I'm no fan of Hip Hop. I never have been. I know that I am supposed to be a child of Hip Hop but when I watched the movie Brown Sugar, I felt none of the love Syd and Dre professed to feel. DH chides me all the time because I don't know the songs or the artists or, as he says it, "what's good." (I pick Kool Moe Dee over LL every time!) I say this to say that there is no nostalgic love between me and Hip Hop which makes it easier for me to denounce it as a scourge today. Okay, that's harsh. But I do see quite a bit of negativity in it. Crass materialism, ubiquitous misogyny, senseless violence, foolish anti-intellectualism--all detriments to the community. Whatever its historical value in giving voice to the people is obscured by its current influence.
But I could be wrong.
It seems that older members of the Hip Hop community are making turnarounds in positive directions. Ice Cube stands out the most for me. He was all gangsta in NWA, but now he is the star of several family movies (Are We There Yet?, Are We Done Yet? and The Longshots). What gives? Then there's Ice T who caused a hullabaloo with "Cop Killer," now playing Detective Odafin Tutuola on Law & Order: SVU. Now, Master P, who wants to be known as P. Miller, has done a one-eighty and is starting a television network Better Black Television (BBTV) that he says will provide positive, family-friendly programming. (I assume since it is Better Black TV, it is meant to be better than our current Black network, BET).
I think these changes are good, but I wonder what prompts them. Are these artists looking at the current state of Hip Hop and its influence and trying to find a way to counteract it? Are they just too old to keep moving the way they used to move? Or, are they becoming more mature as they age? Whatever the reason, their actions are enough to make me re-evaluate my perceptions of Hip Hop, at least, my perception of the old heads. I still can't find anything positive about "Soulja Boy."
What do you all think? What do you make of this change in image of Hip Hop artists? Will you watch BBTV?