Thursday, August 28, 2014

#Don'tShoot: Hip-hop All Stars Come Together on Track for Ferguson

At first when I saw the lineup on this track I was psyched. I love Curren$y, who constantly releases free music with chill lyrics and great production and have downloaded mixtapes from some of the other contributors, but when I stopped to think about it, the whole thing seems just a tad hypocritical: some of these rappers have songs that boast about violence and guns.  Check out Yo Gotti's lyrics on World War III (yes, I suppose this could be taken as an anti-establishment song, but it's a stretch), or Rick Ross on, well any Rick Ross track every, but here's one that also features the Game.

Their heart may be in the cause, but have they taken the time to think about the meaning behind their lyrics? I'm not so sure, when the intro to the song starts "Rest in peace, Mike Brown, and all the young soldiers out there".  The "young soldiers" reference refers to an aspect of drug and street culture that doesn't seem productive in this conversation.  Mike Brown was not carrying a gun and he was not a soldier, and referring to him in this way seems like the perpetuation of an unfortunate stereotype.

The Game's quote in this Rolling Stone article is moving and thoughtful, and I'd like to see that as opportunity for some of the hardest rappers in hip-hop to come together and discuss the effect of their lyrical discourse, as it pertains to violence, sexism, and drug use on American culture and today's youth.  What do they want their children and hip-hop fans to emulate? This song may be a one-off, but it'd be great if this could get the ball rolling on some more anti-violence pro-political lyrics.

In any case, the proceeds from the song go to the fund for Justice for Mike Brown, so I'll probably buy it here.  Then again, self-awareness is critical.  It kind of makes me want to skip the song, donate to Justice for Mike Brown, and then listen to "Hard to Earn" on repeat:

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