“It’s like Public Enemy and N.W.A were warring for the heart of the hip-hop nation, and a gentrified version of N.W.A won out. The blingy version.” — Audioslave’s Tom Morello
I don’t know about the rest of you d-bags, but that sounds to me like the history of hip-hop in a nutshell. Nullus.
Recently a fellow named Gil Kaufman, at that noted bastion of protest art MTV, did a story about how today’s music doesn’t seem as political as the music that was coming out in the ’60s and ’70s. Back during the Vietnam war you had guys like Jimi Hendrix putting out “All Along the Watchtower” and Credence doing “Fortunate Son.” These days all you’ve got is albums by Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, and they don’t count because they’re old.
Tom Morello, the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave (which is an anagram of Adios Value), is quoted in the article and makes it a point to single out hip-hop, stating, “You listen to [Public Enemy's] ‘Fight the Power’ and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, and you can hear America changing. Now it’s just the relentless booty shake of hollow bling. There’s not yet a soundtrack like in the ’60s, when the music of the time was the music of revolution.”
And I’d to have to agree. Turn on the radio these days and what are you more likely to hear, a song about the war in Iraq or “Ms. New Booty?” Of course that didn’t stop a couple of my fellow bloggers from taking issue with Morello’s comments. My baby’s mother Tara Henley went through and put together a list of songs that mention George Bush, got damnit!, while my go-to guy for pointless minutiae Noz did some kind of thing where he pretends to not like Rage Against the Machine.
That said, I can understand wanting to come to the defense of hip-hop. To their credit, I’m sure many of today’s rappers would make some erudite political statement except that they’re functional illiterates. You think Juvenile was really that concerned with offending people after he lost it all in Hurricane Katrina? Nope, it’s just that he’s an idiot. Hence, “Everybody need a check from FEMA, so he can go score himself some coca-ina.”