We Are The World 2010: Good Cause Bad Idea?

“You know what y’all need to do? Get together; make a ‘We Are the World’ record!” —50 Cent, “Be A Gentleman,” circa 2000
I’ve never looked at 50 Cent as the prophetic type, but damned if he didn’t call it. The recent tragedy in Haiti has prompted many music industry luminaries to band together and remake 1985’s USA For Africa benefit song, “We Are The World.”

The original recording, which was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, featured a range of stars like Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper, to name a few. But there was no Run-DMC, Melle Mel, LL Cool J or any other popular rapper from that time. Granted hip-hop, as a commercially viable genre, was still in it’s infancy back then, but this new 2010 version has shown how far we’ve come.

Now with hip-hop lending it’s voice to such a powerful cause, does that in turn mean that rap is no longer rebel music? Or is it that with the importance of this humanitarian effort that everyone must come together? I’d like to think it’s the latter, but I’d be lying if I said that somewhere deep down I wasn’t concerned with rap becoming more and more safe (and more and more wack).

Don’t get me wrong; on one hand I’m proud to see Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Eminem in the same room with Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones. That’s a testament to what we’ve been saying for years, hip-hop is REAL music. Hell, I even heard a rumor that Nipsey Hussle is part of the track (Wow)!

It’s not the actual “We Are the World” recording that concerns me, though, it’s the aftermath. Hip-hop has always had a responsibility to be the voice of the inner-city communities even when it wasn’t politically correct. In 1988, the rest of America wasn’t quite ready to hear N.W.A’s “Fuck tha Police,” but it was a necessary message. Shit, I don’t even remember the last time we got a “Fuck tha Police” type record from a rapper (outside of the outspoken Immortal Technique and the occasional dead prez track). Surely police brutality is still a major issue; ask the Oakland community which still has to struggle with the reality of Oscar Grant’s murder just 13 months ago.

But it’s not just about yelling, “fuck the police,” or being on our Public Enemy shit, because if we’re being honest the majority of today’s rappers aren’t going to deliver that content anyway. Maybe this is just me not wanting to let hip-hop grow, and still wanting it to be our little thing, even though the truth is rap went pop years ago.

In the end, this 2010 recording of “We Are the World” is a good thing, it will help the people who actually need it the most right now and I’m proud that my favorite rap artists are a part of it. Still, I just wish someone would’ve invited 50 Cent, since it was his idea anyway. Well, kinda sorta. —Rob Markman, The Deputy!

  • Deadly MIME

    YEP YEP YEP FIRST ONE BITCHES!!! Anyways, the whole thing with helping Haiti is a good thing but I just hate the fact that we only do charitable things after diaster strikes. Far as rappers on the song “We Are The World” let me think about that………………nah!

    • cmoney85

      All i want to say about Haiti, is its funny how Gerage. W. Bush got it right this time. Man he hadnt slept on the situation, unlike Katrina And if another person talks about how many orphans they have, There are orphans here they we could take care of…Sad shit but we need to get onto the rebuilding

  • Deadly MIME

    FIRST ONE BITCHES!!!! Anywho i think rapper shouldnt have been on the song. Damn it Michael, why you had to die? Fuckin LL Fool J, Kanye West aka Gayfish, Will Ain’t I?, Lil Wayne aka Lil Lame

  • Phillmatic

    Will.I.Am looks gay as fuck in that picture. Wyclef looks like someone just revealed his Yele scam. Scanning the room for exits.

    Besides, rappers or no rappers, these charity songs really chafe my balls. All of these Hollywood clowns will act as if they give a shit for a while and then they’ll go home to their mansions and do their best impressions of Dave Chappelle’s Cribs skit.

    “Come on in, ya broke muthafuckas.”

    • AZ40

      that’s what one less know actor was saying in an interview, he called these celebs out sayin’ don’t just help now make it an annual thing, places like haiti been messed up for years, but hopefully this will help them rebuild better and stronger as a nation.

      It’s hard for me to see rappers rapping ’bout positivity when most of the rappers on here will go back to the negative destructive ways once they go to record their own stuff.

    • tensensi

      Folks crack me up believing this “Yele is a scam” shit. What’s the evidence for the scam? Fucking Federal tax returns? Feds don’t need to know shit.

      It’s called laundering – folks without money wouldn’t understand that, though.

      • http://www.bboycult.com $ykotic/Don McCaine

        at least Clef is there getting his hands dirty…

  • Jon Dog

    What a joke.

  • jtm

    damn lil wayne is one ugly dude and why does snoop have to be taller than everyone.

  • King Joffy Joe

    Why is Will.I.Am touching his titty?

    • DV8

      “Why is Will.I.Am touching his titty?”

      Cam is that you? shouldnt you have put a “No Homo” at the end of that.

  • Worley

    Wack. Rappers should have been bringing light to the Haiti situation before the tragedy and calling out all the mofos that aren’t down for the cause. Stetsasonic made their own song about Africa back in the days which was basically a statement that rap n*ggas cared and we didn’t need the mainstream to say so.

    But these days, rappers are too busy chasing a buck. They have become just like the establishment against which they once rebelled. This new “We Are The World” will be a site of good conscience flag waving and not much else.

    • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

      I used to jam to that Stetsasonic song all day! I think it was called “Free South Africa” or “A.F.R.I.C.A.”

      That was pure Hip-Hop music.

  • http://xxlmag.com $hawty Reg

    This is going to be almost as bad as the “One Blood” remix with Game!! WATCH

  • http://www.yahoo.com Drastik Alkoholik

    Man fuck ths shit no diss 2 em hatians bt niggaz dyin daily in there thousands here in africa, i dnt c akon or any of em dark niggaz make a trak bout us. but wil.i.am b gay as fuck n wizy be an ugly fuck hw the fuck he impregnant lauren london. feel sori 4 the kid tho coz he gn be lyk a gremlin.

  • El Tico Loco

    Just like the first WATW I’m gonna get tired of hearing it, got the Ipod on deck this time tho.

  • beaver

    yea i wish sum1 did invite 50 2 be part of it..
    y not..?

    but i think we are are the world remake is a good idea..

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    I’m a little conflicted about remaking “We Are The World” regardless of who’s in it. That’s a pretty classic song right there. Why not use the concept of “We Are The World” and call it something else?

    Hip-Hop produced “Self Destruction” and “We’re All In The Same Gang” before the deaths of certain superstar rappers in the 90′s and 2000′s, not after. Just an observation.

    “Now with hip-hop lending it’s voice to such a powerful cause, does that in turn mean that rap is no longer rebel music?” – Rob Markman

    Nah, there’s still rebel music out there, it’s just not as popular as what’s on the radio and video channels. You gotta look for it. Mike Bigga still here, so is Dead Prez.

    • Rob Markman

      You’re right. Si shouted out the Immortal Technique and Dead Prez for their progressive music, but forgot to mention Killer Mike aka Mike Bigga!
      He has been putting it down for the community for a long time.

      • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

        Yup, both on and off camera. I got mad respect for Mike, what he does and how he thinks. I wish the brother was from Detroit! LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxprofit Max Profit

    A “We Are The World Record” is never gonna take away rap music’s rebel tradition.

    I just wish they would do something that was more Hip Hop like a battle of the beats or a rap battle. They should do something only Hip Hop heads can do.

  • Detroit P

    Shit, I don’t even remember the last time we got a “Fuck tha Police” type record from a rapper
    ^^^
    Plies “100 years”

  • Curtis75Black

    You can’t remake “We are the World” !! That song with those artists back in the day was crazy because you had all genres reppin’and it sounded good. I agree with Jamal,it should be named something else. We had plenty of inspirational joints from the Hip Hop. As Jamal stated, “Self Destruction & We all in the same game but also Heal Yourself, Sun City, The Martin Luther King joint, also the Hip Hop version of the 9/11 tribute. It is what it is though. It’s not gonna make Hip Hop look soft because the rebel been left the stage. Not saying there aren’t emcees repping but it’s not in the forefront pushed by the fans like it used to be. We didn’t wait for it to be put out there by the Corportation, it was automatic. Fans are now commenting on the places of rappers in Forbes Magazines.

  • G

    Will-I-Am throwin up that mason shit

  • http://www.bboycult.com $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Nauseating…all promotion…even Lionel has an album coming out soon…

  • the truth

    see, the thing is, the original we are the world a) was a terrible, cheesy as fuck song, b) was supposed to have all the biggest artists of the day. Weezy, Snoop, and Kanye qualify, will.i.fag can stay cuz somehow BEP has fooled everyone into liking their music, and we can throw in Wyclef b/c the cause is close to home for him, but where are jay and em at? and really, who the fuck wants to hear “we are the world” remade with rappers only? if they really wanted to remake it in the true spirit of the original song, they’d have fuckin norah jones, beyonce, taylor swift, JT, gaga, tim mcgraw and shit like that. and it would be terrible. just like the original.

  • No Name

    No dis whatsoever to the culture and where’s it been and gone but there’re some things that hip-hop has no business in, and this is one of them. I appreciate the reach out from Lionel and Quincy but….nah. Rappers who can sing excluded (and no, Cudi ain’t all that on the singing tip).

    If rappers wanna make a charity song, they oughta do it by themselves.

  • http://www.514smoke.biz 514 SMOKE

    One word: GARBAGE. Two Words: PUBLICITY STUNT. No “We Are The World” for the tsunami? No “We Are The World” for the war in Middle East”? You get the point. As a HAITIAN I’m keeping it real. My folks in Haiti don’t give a fuck about a “We Are The World”!!! Real Talk.

  • basefunk

    Rappers are looking soft, doing this we are the world thing. like some of you good guys have said, they should make this an annual thing, not only doing it when disaster strikes……..a million people on one song, i wonder who is gonna do MJs part,

    this must be a lame promotional stunt, some of those punks have albums coming out while some are promoting albums that Tanked!!!

  • mason gilly

    I love how everybody talks so much crap about a song that hasn’t even come out yet. What good does that do? Regardless, these people are making a song that will profit the cause–not their own pockets so what is it to you? How much have you donated?

  • caino

    like l said before in previous posts of the Hatit earthquake, all these celebs jumping on the help bandwagon leaves a salty taste in my mouth (nullus).
    Its just seems self promotion, they dont really give a shit (except Wyclef). Where were these celebs when Haiti needed them b4?? or the peeps in Zimbabwe, and other African countires? shit even Middle East needs help as does asian , what about out own communities in the USA and UK??

    its like when Bono tells us to feed the world (while he is flying about in his private jets etc!! ) Dont make me feel guilty to give money. We should be shaming our Governments to doing more!

  • http://webs.geoffbrennan.com Gebra

    To answer yr questions about rappers not putting out a “Fk tha police”-type track, look toward David Banner, “So Long” and the killer “B.A.N.” – I’m a white dude from Brampton, Ontario – you’re XXL – Why TF did you not know that? David Banner’s isn’t underground whatsoever on some Immortal Teq trip or anything – B.A.N. is excruciating – it’s the “Precious” of last year’s hiphop!

    Gebra

    PS – Anybody who’s been to Brampton knows its the gutter of Toronto – I moved from Shoppers World Albion in Rexdale to right beside Shoppers World in Brampton – from gutter 1 to gutter 2!

  • G

    They might as well put let T-pain sing the chorus

  • Anonymous

    that was the best thing they ever did not that they never done nun but that song was special and i appreciate that they did it