Once rap music starts to return to its roots of working class(read: poor people) music I think the artform will have its renaissance. It figures that this type of rebirth would come from the country’s two most hardbody cities. Detroit and Philadelphia.
Both of these cities were large production centers right after the second world war. Philadelphia was a shipping hub and a manufacturing center while Detroit was, well you should already know, Detroit. That city was synonymous with American motor vehicle production and all the things that go with that.
People were all about their cars after the second world war. The automobile offered people the great escape. It took folks from the city to the suburbs and those folks that still lived in the city got to listen to their music from their cars. This was the supreme American luxury. The automobile is still that supreme luxury now with gas prices going back through the ceiling.
When Hip-Hop first hit the scene in the 1970′s hard times had befallen the American manufacturing industry. Gas prices were on the rise and the great American cities were being neglected by the government. Detroit was taking a beating to Japan’s auto industry. Philadelphia (Camden) fell off as a delivery port to other cities like Baltimore and ports in Northern New Jersey. America’s economy was on shaky ground.
Hip-Hop dreamed of a place away from poverty where the party went all night long. Hip-Hop found that place finally in the 1990′s. Artists ran around in silk shirts and shiny suits. The money was flowing. Nevermind it was just make believe cash being flashed on the screen. Someone would have to eventually pay the credit card bill for the Bentley’s and the Versace. That is what happened in the 2000′s. The conspicuous consumption chicken(heads) came home to roost.
With levels of joblessness as high or higher in some areas than they were in the 1970′s and America’s economy slipping under water faster than the Titanic maybe it is time for the rebirth of art and expression that is by the masses representing the masses? Or maybe not. Soulja Boy is still getting his swag on ridiculous. Rick Ro$$ is paying several thousands of dollars for a single pair of sunglasses. These artists are the popular voices. Maybe the masses would rather to keep rockin’ out to their fiscal denial?
I like the fact that Eminem still reps for the masses. Even if his move to bring unemployed auto workers on the Jimmy Kimmel show was a publicity stunt at least it recognizes the voices of the working class that make this country what it is. Sooner or later the check will have to be paid. What’s in your wallet?