from Urban Dictionary
Am I the only one that thinks rappers apologizing for the lyrics in their songs that some deem offensive is the most anti-hip-hop thing they could be doing?
Hip-hop has always been a counter-culture and not just because it was widely disregarded as a passing fad and not considered to be real music by the presiding elders during its infancy. No, mainly because rappers have, historically not given 2 fucks about the criticism they would receive on their music. I mean, it’s art and who defends art? You just make it and hope it’s received well, but if it isn’t, who cares?
It’s this nonchalance and seemingly oblivious approach to making music that has made rappers the envy of their fans and more remarkably, the envy of mainstream America over the years.
Rappers have always said what we were too afraid or politically correct to say, as a society and this added to their perceived authenticity. The popular refrain of “I rap about my real life in the streets” only made the public further intrigued by this IDGAF attitude. It’s what drove the 1st amendment battles between 2 Live Crew and the courts back in 1989 and kept hip-hop in the conversation among other tide-changing events in the history of the evolution of this great nation.
Over the years, the only interests the emcees had to protect were that of their fan-base. As long as their loyal subjects could relate to what they were spittin on the mic, then the C. Delores Tuckers of the world could eat a dick!
Rappers began to become brands. Their music, which at one time was simply an anthem for their hood, a way to communicate their message to the world, or an extension of their thought processes, was now the soundtrack to Madison Avenue and they now had corporate interests to protect.
Now, instead of brushing off criticism with the popular “They’re just haters” line, rappers are now restructuring their own art to satisfy the critics that sign their endorsement checks.
From Lil Wayne’s line about Emmitt Till on “Karate Chop” to Rick Ross’ ill-received “date rape” line on Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.”, it seems that these rappers forget that the REAL power in their image is integrity.
I’m sure someone is reading this with a tremendous amount of butthurt and is cramming to understand why I would defend these guys.
I’m defending their right to say any asinine thing they’d like on proverbial wax and not have to apologize for it.
Hip-hop isn’t and should NEVER be about branding. It’s an art. Somewhere along the lines of hip-hop’s astronomical financial success, we forgot that.
Rappers work hard to get to a point in their career that Pepsi comes calling with millions just for them to tell their fans that they drink Pepsi. Easy money, right?
Sure it is, until Pepsi gets ahold of your new song and they send you a stern email with “notes” on how to make your song less offensivey. And at the bottom of the email there is a not-so subtle warning, “Remove the offensive lyric or lose your endorsement money”
And instead of you standing your ground, you cave in and release a ‘kinder, gentler’ version of the song YOU wrote for YOUR fans.
I’m talking to you J. Cole and Drake.
Recently, Cole World and Drizzy released a banger called “Jodeci Freestyle” in which Cole spit a line using the words “autistic” and “retarded” seemingly interchangeably. This pissed some people off, as EVERYTHING seems to do these days, and the “Power Trip” rapper issued a lengthy apology, insisting he wasn’t doing it for any type of financial damage control (cough cough BULLSHIT cough cough).
But my message to J. Cole and other artists out there is simple, do your art for YOU and you won’t ever have to issue half-assed apologies to hyper-sensitive people….EVER!
Rap is about expressing yourself through creative wordplay, sometimes fusing the actual definition of a word with the street slang version. Emcees typically take an uneasy subject and poke fun, make light, or even remove the sting out of it altogether, something that black folks have a penchant for doing on all fronts, not just in music.
Rarely are these phrases or terms meant to be taken literally, but they usually are by people who have ZERO clue as to what any practitioner of hip-hop music or its culture is about.
So why apologize? Just say what you say and keep it moving…..NEVER defend your art.