Dangerous and a Distraction?

January 28, 2018

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 commercialization of the genre 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 participate. 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 to be 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.”[/su_quote]

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, it goes without saying that they can see a danger in hip hop in a variety of 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 revolution or something worse, like self-destruction and moral decay.

Now about it being a distraction, it reminds me of a scene from the sequel of the hunger games, where Haymitch says to Katniss and Peta that they’re made to be a distraction so people forget what the real problems are. I’ve always been attached to this scene, for art truly does imitate life. Beautiful sweet bliss.

Hip Hop is no doubt meant to be moving 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 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 has to be task 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 to be distracted because ignorance is bliss? Is life solely or partially about making the world better? Is it something more simple than that? Do we carry on with our lives, experiencing this human experience 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?

I know I’m a little 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 tht 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.

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