Hip Hop Fridays: Rev. Sharpton Revisiting Rap History by Robert of ThugLifeArmy.com
The recent actions of Rev. Al Sharpton are very reminiscent to another era in the rap and hip-hop industry.
Rev. Sharpton says he plans to buy stock in a number of record companies that produce the rap and hip-hop music he’s against, so he'll have a say as a stockholder.
In 1996 didn’t we see and hear the same actions by C. Delores Tucker? Tucker's group breached the corporate wall at Time Warner, which had half ownership of Interscope, by buying Time Warner stock and speaking out at a stockholders' meeting.
Tucker took her attack mainly against the late rap icon Tupac Shakur and Death Row Records. At the time Tucker was going after Death Row and Tupac, Death Row released this statement “Much of Death Row Records' music chronicles the observations and experiences of young African-Americans, often describing experiences and observations arising from the urban ghettos of this country. These observations and experiences represent a part of life in America that is non-mainstream and that the government, prior to the popularity of rap, was able to control, limit and keep from the middle class. The current appeal of this music to suburban America has caused great concern to the government, politicians and others looking to benefit from and capitalize on these events.''
It seems this statement is still true and though the recent events with 50 and The Game have sparked something that is slowly gathering speed, it seems we as the hip-hop community have witnessed this before.
Rev. Sharpton may or may not understand that if hip-hop fails it will be of it’s own doing, not the governments or so called stockholders.
Rev. Sharpton must face the fact that there is a lot of money in the record industry and that shareholders in a company are shareholders because they are there to make money.
If you put sanctions against artist that have violent run in’s, then you will have more violent run in’s, because it will sell records and it offers the unlimited possibilities for all that free advertisement and building ‘fake’ street credibility.
On Tupac Shakur’s album ‘All Eyez on Me’, Tupac confronted Ms. Tuckers attack on rap lyrics with the song ‘Wonda Why They Call You Bi**h’. In that song Tupac, who came from the period when rap still had a social meaning and rappers were not ‘afraid’ to make their thoughts known; said to Ms Deloris Tucker “it ain't personal strictly business baby, strictly business”.
So as many of the rap and hip-hop artist that Rev. Sharpton is complaining about sit and wait to see what happens, why doesn’t one of them repeat history also and let Rev. Sharpton know what is on their mind about the matter at hand? The rap and hip-hop artist that Rev. Sharpton is ‘targeting’ find it easy to quickly reply to a diss or a dis-agreement with a fellow rap or hip-hop artist on wax, but they seem to be saying nothing.
In 1996 Tucker had been accused of using the controversy she helped build against rap music for their own political gain, which Tucker vehemently denied. So what are we to think of Rev. Sharptons recent re-visiting of the past? Political gain, wanting a piece of the pie or is he really against something that he believes in?
As this unfolds we will see if he is serious in his convictions or is just trying to hold an industry hostage to make a self statement of one kind or another. Is the intention here to end up on the floor of congress, with hearings on the state of hip-hop?
Maybe if history has to repeat itself in this manner then he should look at one label and the artist on that label that seem to be causing most of the fuss. Most rap and hip-hop artist are on the ‘grind’ and truly concerned about building their careers and do not have time for all the violence that is coming out of just a few camps. Maybe the wrong industry is targeted and someone should look into the advertising and publicity industries. At least that would be something new and probably closer to the real problem.
Robert is the Founder and Chief Editor of www.ThugLifeArmy.com. This article appears on Thug Life Army.com
Robert of Thug Life Army.com
Friday, April 1, 2005