Writer’s Note: The words dangerous and distraction aren’t solely meant to sound negative or positive when I use them.
What happens after the music stops? Make no mistake about it, I have an emotional attachment to Hip-Hop. I’ve seen the genre commercialized over my lifetime, which was originally a creation by black folks, but for some time now, it’s been embraced by many others. Hip-Hop’s growth, equipped with technology, made it accessible to everyone and anybody who wanted to take part. But what I want to focus on here are two things. How Hip-Hop is dangerous and how it’s a distraction. They’re not meant as concrete facts, but more about my perception on certain concepts.
To start, let’s make note of what China has recently mentioned because this is one of those aspects of Hip-Hop being “dangerous.”
Reuters reported “Hip-Hop artists Wang Hao, known as PG One and Zhou Yan, known as GAI have been sanctioned in recent weeks for bad behavior or content at odds with Communist Party values.” It was also reported that China wants “to rein in potential platforms for youthful dissent.”
This all stems from China pushing to “ban Hip-Hop,” which I’m unable to comprehend how. Maybe a certain type of Hip-Hop. But as an authority figure for law and order, they can see a danger with Hip-Hop in many ways.
[quote]The campaign underscores a broader clean-up of cultural content from video games, online streaming and even performance art amid a drive to make cultural products adhere to mainstream socialist core values,” reports Reuters.[/quote]
Now I’m not the one to place limits on human expression, but in the shoes of an authoritative government, it’s not too difficult to see why they chose to do this. Lyrics are no more than thoughts that convey an idea, which in itself is like an airborne virus capable of spreading from host to host. If that idea is strong enough, it can mean a potential shift in consciousness or something worse, like self-destruction and moral decay.
China isn’t being racist and “banning Hip-Hop”. They want to curb the superficial appropriation of African-American culture, which divorced from its progressive historical context has led to some chauvinistic Chinese Hip-Hop promoting sexism and glorifying wealth and hedonism
— Ajit Singh (@ajitbirsingh) January 23, 2018
Now about it being a distraction, it reminds me of a scene from the sequel of the Hunger Games where the character Haymitch says to Katniss and Peta that they’re made to distract so people forget what the real problems are. I’ve always been attached to this scene for art truly does imitate life.
Hip-Hop is no doubt meant to move and capture us in the moment, but when you get down to what exactly we’re being moved and captured by, it’s like that scene I mentioned because it’s sometimes devoid of the real problems, giving us a place to temporarily escape to pursue pleasure or other mundane things. But by no means is it the only medium prone to being this way. Welcome to the matrix.
However, I understand not every song or rap lyric is tasked with speaking the real about every world ill, nor is it the artists’ purpose I think. But since people are given a platform to speak, why let our words be a temporary distraction to things which affect much less than others that truly do? I guess it’s easier to escape reality than to face it.
It all boils down to what really matters to us. I imagine some of the things we think matter in all honesty doesn’t and we go on blindly believing it does, but are we all really here to change the world or make it better? What if we need distractions because ignorance is bliss? Is life solely or partly about making the world better? Is it something more simple than that? Do we carry on with our lives, experiencing this human existence for what it is with an awareness of who we are and what goes on around us? Or am I looking at all this too deeply when it’s not and making a word salad?
I know I’m a bit of everywhere with this discussion, but these are some questions that pop up in my head. When I got into Hip-Hop it was an escape from reality for me, like another world within a world where rhymes and a melody mixed with a message could move people. I was young at that time and found love in that, but I didn’t fully grasp what it was that I had. Regardless of any opinion I’ve made, it’s truly an art form like no other.