Opinion

Why hip-hop isn’t feeling the love

True or false: If Woodstock were to occur today, would parents want their children there? Was John Lennon the kind of role model, and were The Beatles the sort of people, that were held up as modern day Wagners or Buddhas? Perhaps they were not; yet today the argument seems to be that the perceived deterioration in the general culture can both be linked to and seen in today’s hip-hop.

Witness the oft-quoted statement from Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, delivered during the recent House hearings on hip-hop (as reported in The New York Times): “Violence and degradation have ‘reduced too many of our youngsters to automatons, those who don’t recognize life, those who don’t value life.’ ” Evidently, the greatest threat this nation faces today is that posed by.impropriety.

Impropriety, furthermore, that is no longer counterbalanced by “art.” Though at the time a good number of people were somewhat horrified by the new, more chemically-infused rock and roll of the 1960s and 1970s, it gained its defenders because from time to time it reached the realm of art and because of the “radicalism” contained within those now venerated songs. And as time moved on, the groups of that era garnered ever-more-fawning praise as the initial furor surrounding them died away. What of the music before that era, one may ask? Well, that’s ancient history now.

Nobody harbors misgivings about their sons or daughters listening to Jimi Hendrix, who, lest it be forgotten, became famous for drug abuse and produced some songs that-whatever their stated meaning-could certainly reference recreational sex and/or drug use. In the same vein, idolizing the Rolling Stones is perfectly acceptable to those who grew up in the era of their greatest fame; the content of their lyrics is evidently of no concern.

Yet hip-hoppers and rappers who espouse similar values are.threats? They are perverting the minds of our youngsters with awful ideas of sex, drugs and even violence? Does anyone see a problem here? Groups from the past can talk of debauchery or revolution and suffer no criticism. However, rappers who communicate similar ideas through their lyrics are dubbed obscene. It seems as if the only logic for this unequal treatment lies in the more vulgar lyrics of hip-hop; because its presentation is obscene, its content is assumed to be as well.

The great irony here is that the presentation of rock and roll in the 1960s and afterward was no cleaner than that of hip-hop today. Who could forget, for example, the infamous instrument-breaking episodes of Hendrix? Nothing whatsoever about the rock of those days was in any way cleaner than hip-hop of today, which is blamed for social ills by those unwilling to remember that the music of their generation preached the same values, and that they followed them to the very same degree hip-hop listeners do today.

Andrew Hamner is a freshman majoring in journalism and can be contacted at a.hamner@umiami.edu.

October 29, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Jesus Luzardo had yet to throw a single pitch as a professional baseball player in 2016 when he unde ...

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Mark Richt has led the Miami Hurricanes back into the national college football conversation during ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and his vaunted 2018 signing class, nicknamed #Storm18, should ...

Part four of a five-part series on UM’s defense with the start of fall camp a month away: Cornerback ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

Political polarization, distrust in fact-based knowledge and verbal targeting may be fueling the ons ...

University of Miami head volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara announced the additions of K ...

Three-time CSCAA Honorable Mention All-American diver Wally Layland and two-time ITA All-American te ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Thursday the signing of two more ...

University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt was among the 20 coaches selected to the preseaso ...

Miami opens the Wooden Legacy against La Salle on Thanksgiving Day in Fullerton, Calif. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.