Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
8/17/2003 10:20:38 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include 50 Cent, Eminem and Dr. Dre.
Recently we ran an article titled 'Hip Hop Holy Trinity'. This article was posted by us and many other sites. It has caused a stir among some. The following article is really a response to the article. It is only fair that we post this article; after all there are always two sides to each story....
The 17th verse in the second chapter of Corinthians reminds the reader that one should not “peddle the word of God for profit.” Not only does this apply to the super preachers who can pack stadiums quicker than the L.A. Lakers during play off season, but could also apply to secular artists who use theological references to either shock, subdue or perplex their listeners. A recent essay by writer Lynne d Johnson for Pop Matters.Com, a trendy ezine that reports on U.S. cultural issues, attempted to draw religious parallels between three Hip Hop icons and the word of God.
In “Hip Hop’s Holy Trinity,” Johnson’s August 8 article cleverly crowns Andre Young, Marshall Mathers and Curtis Jackson, (nee’ Dr. Dre, Eminem and 50 Cent), as hip hop’s “Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.” Using biblical scripture and drawing false parallel to jazz legend John Coletrane’s album of the same name, the writer says: “If we so believe in the scriptures, then the Holy Ghost or spirit of God is to inspire the new prophets as he inspired the prophets of the old law. …In following this train of thought, envision 50 Cent as hip hop’s holy ghost, both inspiring his mentor and provoking rappers, both old and new school, to step up to the game.”
What game? When did 50 Cent or any other rap artist become a prophet of God? Could she really be saying that aspiring rappers who seek similar commercial success, must now create new ways denigrate Black culture and struggle; promote consumerism over community; confuse real power with status; and ultimately challenge the authority of God?
“Whether you believe in the inkling of holiness emanating from 50 Cent or not,” Ms. Johnson writes, “God is no stranger to him.” I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that it is Ms. Johnson, and not the artists, who make this biblical comparison. Thus my observation is more directed at this new cultural marketing madness designed to disguise vulgarity and self-hatred as some sort of God-inspired religious message for today’s rap music consumers. Obviously, self-destruction and depravation as gone as far as it can. Today, Madison Avenue must press old dung into new CDs and convince us it has meaning. Those of us who attempt to operate in the framework of righteous living should reject this madness. And conscious thinkers inside Hip Hop must at least be willing to speak against such foolishness, while examining the larger issues.
The overall predominant pseudo-religious theme in today’s rap music is Christianity. It seems to have replaced popular Islamic doctrine in the late ‘80s and early 1990s. Lyricists such as DMX, Dead Prez, Leaders of a New School, Brand Nubian, Nas, Common and the Black Eyed Peas, among many others, have all effectively used religious symbolism in their music. Though the video left must to be desired, even Snoop Dogg’s “Murder Was the Case,” made the universal plea for deliverance as he pondered his fate while on trial.
Trite lyrics and elementary rhyme style aside, Jackson’s recent meteoric sales unquestionably were driven less by divine intervention than by the two influential men who help propel his career to a broader audience. It can be equally argued that the over the top party cut, “Up in the Club” helped boost sales of the forthcoming CD with strategic brilliance. Prior to “Get Rich’s” release, the song seemingly rotated more than 30 times a day on Chicago urban contemporary radio for weeks on end. The accompanying “Bionic Man” themed video and other clever music marketing initiatives helped seal the album’s place in music history. In another time, the album could have very well been considered hot garbage.
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