekend.

Like many other Hip Hop fans, I generally could care less about the Fourth of July. I’m a black man from where politically correct people like to refer to as the “inner city.” So at some point you get pulled over for the infamous busted tail light, or “fitting the description,” or have enough old ladies who make less money than you clutching their purses while sharing elevators, that your patriotism wanes. And this isn’t a particularly black or even a minority feeling. As our country becomes more and more saturated with Tea Partying and an overall sense of racial and cultural intolerance, it’s easier to notice fans and emcees of all races that are equally frustrated with the state of things.

As conservatives prepare for the upcoming 2012 elections, their handlers often single out Hip Hop artists as easy targets. In May, Sarah Palin and Tucker Carlson unsuccessfully tried to label Common as “vile” and “controversial”—this despite the fact that we’ve seen Palin handle firearms on television way more often than Common, who doubles as an actor. And Lupe Fiasco, who I and other HipHopDX writers have justifiably both commended and condemned on this site, recently became a target when he called President Obama a “terrorist.” In such cases, it’s easy to draw a line in the sand, and turn on some vintage Public Enemy or Ice Cube and continue using the Fourth of July as a convenient excuse to cop a fifth of some potent liquor and enjoy having a few days off to pull out the grill. The media often likes to paint in broad strokes, and over the past few decades, they’re made it clear they prefer profiting off of vilifying Hip Hop culture. But in a rare about-face, I would offer an alternative this year and argue that the dissenting opinions of Lupe, Brother Ali and R.A. (or Public Enemy and Cube if you want to keep it vintage) are the ultimate form of patriotism.

“There are a number of people who still live in this bubble of white privilege with this sense of entitlement,” Brother Ali offered, when I asked if there was any connection to the state of the country and his Us album. This was a little over a year ago, prior to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, when the majority of Hip Hop’s Obama-inspired activism had suddenly disappeared.

“White privilege is something we have just because society was set up like that, and the momentum of it continues to push things that way. A lot of people end up with an unfair advantage. But to accept, protect, or be oblivious to that is entitlement. So you’re seeing a lot of people who live in that entitlement bubble start to feel like it’s closing in on them. And you’re seeing a lot of people do a lot of terribly ignorant things.”

Granted, these weren’t necessarily groundbreaking quotes, but I always felt dissention took many forms. And while I was expecting a brief answer, since I viewed Ali as more of a Martin than a Malcolm type, he was happy to sound off on the topic for a good 15 minutes. Maybe that was my mistake by forgetting about tracks like “Uncle Sam Goddamn.” Either way, he provided a much-needed dissenting voice in Hip Hop. It’s something we need more of—be they white, black or any other shade—and those voices can arguably be more patriotic than any red, white and blue propaganda Rap. And I’m not talking about that John Cena bullshit, because there are actually a few documented cases of respectable emcees tipping their fitted to Uncle Sam.

The Post-9/11 Era Of Patriotic Rhymes

As far as I can tell, there were two specific periods during the last decade, when you were likely to hear anything close to overt patriotism in Hip Hop. During the time immediately after the September 11 attacks, we got a healthy dose of anti-terrorist anger disguised as patriotism, and no one was immune. When Wu-Tang Clan dropped their Iron Flag  album in 2001, Ghostface Killah could be heard rhyming the following on “Rules:”

“Who the fuck knocked our buildings down / Who the man behind the World Trade massacre step up now / Where them four planes at / Is you insane bitch / Fly that shit over my hood and get blown to bits / No disrespect that’s where I rest my head / I understand you gotta rest yours too nigga / My peoples dead / America together we stand divided we fall / Mr. Bush sit down / I’m in charge of the war…”

Between a half-dozen Hip Hop magazines and about twice as many more mainstream outlets like the New York Times, Iron Flag was rated pretty favorably. The album moved 500,000 copies, so the Clan could take advantage of a sizeable audience. Yet among the litany of memorable Ghost verses, you rarely here anyone shouting out the time Ghostface respectfully asked Dubya to move aside so he could handle the War on Terror. None of that is to knock Ghost’s sentiment. Few people could predict the country spending 10 years and billions of dollars in the Middle East on a war that even Tony Starks eventually probably wanted no part of. And the sense of false patriotism the September 11 attacks brought on wasn’t just limited to New York rappers. Pastor Troy could also be found simultaneously waving his rifle and his Bible on “Bless America,” a track so over the top many of us thought it was a parody. In hindsight, “Bless America” almost sounds like a precursor to the Tea Partiers and Birthers.

Barack Obama’s Impact On Hip Hop

The other, more recent period of overt patriotism came during the months before and after Barack Obama became the first non-white person to become President of the United States. Jay-Z, will.i.am, Bun B, ?uestlove and dozens of other Hip Hop notables endorsed Obama, with some customizing their songs to show support. You can’t quantifiably measure how memorable those songs were. I would argue they weren’t memorable at all, but that’s just my opinion. With the exception of Young Jeezy’s “My President,” few of the Obama anthems actually reached the charts.

So why is it that people seem to remember “I Wanna Kill Sam,” “Fight The Power” or even Trick Daddy’s “America” more than the few moments when Hip Hop extended the olive branch to America? I personally think we needed the dissention more. And given our current level of media desensitization, it takes something as brazen as Jedi Mind Tricks’ “Uncommon Valor” to shake us out of the everyday haze of our news networks only updating us on who is smashing which Kardashian sister. Again, this is just my opinion, and you may disagree. But I would be fairly surprised if years from now, people go back and look at songs like “My President,” “Rules” or “Yes We Can” as high water marks in Hip Hop music or culture.

 

The Value Of Fighting The Power

The dissenting opinions are invaluable not only to Hip Hop, but to America. Even if Lupe wants to square off with Bill O’Reilly and mistake imperialism for terrorism, something valuable is gained. And as much as people rightfully like to tote out dead prez and Immortal Technique during these arguments, it’s even more valuable hearing it from a mainstream artist like Lupe, even if a portion of us think he’s misguided. At this point in their careers, dead prez and Immortal Technique have very little commercial, crossover appeal. But there was a time earlier this year, when Lupe had the number one album in the country. It’s not hard to imagine the teenage daughter of some Tea Partier being lured in by the God awful “Outta My Head,” only to later be shocked by “Words I Never Said,” and Lupe’s subsequent O’Reilly Factor appearance.

I would make the argument that questioning what your government is doing is one of the most patriotic things a person can do—whether they’re a fan of Hip Hop or any other genre. After all, by and large the nation’s courts support such actions. It happened in 1992, when the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturned a ruling that attempted to ban the sale of 2 Live Crew’s album on the grounds of obscenity. And in a broader sense, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the 1964 case of New York Times v. Sullivan encourages such debate. It’s part of a legal precedent that allows for “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” debate among people—rappers included. So as the Fourth of July approaches, I encourage anyone else who enjoys Hip Hop music and culture to not feel any less American by loudly playing music that questions the status quo. It’s your Constitutional right to criticize public officials or even stick your foot in your mouth—or in Lupe’s case—do both on television.

Omar Burgess is a Long Beach, California native who has contributed to various magazines, newspapers and has  been an editor at HipHopDX since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @FourFingerRings.

62 Comments

  • arryboi

    really good article, well done. interesting topic, particularly about lupe. still not sure what to think about that kid's stance on politics, and i have no idea what he was tryna say on o'reilly

  • M.u. Tha Don

    GREAT ARTICLE.... HARPERSIDE VOLUME 6 - COMING SOON!!!!!!

  • Area514

    Well, the article has us talking and reflecting. What yall think about that new toothpaste commercial symbolizing graffitti as tartar and wiped off by them 2 dudes? They then end the commercial in a pose with arms folded. Seeing it for the first time, I briefly thought of it as creative, but then felt there were other implications by the end. "The media.......made it clear they prefer profiting off of vilifying Hip Hop culture.

  • D-Money

    Props on the patriotism article Hip Hop DX! I agree!

  • Da1

    Yeah Lupe fiasco is my favorite rapper but even I think he sort of made a fool of himself on O'reilly. Thats religion for you, it makes you deluded and naive. I'm not shocked that lupe feels that we're the terrorists. Even though there are countries out there that allow genocide, Extreme opression of women, and harbors hatred towards other countries that don't share their same ideals. I'm not at all shocked because of lupe's religion, that he will take the side of those countries. SMH

  • Rachael Misek

    I think Bill o really needs hip hop because his career is tanked without it.

  • LordLamickTheEmperor

    Lupe didn't confuse Imperialism for Terrorism, you're suggesting that Imperialism or Terrorism cannot coincide and that is the most ridiculous statement I've heard today. Imperialism: The policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations. Ask the occupants of Iraq or Afghanistan whether 'territorial acquisition' was consensual or without the trademarks of terror. I'm frankly sick of spin doctors and people like Bill O'Reilly thinking their country fight for a universal kind of justice when it's all relative. You might not like that the USA are being labelled as Terrorists but ask yourselves if this War On Terror doesn't just fight terror with terror.

  • Cracky

    What's more American than not finishing this article because I was captivated by Young Jeezy's descriptions of the varying colors that make make up his head of state, foreign automobile (with matching wheels), currency, and athletic footwear. God Bless America.

  • Anonymous

    lupe fiasco knows what hes saying ...he aint stupid enough to say something and fall back...that guy is one smart nigga and i support him and his little movement...the american government is corrupted and full of shit ....

  • CP

    this is one of the best articles i've read. finally some support for brother ali and esspecially R A the rugged man, and how idiotic o reilly is really is. amazing. all of it.

  • Anonymous

    Why is NATO bombing the 53rd rank nation of the Human Development Index? Look at Libya four decades ago and look at it three months ago. No comparison with the other northern African nations bordering it. NATO is promoting a civil war in Libya ... the international court may consider the legitimacy of bombing that country. The West is wrong on this one. If they want to block India's and China's economic expansion into Africa ... it should not be fueled by the killing of Libyans. Kill for Peace! (smh) "Humanitarian Aid" sure has changed from my days. I thought it involved dropping food, not bombs?? and NATO is saving them from being killed by Gadaffi?? So....if these aren't "hostilities....not "acts of war" I guess that makes us_terrorists? Suppose we will make our own list? Nothing to investigate. This isn't a war according to White House lawyers. This must be lies. According to Obama there are no hostilities in Libya hence he doesn't need congressional approval. How could these civilians have been killed, since Obama said this isn't a war? So the building just collapsed. Gawd how I regret voting for that man. NATO has lost the air war in Libya. Now,it is beginning to lose the propaganda war too. NATO/US=North American Terrorists Organization U.S froze - $30BILLION of Libyan funds U.K froze - $45BILLION of Libyan funds NATO - Dropping bombs on Libyan civilians to protect them YOU DO THE? MATH! THIS IS PURE EVIL @ WORK!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Lupe starting that shit, using his wannabe philosophy about terrorism, not knowing shit. What a shame.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, everyone who doesn't read some bullshit conspiracy blogs about the NWO is a typical brainwashed dumbfuck. I didn't say it was wrong what Lupe said, but you can't open your mouth if you aren't able to back it up. He didn't know the simpliest facts about Afghanistan, so how is he supposed to say that politics aren't as complex as they seem? Go listen to Immortal Technique and dream of a world without wars.

    • InfiniteVillain

      typical brainwashed dumb fuck

  • Angel Xavier De Peña

    Lupe is a moron

  • Anonymous

    When I was young I did not understand The politics that rule this land Liberty and Justice didn’t seem to exist to me When my family fell victim to hate The guilty were protected by the state Stopped on the wrist, then let loose to run free The love for my family and the love for my kin To me it’s not a sin I’m tired of the talk and the conservative walk And the corrupt system we live in Criminal agitators, liberal legislators You’ll feel my rage from within You’ll hear my cry, tell me no more lies I’m ready for the war to begin You insolent fools, I’ll break all your rules From your faces I’ll wipe that grin My thoughts they are strong, to my folk I belong My family, Racial brothers and kin I’m ready to fight with a gun or a knife And anything it takes to win With the open hand salute, I’ll show you the truth I’m ready for the war to begin 400 men surrounding a cabin In the land of the free tell me how can this happen? Murdering women and children in the name of humanity Tell me who’s the true masters of hate A separist family or a police state? Tell me who would you brand the public enemy? They took your son, they took your wife Without ever giving them a chance They held you inside, yet your bullets still cried You made those bastards dance A battle hardened vet, to the foreign lands you were sent To lay your ass on the line Now a renegade man in your own homeland The will to be separate your only crime… This means war, you federal whore I’ll make you wish you never lived Your morals are weak, your standards, they reek You always take but never give I’ll hunt you, I’ll stalk you, kill you one-by-one The tide will turn to the other way Hunter becomes the hunted, sentence will be passed When it comes – Judgment Day!

  • Anonymous

    When I was young I did not understand The politics that rule this land Liberty and Justice didn’t seem to exist to me When my family fell victim to hate The guilty were protected by the state Stopped on the wrist, then let loose to run free The love for my family and the love for my kin To me it’s not a sin I’m tired of the talk and the conservative walk And the corrupt system we live in Criminal agitators, liberal legislators You’ll feel my rage from within You’ll hear my cry, tell me no more lies I’m ready for the war to begin You insolent fools, I’ll break all your rules From your faces I’ll wipe that grin My thoughts they are strong, to my folk I belong My family, Racial brothers and kin I’m ready to fight with a gun or a knife And anything it takes to win With the open hand salute, I’ll show you the truth I’m ready for the war to begin 400 men surrounding a cabin In the land of the free tell me how can this happen? Murdering women and children in the name of humanity Tell me who’s the true masters of hate A separist family or a police state? Tell me who would you brand the public enemy? They took your son, they took your wife Without ever giving them a chance They held you inside, yet your bullets still cried You made those bastards dance A battle hardened vet, to the foreign lands you were sent To lay your ass on the line Now a renegade man in your own homeland The will to be separate your only crime… This means war, you federal whore I’ll make you wish you never lived Your morals are weak, your standards, they reek You always take but never give I’ll hunt you, I’ll stalk you, kill you one-by-one The tide will turn to the other way Hunter becomes the hunted, sentence will be passed When it comes – Judgment Day!

  • Anonymous

    Well Lupe can hardly critise the American government without Critising President Obama. Imagine if he came out with that remark and tryed to exclude the president of this same "label", he would be facing grand chastisement left right and center. Whether pressured into it or not the president has gone into an "illegal war" without authorised permission from congress under the guise of "humanitarian" aims which includes dropping hundreds of bombs and killing innocenet civilians just for a regime change, and we all know what thats about

  • Jose Vasquez

    For people saying Lupe is doing this for attention, he's been doing this for years. He's always been outspoken about politics. And by Obama being a terrorist, I think he means Obama isn't straying away from past policies, like not doing enough against Wall Street, etc. He's not specifically saying Obama is a terrorist, but the position of President itself. Nothing really changes.

  • Anonymous

    i think the point of this article is that the most patriotic thing a person can do in a democracy question the government, as it is supposed to be tailored for the people. he argues that because of this fundamental property of democracy, songs that call out the government and it's problems in a negative light are more memorable than songs that praise the government in a positive light. the article is purely based on timing, as july 4th approaches, and is just an editorial opinion so don't delve too deeply into this.

    • Michael Zayas

      i agree with you, but did the writer also write about sliced bread now being sold in stores?

  • Fuck The System

    Destroy white supremacy! I'm tired of white terror.

  • philly

    what the fuck is this dudes point, i dont get it you dont want to celibrate 4th of July or sumin. i feel like this whole article was black vs. white. people that are still on that racist shit need to move the fuck on

    • TaZzZ

      BREAKING NEWS: In a nationwide study, Philadelphia was found to have the worst education system in the Continental United States, especially in reading comprehension. Either that or he's a baby horse... Or he smokes to many blunts...

    • melo

      the writer of the article said that it's not about black or white... patriotism in a democracy is keeping an open dialog on the laws and policies of the land. without this type of deisent, the US would not of moved from a nation buit on slave labor and genocide. To pretnd that race has nothing to do with the argument is ridiculous.

  • jack

    This article truly displays ignorance, more so than any other article i've ever had the displeasure of tiredly thumbing through on this pathetic waste of a site. Not only was it filled with generalizations and pure lies about white people and conservatives, but it was racist, idiotic, pandering, speculative, poorly written, whiny, and fucking ridiculous. Get the fuck out of my country or learn the truth of its history. You are fucking blind, and you will continue to fumble about it your blind ignorance until you are fucking dead and useless, which is exactly what your real enemy wants you to be. Wake up.

    • Anonymous

      Jack, people like you in this world make me sick. If your going to charge something atleast have the decency to point out a one factor which bogles you, WTF is your point, where are your facts and arguments to correct the wrong!!!!!

    • Eddy.

      Wow, did you even read the article? Fucking moron.

    • Anonymous

      Exaclty. So one-sided.

    • faoz

      i completely agree with jack. complete garbage.

    • Anonymous

      If it's such a pathetic waste of a site...not only why are you on it commenting but have a account? lol. and racist idiotic pandering? If you feel offended by this article I'm sorry (not really), but this is not racist or idiotic jus because you don't understand the purpose of his article. And what is your idea of the truth of this country I would like to know. Cause I believe Brother Ali touched on it pretty well and could've easily continued.

  • Real Talk 100

    Did you know that most of our Founding Fathers particularly those that framed the Constitution were AGAINST slavery and fought tirelessly to end it? Even James Madison from Virginia. Strangely even slave owners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson fought to end slavery. Don't get me wrong. There were some Founders like John Ruthledge that defended slavery, but most were against it. Where's my proof? That's quite a statement. After all, my government paid teachers in my government run public schools always gave me the impression that the Founders were a bunch of racist slave owning rich white guys. This notion is widespread. Just recently George Stephanopolis blasted Republican Michelle Bachmann for asserting the Founders fought slavery saying "With all due respect that's not true". Here are a ton of historical documents that overwhelmingly prove we have been LIED to about the people that founded this country: http://www.vindicatingthefounders.com/library/slavery.html Below are just a few overwhelming examples that fly in the face of the lies we have been taught. 1) Go ask the Founders themselves: George Washington 1786: "There is not a man living who wishes more than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it." John Adams 1819 "Every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. I have, through my whole life, held the practice of slavery in abhorrence". James Madison 1787 "We have seen the mere distinction of colour made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man". Other Founders including Jefferson, Franklin, and Hamilton also stated their disgust for slavery, look it up. 2) The actions of the Founders themselves, a few quick facts: Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence had anti-slavery language, but he was told they would lose the South if it was included. In reluctantly making the change, he said "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever". Those that defended slavery at the Constitutional Convention like John Ruthledge, wanted slaves to count as a full person. When I say full person, I mean not giving them freedom or right, I mean just towards representation in Congress, so that they would get more power and representation. Isnt that ridiculous and unfair? Those who opposed slavery wanted the slaves to count for nothing in this respect, while they were not freemen, because it would give the slave owners more power and prolong the existence of the institution. Which is why slaves would count as 3/5 of a person as a compromise in the Constitution to preserve the Union. If slaves counted as a full person towards representation, than those that supported slavery would get more power in Congress. As President, Jefferson signed into law the banning of the international slave trade. 3) Go ask Abraham Lincoln. The Republican Party was founded to end slavery. Lincoln himself often envoked the Founders struggle to end slavery, including in a speech in 1854 when he compared it to a cancer: The founding fathers, said Lincoln, had opposed slavery. They adopted a Declaration of Independence that pronounced all men created equal. They enacted the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 banning slavery from the vast Northwest Territory. To be sure, many of the founders owned slaves. But they asserted their hostility to slavery in principle while tolerating it temporarily (as they hoped) in practice. That was why they did not mention the words "slave" or "slavery" in the Constitution, but referred only to "persons held to service." "Thus, the thing is hid away, in the constitution," said Lincoln, "just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time." The first step was to prevent the spread of this cancer, which the fathers took with the Northwest Ordinance, the prohibition of the African slave trade in 1807, and the Missouri Compromise restriction of 1820. The second was to begin a process of gradual emancipation, which the generation of the fathers had accomplished in the states north of Maryland. 4) Go ask the racist Confederates that defended slavery: Example, in 1861, the Vice President of the Confederacy Alexanders Stephens spoke on how Jefferson and our Founding Fathers were mistaken in fighting to end slavery. Quote: "The prevailing ideas entertained by him [Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen [the Founders] at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of the races". In other words, he is saying the Founders mistakenly thought black people and white people were equal human beings. This is a lesson of history. Be cautious of those that talk shit on the Founders. Like all the Confederates, Stephens was a Democrat. The same Democratic Party that exist today that was founded by Andrew Jackson (Jackson the Democrat monster that massacred Native Americans). The same Democratic Party that threw out the Constitution in 1860 to defend slavery. The same Democratic Party of Franklin Roosevelt who threw out the Constitution in the 1930's and created a massive government and in the 1940's threw Japanese Americans into concentration camps. The same Democratic Party that wants to get rid of or ignore our Constitution today and slander and lie about the men our Founders truly were. And like most Democrats today and throughout history, he was an enemy of liberty. Stephens LITERALLY makes the same argument Democrats make today about how "old" and outdated the Constitution is how "Those stupid guys from way back in the 1700's were mistaken and wrong, they lived in different times".

    • Real Talk 100

      "everyone knows the democratic party you speak off was abandoned by the people that make up the strongest voting block for the republican party-the south,don't play political games when you don't know what your talking about. " A crucial part of the Democrats’ victim folklore is that they have been losing the South to Republicans over the past half century because the Democrats stood on principle to oppose race discrimination, while the Republican Party pandered to racists in the South—a region of the country liberals believe is composed primarily of Klan members. (That might be your first clue as to why Southerners don’t like liberals.) The Republican Party’s allegedly racist appeal to Southerners is darkly re- ferred to seventeen times a day in the mainstream media as the “Southern Strategy.” In fact, it was Eisenhower who broke the Democrats’ hold on the South in 1952, and if anyone was appealing to bigots that year, it wasn’t Eisenhower. Democrat Adlai Stevenson, known to experience “personal discomfort in the presence of Negroes,”12 chose as his running mate John Sparkman of Alabama, a Democrat segregationist. And yet the Old South—which according to mainstream media accounts voted Republican solely out of racial resentment—suddenly started voting Republican in 1952. Ike carried Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida outright, and nearly stole Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia from Stevenson. (Eisenhower lost Kentucky by a microscopic .07 percent and lost West Virginia and South Carolina by fewer than 4 percentage points.) This was just four years after Democrat-turned- Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond won four Southern states. But running with a segregationist didn’t help Stevenson in the South a few years later. Then, in 1956, the Republican Party platform endorsed the Su- preme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education that de- segregated public schools; the Democratic platform did not, and would not, as long as Democrats were winning elections by appealing to the racist mob. This led the black congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. to break with his party and endorse Eisenhower for president. Governor Orval Faubus, progressive New Deal Democrat, blocked the schoolhouse door to the Little Rock Central High School with the state’s National Guard rather than allow nine black students to attend. In response, President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard to take it out of Faubus’s hands. Then he sent the 101st Air- borne Division to walk the black children to school and stay with them throughout the day.

    • Jose Vasquez

      but they didn't fully fight against it because it would have created more separation and the Declaration and Constitution would have never been signed. They just prolonged the argument to a time where it could actually be conquered, without clouding the vision of separating from Great Britain. That was all common knowledge you just informed us with, nothing new.

    • Michael Zayas

      what clown get that tea party shit out of here,everyone knows the democratic party you speak off was abandoned by the people that make up the strongest voting block for the republican party-the south,don't play political games when you don't know what your talking about. also not to mention your rant had nothing to do with the poorly written article,but the author you and i all agree not trusting the government is very American.

    • Michael Zayas

      lol bs ,

  • Anonymous

    Im not really into politics but its becoming more and more obvious that rappers just want to talk politics for attention,in hope that they will gain some controversy. bill o'reily's interview with lupe fiasco is a good example, Lupe had no clue what he was talking about. And to say pac or public enemy never did this is just ignorant(what do u think the whole killuminati thing was really all about?)

  • Anonymous

    I pledge allegiance to $WonDough$

  • Assassin221

    I don't know, man. There's no question that hip-hop gets victimized by the right to a ridiculous degree. And I would say hip-hop's political anthems have some value in the sense that they represent thoughts a good portion of the population has, and may have inspired people to get educated and involved. But to be honest, I don't think I've ever heard a hip-hop track that really challenged my political beliefs, most rappers are just as ignorant and biased as anyone on Fox News. Cats like Public Enemy and Ice Cube and Immortal Technique are renowned for their activist spirit, but if if you really analyzed the content of their rhymes for truth or any coherent political philosophy, that shit would fall apart like a house of cards. If people feel empowered by it that's great, but I'm after the truth, the right and wrong, and hip-hop's political anthems have not brought me any closer to it. Just my perspective.

    • Assassin221

      Well, Chuck and IT may have experienced some shit, and read some shit, that gives them knowledge on certain topics, and I would probably agree with them on certain issues, but would I vote for them if they ran for office? Fuck no. (Well, depending on who else was running I guess.) I enjoy Public Enemy but it doesn't educate in a way that helps me understand what public policy should be, it basically rants against the government. And IT, well that dude is just crazy, I don't really trust anyone who acts like they have everything figured out. To me, the truth has to lie somewhere between everyone's experiences and perspectives. Hip-hop, like Fox News, is almost entirely oriented toward one perspective and as a result, is not a source of political guidance.

    • Michael Zayas

      i dont know if you can say that about chuck or IT,or really what i am trying to say is,what are you trying to say about chuck of immortal?thoes are 2 rappers who really live everything that they rhyme about. they may be biased,but everyone is biased ,i guess i really just want to know more of what your getting at?

  • Michael Zayas

    I don't know if this guy knows it or not,but that whole "tea party" shit is about question the government,which when in contrast makes this piece a bunch of rambleing.

  • Anonymous

    Right now there's too much going on in the world, and for so many years we've been ignorant of all the Truth facts. We all need to educate ourselves, and stop the media from showing us in this horrific light, it's not all about fashion, it's about how you're using your mind, and to become free and economically independent!

  • @NoMedication

    Good article on politics in hip hop! There is a lot more that can be said, but this a article not a book. So anyway it would be great to see more artists at least acknowledge things going on in this country. But most ppl seem to think its preachy or rappers don't want to offend anyone so they stick to talking bout money,cloths and hoes. Get up and take a stand RAPPERS instead of always being neutral. follow @Nomedication

  • bang bang bang

    Great read, great artwork.

  • MegaNigga

    That damn Ali cat is about as conscious as any of these other devils. Fuckin culture vultures!!!! Bullshit article stressin the hell outta "it dont matter what race you are"; the fuck it dont. Tired of that shit. RuNaway..........fast

  • Kashif Ilyas

    Very interesting read.

  • maurib

    fucking great. loved it. hope to read more.

  • D90

    im so tired of rappers tryin to talk about politics nowadays... i get that they been doin it as long as hip hops been around but goddamn now it jus seems like they doin it jus to disagree wit sumthin nd get sum attention

    • Anonymous

      The governments doing the same shit its been doing since the 80s...It makes more sense for rappers to keep talking about the problems than it does for them to shuck and jive on tv throwing money/pouring alcohol on women right now.

    • That Kid With The Crown

      I agree. Although, like the article said, its good to question your government, and when an artist is truly motivated, like Public Enemy, Tupac, Ice Cube, etc., it can lead to some of the greatest pieces of art and music, and this is true for any medium of art. But a lot of hip hop artists do seem to be doing it JUST to disagree and be sensational. They want to stand on a platform, but they don't have any platform to stand on.

    • Anonymous

      Whats wrong with rappers talking about politics? I would hope some of your favourite mcs, could be a voice for the voiceless, and at the same time not be blinded to what the hell going on in the world!

    • Xokibix

      Or maybe shit hasn't changed much since hip-hop started talking about it 20 years ago.