HipHop: A Revolution in Rebellion


A BAR AGAINST RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

article by DENZEL SAMBO 


Quite a number of people have fallen victim to racial discrimination the world over and most people had nothing to do or say about it.
A good example of a people that face racial discrimination are African Americans in the United States but somehow they seem to have vented their anger using an urban culture called HIP HOP, embraced in the streets of Bronx New York, this was a movement that combined art like Graffiti, Rap, Beatboxing, Breakdance and Spoken word poetry the start of this is mainly acredited to the African roots of the African American people so they automatically could rhyme and be poetic since its an African art of praise.

The word HIP HOP is said to have been invented by a rapper who was part of a hip hop group called Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, his name was Keith Cowboy.  Finally black people had found solace in an art and were able to earn from it without no longer bieng involved in the streets (crime) and without anyone judging them because of their colour. This was a breakthrough, a voice for the voiceless.

Hip Hop itself started from an uprising in the Bronx when a loot took place and disc jockeys (DJs) like Grandmaster Flash combined the looted electronic equipment to create bands. A big cloud of shame came in the 80s due to the introduction of crack the police had to monitor people more because of the drugs, that paved way for police brutality and gang violence.
Most of the cops were not of African American descent and they where starting to  mistreat the people of color so there was need for one the influential people to stand up  and take notice since most activists were being murdered by who knows who.

The big break came from a culture invented by the people when a song called 'The Message', by one of the forefathers came out talking about how not so rosy life was for people in lower class communities which comprised of blacks, coloureds and latinos mainly. The song was a hit and people were amazed the song even caught the eye of the government and political system. The track had anti-racial lyrics like;

"Because only God knows what you'll go through
You'll grow in the ghetto living second-rate
And your eyes will sing a song called deep hate
The places you play and where you stay
Looks like one great big alleyway"

Most people found the song positive and acknowledged the fact that if more people came to the fight they would eventually be heard so more people became involved,  some started using graffiti to express their innermost thoughts. On the walls of buildings and subways you could see words like "we all bleed the same color".
However as hip hop in the east was all about a revolution, in the west, Los Angeles (places like Compton) where most people of colour lived, there was going to be a great rebellion because of hip hop.
The rebellion in the west was going to be what was known as 'gangster rap', this was music that talked openly about the horrors of being stuck on the streets and how hard it was to be a part of gangs but its main aim was on the issue of police brutality which was said to have been justified because of the saturation of gangs in the area, the police could arrest anyonel for being a drug dealer.
People new something had to be done about this and by that time Hip Hop had started in LA, Carlifonia. That's when an mc called Shooly D released a track called 'psk', which talked about the lifestyle on the streets and how poor people were forced to live miserably, this was the first rebellious gangsta hip hop track.
It had lyrics that said;

"And said, "You sucker-ass nigga I should shoot you dead"
A thought ran across my educated mind
Said, man, Schoolly D ain't doing no time
Grabbed the microphone and I started to talk"

Many people were inspired by Shooly D's and soon other rappers joined the movement, one such rapper was Ice T with his popular track 'Sunday in the Morning, that talked about how hard it was to be a gangster and how politics was making people do what they did not want to do in ordee to survive. Police brutality and gang violence did not make it easier either.
Naturally, because of their message, their songs were x rated and were the first two to carry an 'explicit adult content' marker.
Although the groundwork had been set and people seemed to have found a form of expression, it was far from over, an atomic bomb of a group of rapper's was about to be unlished!

This group consisted of Easy E, Dr Dre, Ice Cube, Mc ran and DJ Yella. Little did this group know they were going to cause commotion, not because of what they were singing but because of their name already 'N.W.A' (Niggas With Attitude), this name made even the FBI take notice! As a result they were being banned from radio as parents thought they were a gangster group and had bad influence on kids but they got played in the streets were they came from.
Then a fateful turn of events ensues when a member of the group decides to talk about police brutality on innocent black people because his friend (Dr Dre) was often harassed and arrested for no reason by the police. This was a one of a kind track because it aimed directly at the police and it was called 'F**k the Police', it was the first of its kind and was going to cause commotion.

The FBI took notice of the song and it was banned, much to the delight of the government of the day. As fate would have it, the group decided to perform the song one more time at a show where there was police because they felt they should be heard. Chaos broke loose the moment the first lines to the song came out through the PA System;

"Fuck the police! Comin' straight from the underground
A young nigga got it bad ‘cause I'm brown
And not the other color, so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority"

The show had to be cancelled after police stormed the stage, the rappers fled but a lot of people were brutalized by the police. One activist was killed in the process but the policemen were acquitted. This caused an uprising which saw people take to the streets and burning things that mainly belonged to white people.
Finally a song had given people of colour a voice to say what they felt, hence it was a bar against racial discrimination.

This was not the the last we would see of activism and hip hop coming together. Heading into the 90s, people had incorporated protests against racial discrimination in many forms, a dance form called 'krumpcrump' was created so that people could vent their anger through dance and not violence.

During this time, two of the greatest rappers to ever stand behind a microphone burst onto the scene, their names were Tupac and B.I.G, and they did not sit back either.

They too used their art to express the plight of black people and because they were the most influential people alive during that time they made a very big impact but unfortunately they were murdered at the peak of their careers hence their impact was shortlived.

Hiphop will always be loud because it still is a great protest tool against racial discrimination and one that people have found solace in. Now rappers like Kendrick Lamar are rising to the occassion. Eminem, was smack talking the US president on a number of recent freestyles because of Trump's racist remarks on black people, latinos and muslims.

Hip hop will forever be celebrated as a culture that gave people a mouthpiece to smack talk their way to freedom and fairness. Forever hiphop, forever free from bondage. That's one for hiphop!!


THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY DENZEL (THE CYPHER) SAMBO For URBAN CRAFT MAGAZINE

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