Last week, Doran Miller-Rosenberg, a writer for EliteDaily.com published “Why the ’6 Ways to Stop Your Child From Being Brainwashed By Mainstream Rap’ Guide Got It All Wrong’”, a nasty rebuttal to my original article which was an over-the-top, comedic take on what parents need to do to wean their kids off commercial rap. Mr. Miller-Rosenberg, a 20-something hipster from Brooklyn didn’t get it. Whereas a simple critique of my article would have been within reason, Doran, or D-Bag as I like to call him, spent the majority of his digital ink on attacking my person with cheap shots and half-baked arguments while completely brushing off both the satirical nature of my article and the very real social implications of mainstream rap’s influence on kids. Of course, that’s to be expected from someone whose social awareness is most likely limited to which neighborhood has the best organic bagels.
But he’s not the first cornball hipster to write about rap and be ridiculously off base. So here’s to D-Bag and all his Generation Y cohorts: stay in your lane, kids. Stick to writing about Williamsburg’s trendiest coffee shops, Coachella, or why the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” left you disappointed. Let conscious-minded cats who live and breathe Hip Hop speak for the culture. You’re not welcome in this house.
Waxing poetic about Chief Keef’s brilliance while ignoring the depressing realities the rapper’s music reflects is a luxury only a clueless, disconnected snob can afford. While you arrogant clowns absolve yourselves of any accountability by arguing against the moralizing of art, misguided kids are trying to live out the lyrics to songs you and your grad school homies party to. While you celebrate Gucci Mane’s reckless abandon as the ultimate display of counter-culture cool, the artist known as Radric Davis is spiraling downwards, in and out of jail, and in my estimation, in need of serious therapy. Magically, the average garden-variety trap rapper becomes your personal virtual tour guide through Anyhood, USA wherein you can live your wildest “ghetto” fantasies vicariously, “fuck as many bitches” as you want, make it rain on the baddest chicks, hold heat, sip a little lean (which you’ve probably already tried with your best friend Ethan and some free-spirited blonde named Dakota one boring Saturday night)…all while finally experiencing the liberating sensation of dropping the N word at will. One can only dream, right? And then it’s back to your regular life as an espresso-sipping, greasy combed-over-haired, trust-fund dick head who’d piss your pants if you ever found yourself face to face with the very same hood characters you get hard daydreaming about.
Ahhhhh…..stereotypes can be so fun. But you know that all too well.
Those pseudo-progressive ideologies and faux anti-establishment leanings you cloak yourselves in quickly come apart when life invites you to fully embrace your privileged background and trade in your so-called love of Hip Hop and thrift store fashions for a suit, a tie, and a cushy job at some marketing firm in charge of promoting everything you once claimed to stand against. People like you can’t be trusted. You’re too self-involved and will change like the wind when opportunity knocks.
But for now, your youthful delusions give you just enough balls to believe that you can rewrite, remix, rearrange, reshape and redefine Hip Hop, a culture in which you have nothing invested, no matter how much you’ve “studied” it or how large your vinyl collection is. But you’re not Hip Hop and will never be. You don’t speak for the culture and get no love from those whose blood, sweat and tears made Hip Hop what it is. The publications and blogs you write for have no credibility in the eyes of those who have dedicated their lives to this culture. Your thoughts, words and ideas are as irrelevant as MTV’s annual Best MC’s of All Time List. Still, as irrelevant as you may be to genuine Hip Hop culture, as long as outlets like Spin, Gawker, Fader and Pitchfork pass you off as tastemakers, your uninformed rantings might just be accepted as law by younger, more impressionable rap fans who tend to believe anything they read. This is why you must be neutralized. I’m not going to watch passively as you rewrite Hip Hop’s current narrative without calling you out on your bullshit. You can try to intellectualize mainstream rap’s dysfunction until the grass-fed cows come home, but your poorly disguised racial fetishes expose you every time.
For many of us, Hip Hop culture saved our lives, or at the very least, gave it a purpose. Our worldviews, politics, social awareness, and sense of self have been shaped by Hip Hop. Some of us have become activists, community organizers, educators, healers, youth advocates and socially responsible entrepreneurs because Hip Hop gave us the spark to believe we could change the world. And here you come, smug and pretentious, imposing your values on a culture that doesn’t need you or want you, just like your predecessors imposed themselves on lands that weren’t theirs and how you follow suit today by gentrifying and redefining countless neighborhoods that don’t want you either. Most of you are Hip Hop culture vultures on a safari of appropriation and exploitation. You take and give nothing back. You’re the worst. Stay away from Hip Hop.
But at the end of the day, Doran Miller-Rosenberg, we don’t even have to look that deeply. The proof is in the pudding. I write for RapRehab, You for Elite Daily. That pretty much says it all.
Sebastien Elkouby is a Hip Hop Culture historian, writer, creative consultant, and award-winning educator. Check out his educational program, Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture and blog, SebIsHipHop.wordpress.com. For more info about his creative consulting services, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
College Park, GA was in the building on this episode.
We were joined by Atlantic Records senior executive Kawan “KP” Prather and Atlantic Records recording artist Kap-G. KP is responsible for introducing the world to John Legend, T.I., Yelawolf, Youngbloodz as well as producing/writing records for Usher, Jamie Foxx, Mario and more.
One of his latest discoveries Kap-G is a Mexican emcee like you’ve never heard before. Kap has been cosigned by industry heavyweights from Pharrell Williams to DJ Drama.
On top of the great interview we dissected Pharaoh Monch’s PTSD album and talked Outkast’s Coachella show. As always the convo was anchored by pristine mixes from DJ Wally Sparks. Download, love and share!