Every few years or so, ususally around election time, you'll begin to hear this term "hip-hop activism" bandied about. The hip-hop generation, says the likes of Jeff Chang and Russell Simmons, can change the world, or at least swing the vote for the Democratic party. Usually, it doesn't manage to do much of either.

Which makes sense if you think about it: If hip-hop can't keep Pimp C from getting wet, how is it ever going to get black people to vote? That said, Russell Simmons was once a shermhead himself back in the late '70s/early '80s, and look at who he is today - a legend that's not to be criticized in any way. There could be hope for hip-hop activism just yet.

Part of the problem is that hip-hop activists have never had much of an issue to rally themselves around. Even if hip-hop did manage to put a Democrat in office, it would only serve to cement ol' Rush the Dusthead's rep as a sort of "rainmaker" in the black community. Rush would get paid, the Democrats wouldn't actually do shit, and we'd all be back at square one.

As far as individual issues are concerned, I know there was the thing about getting lighter sentences for crack dealers, but who would want to get behind some shit like that? It's true that white guys who deal in coke generally receive lighter sentences, but then white guys who deal in coke arent' known to walk around the mall fried on "ace" with an AK tucked in their fur coat.

Russell Simmons doesn't actually want crack dealers living in his gated community, he just wants to get paid.

A coke dealer living in your neighborhood, on the other hand, might actually be convenient. If you've got it like that. Speaking of which, I wonder if Elliott Wilson fucks with the yay at all. He does look kinda sweaty in most photographs. I bet he does a line before he sits down to write those great editorials each month.

But I think I may I have found the perfect issue for the hip-hop activists to rally around: Illegal immigration has had a devastating effect on the black community. Hip-hop activists, if they're really concerned with the state of the black community, should make this their signature issue.

When illegal immigrants live 15-to-a-house, it drives up rents and drives black people out of their own neighborhoods. When the Spanish-speaking children of illegal immigrants flood our schools, our children can't hope to get a decent education. And when a black man goes up for a job against an illegal immigrant who's willing to work for pennies on the dollar, he finds himself shit out of luck.

Weakening our nation's drug laws so that violent PCP addicts can wave machine guns in shopping malls isn't going to help improve our communities. If hip-hop activists want to be taken seriously, they should get behind an issue that has real potential to have a positive effect in the black community.