When KRS-ONE was accepting his I Am Hip Hop Award at the BET Hip Hop Awards the other night, a couple of things he said stuck with me. First he said something along the lines of Hip Hop needing to step up and adress issues that aren’t even theirs, and second he hinted that Hip Hop needed another “Self-Destruction” movement. I tend to agree with him.

Now is the perfect time for artists to come together on a track and actually say something. I mean its cool to see a gang of rappers get together to rap about taking over, how hood they are or what they like to do with their money. But can we get some songs about taking over a community and evoking some change? A track about how to change some things in these ‘hoods they love so much? Or maybe a collaboration about how to manage that money they’re stacking, or a song about donating some bread to places other than the strip club?

Sure, having songs like these does at least exhibit some sense of unity in Hip Hop, but, 9 times out of10 these cats aren’t in the studio together. Besides the rare instances where they actually perform the songs on stage together, having these songs is almost the equivalent of having a fantasy football team; they’re together, but not really.

That’s why I’m asking can we get a song about the Jena 6? Mychal Bell is back in jail for having priors and the other 5 are free on bond but still have to go to court, its still a relevant topic.

What about a song talking about Genarlow Wilson? It could be called something as silly as “All White Girls Don’t Give Good Head.”

Or a song bringing attention to the San Francisco 8? Or Detroit’s fucked up Education System. Or Aaron Patterson? (like this guy did) We never saw or heard that Katrina record, what happened to that one?

Maybe I’m trippin’. Actions speak louder than words and folks like T.I., David Banner & Saigon to name a few have proven that through their King Foundation, Heal the Hood and Abandoned Nation efforts respectively. Oh yeah, and Plies too.

I guess all I’m saying is, we could use another “Self Destruction” record right about now. It only seems appropriate since folks are still dying in the streets (and even on songs, especially if you’re a hater fucking wit my bread!) and getting locked up. I don’t know about you, but songs like “Self Destruction” and “We All In The Same Game” played a huge part in me not going down certain paths in life. Plus, Hip Hop is back to being Public Enemy #1, so why not conjure up those songs?

Matter of fact, it could be done like how Pharoe Monch recorded “Trilogy” on his last album, you know, get 3 different producers to do 3 different tracks. Then get everybody and their mama (ala the “One Blood” remix) to hop on it and just go off on the system on one beat, drop some real life game on the second beat and then just speak thier minds on the third beat.

Just a thought.

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • Fire

    I agree completely. I think more people should talk about meaningful topics and subjet matter and political issues that are relevant. Hip hop needs a balance, and the balance has disappered. This post is a good idea.

    • Chuck Basel

      The Teacha, told ya’ll….

      “You are the manifestation of money, I am the manifestation of study, therefore, I advance thru thought, not thru what’s manufactured and bought”

      Chuck D asked ya’ll “How you gonna say no to drugs, and not say no to thugs?” and
      “These Crimminal Acts, don’t have nothing to do with rap”

      Ya’ll begging/longing for something that the majority of these cats can’t deliver, (the artist can’t and the label won’t) “knowledge” not simple minded ass “street knowledge” (Ten Crack Commandments) but that real uncut dope knowledge…of self…

      “Take the pillow from your head and put a book in it it’s time for the mighty BDP Posse…!”

      more Kris “I don’t know about pimping and selling coke for retail, but I do know by the year 2020 our children by the millions gonna be jailed”

      Why they gonna be jailed? What will they be doing that will have them imprisoned at such an astonishing, mind blowing rate? (aside from having Black skin)

      What they gonna be doing? most likely some stupid ass “Get Rich or Die Trying” bullshit, cause they don’t know nuthing else, wasn’t taught nuthing else, didn’t try an learn anything else..

      They damn sure aren’t going to be singing “Close the Crack House”

      One of the worst crimes you could commit during slavery as a black or white, was to teach a slave how to read, not write, but read, and you wonder why all this foolishness is going on, but don’t wonder why there are no books in your favorite rappers multi-million dollar house he just invited you and the camera crew into…I can hear him now “What I need books for nigga, check out this brass pole I just installed, and check out my T.I.arsenal I just got, got the the same shit exactly as T.I.P.son!!!

      There damn sure wasn’t no “good” books in some of our shitty ass school systems.(they plan it that way)

      Hell they ain’t even no “good” books in prison anymore (they plan it that way)…ya’ll remember Malcolm Little?

      weed carrier, a little B & E (breaking and entering) could find some ass for you, numbers running etc….

      Now take this brother, lock his ass up for several years and insert into the prison a above average library and presto, change-o look what we have here come parole time…

      Malcolm X. oh yeah thats real…the brotha read so much after “lights out” he needed glasses…literacy, he became extremely literate, and in the process became unstoppable…until he had to be stopped, cause its one thing to have one El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, but quite another to have 30 million running around the country….thats what I would call “big things popping!”

      …so if y’all want some “songs” about positivity and consciousness, start by creating more positive and conscious children/adults/rappers etc, literacy is the key…

      And keep an eye “On these new Pied Pipers that gotta a hold on you” Prison Industrial Complex/Entertainment Industrial Complex/Military Industrial Complex….


  • Around and Around

    That’s why I’m asking can we get a song about the Jena 6? Mychal Bell is back in jail for having priors and the other 5 are free on bond but still have to go to court, its still a relevant topic.
    Nice post, shit I guess John Mellencamp already gots some shit out about Jena

  • Incilin

    If you as a blogger have a more creative approach to making a song than most of the rappers out there, what does that say about hip hop music?

  • Colron

    Put that money where that mouth is. I could get three producers to do 3 beats together if you can get three big name rappers to use em. use your blogger power to start taking names. ur it department should be able to get you my email.


    I completely agree..i aint sayin to get rid of all da music dats out now about da hood n money, but it shudnt be all that is talked about. hip hop needs to talk bout real life shit. somethin that will teach the listeners.

  • DANJA29

    Yep… people don’t think “positive” shit could have an impact, but I don’t care what year it is- the sight of seeing a lot of your favorite rappers on one track/video together will make the kids pay attention to that sh*t no matter what the song’s about.

    I remember seeing the “Same Gang” video and being enthralled at all those people on one track… then getting the message later on some “yeah, that gang stuff is messed up”, lol.

    I’m sure some 12-year-old right now would be willing to devote 5 minutes to hear a buncha popular present-day names on the same song, no matter what the topic… that shit could be talkin’ about fruits and vegetables and lil’ niggas’ll rock with it just on the strength of the people on it.

  • N.O. 4 life

    All we gotta do is tell khaled or drama..get t-pain to have a good pro african american hook…and tell rappers to rap on subject…instant classic


      You got a point. That just might work.

  • deandrethegreat

    yeah lets stop the black on black violence
    and encourage people of all races to shoot at the police.because those are the ones thats takin us away from our families…
    and then they brainwashus to think the problem
    is among ourselves…..

  • deandrethegreat

    yeah lets stop the black on black violence
    and encourage people of all races to shoot at the police.because those are the ones thats takin us away from our families…
    and then they brainwashus to think the problem
    is among ourselves…..

  • deandrethegreat

    yeah lets stop the black on black violence
    and encourage people of all races to shoot at the police.because those are the ones thats takin us away from our families…
    and then they brainwashus to think the problem
    is among ourselves…..

  • kevin

    how they do that and they rep wit different flags them self

  • nigger please

    lol@ niggers trying to stand up!

  • nigger please

    lol@ niggers trying to stand up!

  • AZ40

    Well it seems like a good idea in theory, but I don’t think I wanna hear a song w/ a gang of cats talk bout stocks, bonds, and 401Ks. I just think the whole thing seems hypocritical…I mean you couldn’t have someone like 50 cent on this one record like “Self Destruction”, and then on his next record have him talking about unloading a clip in some random made up nigga. But I would love to see the positive hip hop artist not just the one’s who will garner attention. (i.e. Immortal Technique, Black Thought, Mos, etc.)

  • Ali

    Black Ice > Bol & Billy Sunday

    by a mile…….good stuff

  • R.E.

    Touche, my friend. Touche.

  • Fresh

    I hear you botha. I would love to see that too. The problem is that back when rappers were making records like that, records like George by MC Lyte and Tell me what I supposed to do by BDP were getting radio play. I would love to see 50 do a record with a positive spin. Jay released Kingdom Come and that was only a 90 degree difference from what’s on the radio and people looked at him like he was an alien, I can’t imagine what would happen if a select few took a 180. These kids think that it’s cool to be a gangster. Courtesy of Jeezy, Wayne, and 50 and I’m not taking anything away from these guys, but if they’re all so gifted all so talented and different why not put a different spin on stuff. I just get so mad, because Jeezy is saying to the kids I had a lambo before rap, great but that’s haineous that’s fucking genocide, if he sold crack to get so rich that it wasn’t just to survive but to live luxuriously, send some kids to college then you could really stunt in the hood, instead of ” Nigga check out this 100,000 dollar car” how about ” Nigga, I hooked Tyrone up, now he can be an engineer”
    I wish the kids would do the math on Wayne, I understand he shot himself when was twelve, his stepdad was a hustler he did a little hustling himself, but damn by the time he was 13 he was touring the world with CMR. Do the math he had the time to push all that weight. That shit is fiction, which is fine, I love books just present it as such, or put a spin on it. Come on dude. Really, “keep it real”.

    As for Fifty, do young black men, need to see another young black man filled with so much hate and anger who says everything that pops into his head. In my hood (Bedstuy) that’s not safe and Im not saying be a sucker I’m just saying be smart. Truth be told he lives in a palace literally, and he can’t be in it alone, security all over the fucking place because he has nothing but enemies. Even his friends are probably such because they fear him.

    Prodigy from Mobb Deep is about to do a serious stint in prison and T.I. is looking at federal time and little Wayne is not going to walk away from those gun charges with nothing.

    Everyone says, the “Hip Hop Police” ” The Hip Hop Police” and maybe there is a special task force, but old folks and possibly the Bible say ” You reep what you sew”.

  • gerald n. the birdman

    Come on dog! All these cats have been pushing their whole careers is fiscal irresponsibility, woman degredation, hate and violence. What are they supposed to do now, write lyrics about the benefits of buying a resonably priced vehicle with good gas milege? These cats can’t even say “fuck the police” with conviction with all the damage their own music has done to the minds of young people.

  • http://daphne3055 durdy burd

    yall,aint shit but a bunch of day dreamin pussy ass mutha fuckaz!!!first off lets be real with each damn body is gone go with yall bull shit ass campain!

  • dolo

    That would be good . .maybe they can make it into a ringtone .. Spit over james weldon johnsons anthem .. But these cats have ‘street cred’ to maintain so I wonder how much of these cats are willing to put that shyt up for d sake of helping the ‘street’


    Dope idea. XXL got a lot of cats in the same shot a few years ago in Harlem; why can’t cats get together on at least one topic every month or so? Like, an ongoing, anti-Fox News audio network of reporting. Distribute them as mixtapes. Own the new media.

    Damn. I like that idea. XXL should set it up.

  • joey doe


  • Sinistah aka Sour-Kush Diesel-Piff Sr.

    some real talk goin on, i really think alot of these “top-tier” artists are so stuck on themselves, they feel a monetary donation is good enough, but as you stated, action speaks louder than words, i’m not gonna shun donations, but i feel like there should also be a visual contribution to the efforts as well…..

    so props to dudes like Mos Def, Immortal Technique and others mentioned in the article for doing what they do for the benefit of others in less fortunate situations…..

    i advocate this new Self-Reconstruction movement, as i felt the same way back when “Self-Destruction” and “All In The Same Gang” was introduced as causes for unity back when i was still being inspired to do what i do musically…..

    and no Joey, things beyond those boarders are not too complex, it’s just that alot of things outside of those boarders ain’t really set-up to be beneficial for alot of peoples immediate scenario’s, so they do what they do to circumnavigate immediate obstacles instead of pursuing longterm goals that could lead to immediate obstacles being prolonged to the point of being logically unresolved.

    So sports, drugs, and entertainment are nothing more than utilizing talents for the same means as one would use an engineering degree to get his way into working at IBM or Microsoft, which is to get $$$$$ and provide for a cause, be it for self or as a benefactor to others…

  • Crocker

    Chuuurch! I love it, now let’s see that wonderful idea actually come to fruition.

  • fesh

    there is a song about genarlow wilson. it’s by Murs and DangerMouse and it’s called “Message to a Black Boy”

  • jc

    dats tru man more ppl shuld start changing like wen TUPAC made changes the whole hi hop game shuld’ve changed but rappers these days r too stuck in the diamonds and rims they 4get they homies in the hood, their homies dont wanna dat ‘im so hood’ shit dey wanna hear real hip like run dmc, krs-one, public enemy, ll cool j, not fucking 50 cent talkin bout i get money

  • Pingback: | Hip-Hop On A Higher Level | » Invite To Fight

  • Critical eye

    Hey Maurice:

    I thought your column was deep, and very truthful, though I have to disagree with you when you wrote, “We never saw or heard that Katrina record, what happened to that one?”.

    There have been SEVERAL joints, of which I can recall a few:
    1)The song by Jay-Z about Katrina; I can’t recall the name, but I’ve written off Jay-Z as he doesn’t give a damn about the Black people he killed when he was a former drug dealer; peep an interview on Davey D’s website and see for yourself where he does not apologize for it;
    2)”Katrina Clap”, by Mos Def;
    3)”Hell No, We Ain’t Allright” by Public Enemy.

    Also, I recall years ago seeing a website about, and hearing about a “Self-Destruction 2″ joint that was supposed to have been recorded by now. I don’t know if the site is still up, but I recall seeing the names of all the rappers from the original, plus some newer names like Blackalicious.

    We sorely need a new one right now as well as a new, “We’re All In the Same Gang”. I still bump those 2 jams to this very day. To me, those 2 jams are what I call the, “What’s Goin’ On” of Hip Hop. Peace!

  • Critical Eye

    AZ40, I feel you, and at the same time, you can’t have talk show hosts who say in interviews that they only listen to 50 in their ipods, and then this same person tries to have a summit to discuss the problems in Hip Hop, with a very limited selection of panelists. That would be like an internist at a hospital trying to hold a conference on neurosurgery – while the internist may be in the medical profession, He/She WOULD NOT KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT IT to discuss it properly.

    I doubt that alot of the, “Hot, New” cats even have the capability to rhyme about stuff that ain’t about bling, pushin’ bricks, b#$@!es, h____, and all that other materialistic b.s., and I doubt that they even give a damn. A present-day “Self Destruction” or “We’re All in The Same Gang” would need the pioneers, as well as some UNDERGROUND cats that are really bringing that verbal nourishment. If I was producing a joint like that, here’s some of my lineup:

    Afrika Bambatta, Cool Herc & Cindy, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Flash, Bro. J w/X-Clan, KRS-ONE, Chuck D, Prof. Griff, and Public Enemy, Fine Arts Militia, Konfrontation Kamp, Gift of Gab w/Blackalicious, Channel Live, KMD, Jean Grae, Queen Yonasda, Monie Love, Paris(NOT Paris Hilton), The Conscious Daughters, Nic Nac, Salt N’ Pepa, The She Squad, Crew Grrl Order, Immortal Technique, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Lupe Fiasco, Rhymefest, ATCQ, KAM, Poor Righteous Teachers (that joint with KRS was TIGHT!!!!), Young MC (don’t laugh – y’all know y’all was diggin’ him in ‘Same Gang’ and ‘Bust A Move’ back in tha day), De La Soul, Tha Pharcyde and many, many others.