Was It Something I Said?
Hip hop artist are notoriously known for not being afraid to push buttons, knock down boundaries, and piss off anyone they feel necessary. The environment that the majority of the artists were raised in connects to their actions and reactions. The artists in this industry historically come from neighborhoods where gang violence and police brutality are part of the environment. Many rappers are in, were in, or have a relation with a gang. Hip hop reflects the environments surrounding them. In A RollingStone interview Ice Cube said about Compton “You don’t know whats going to happen from day to day, it can go from cool, quiet, and fun to somebody’s shot, arrested, murdered for no reason.” So it makes sense that rappers actions are not always a fantasy version of who they want their life to be, but a reflection of their own life.
But when does an explanation become an excuse? Can we excuse the references to rape, violence, drug abuse, sexual harassment, homophobia, and any other sensitive subjects for the sake of the culture? There has to be a line somewhere but then the question of where should the line be comes into play. Who should be excused and who should be punished for similar actions?It is an impossible line to draw.
This is important to understand moving forward. Hip Hop is attached to a culture I am an outsider of. I appreciate all hip hop is and educate myself on the culture but even then I will not fully understand the history and racism attached to it. But being a female, I am threatened by the misrepresentation of women in hip hop. So my journey through balancing a part of myself with a culture I respect and do not feel worthy of critiquing has to begin. Without exploring this topic I will be stuck in a strange place where deciding if knowing all the lyrics to incredibly written and produced tracks is actually worth it. I need to figure out how to be proud of my womanhood but also still be able to enjoy music and culture I am fond of.