Introduction – Track 2
Blacks long to have a leader at the forefront. This possibly stems from the African edict of honoring the elder member of the family. Maybe it is a carry over from Whites selecting the person they chose to work with in slavery, and in dealing with Blacks during the post Civil War era and still today. Then again it may be the nature of Black folks to be docile in any arena outside of entertainment and athletics, therefore we require a leader.
Whatever the case, Blacks have been searching for the next Dr. King for the last thirty plus years. This search for leadership has left us in a declining situation that has been deteriorating since the advent of multiculturalism. We now have a society content with inept leadership and a lack of respect for the foundation of the Black family, women. The leaders Black people find themselves with are effective mouthpieces and ineffective placeholders.
If you ask a young brother or sister if there are any problems with society the rhetoric is disturbing. All answers deal with police brutality, the blanket coverall, racism or they say that there isn’t anything wrong. Why are our kids so unaware of the issues affecting them? Why are we adults of the Hip-Hop generation unable to create a discourse that teaches the Next Movement about the past? Why are we not accessing information and learning more? The fault of the Hip-Hop generation is that we have yet to create a legacy that extends beyond the amount of capital we have created in this country. But this is not the only issue which currently affects African-Americans of the Hip-Hop society and beyond.
The advent of multicultural ideals or rather the fault of multiculturalism, is that the Black child/teen/adult has never been taught who they are in mainstream America. This is more important now because the identity of Blacks is based upon the culture of Hip-Hop, which is flawed due to a focus on the negative aspects of the culture by the greater society.
As Blacks accept the melting pot theory they fail to gain any insight into the history of struggle for African-Americans. The African-American struggle has become unimportant to the African-American. The public education system teaches the Underground Railroad and the Montgomery Bus Boycott as Black history. The accomplishments of Blacks are thought to be nil because they are easily ignored. What is taught to Black youths and Black America is that they should forget about the past to blend into society. To dwell on history is to bring up those things uncomfortable to this nation.
In Black America there has always been one person in our culture who has been the ‘flag bearer’. In any situation the success of a people has always come in the movement of the masses, the failure is found in the lack of movement: political and social. The struggles of the Civil Rights movement spawned, The Last Poets, the Black Panther Party, and a desire to reaffirm a connection to African roots. Another movement should have been taking place in the eighties, but due to Reaganomics and the introduction of crack during this time we were sidetracked. Hip-Hop did attempt to begin a new movement. Many will argue that the music was not created to be a political machine. However, any artform born from struggle is inherently social and political. There was an initial surge in socio-political thought in early Hip-Hop with songs like “White Horse” and in the late eighties conscious, pro-Black symbols like Africa medallions. These things have taken a back seat to the financial properties that now dominate the culture.
The goal of this writing is to deliver thoughts of Hip-Hop intellectualism. The writing is not centered solely on the culture of Hip-Hop. I am a product of the culture; therefore my words derive from influences ‘considered’ outside of the norm. The Hip-Hop foundation, individual and improvisational (freestyle) thought, is my norm and influences my interpretation of Blackness.
To further reinforce the ideology of the Hip-Hop intellectual, the essays presented will use a form of sampling. The support, or reinforcement of ideas presented, will be drawn from a number of mediums often ignored as methods of research. To be more specific, art(movies) will be used as sociological tools to establish that Black culture has a center that has to be rediscovered and returned to. Poets will be featured to show the connection to the griot, oral tradition, which created the literary foundation for Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Robert Hayden. Essays will delve into the problems of Hip-Hop. The guest appearance will enhance the album, instead of being used as filler or to hide a lack of talent.
The purpose: To deliver information with the same intent as Grandmaster Flash’s sociopolitical themes, to reaffirm our African roots in the same manner as X-Clan, and to reinforce the conscious ideals of Black Star. Although the ever present ‘bling, bling’, lifestyle of the mainstream’s ideal of Hip-Hop is over run with morons, Hip-Hop intellectualism is not an oxymoron. This is the ‘Next movement’ ala: Donny Hathaway influencing The Roots. This is my soapbox, lyric-paddle for the near flat-lined consciousness of Hip-Hop.