I had a great conversation the other day with some new friends about metaphor, themes, and imagery in Hip Hop.
We spent time dissecting lyrics from some of the greats. Biggie, LL cool Jay, and Jay z. And although this wasn’t so much of a philosophical reflection on the virtues of their content , I couldn’t help but be a little cautious on how strongly I critiqued their work.
We spent most of the time digging into 4 elements of hip hop, that tie to the African Diaspora, including, truth-telling, story telling, myth making, and poetry.
However, at times, we took a detour to consider the social responsibility artist have in their music. And it made me think…about mirrors. And the role of the artist.
Like what, or who do you see when you hear
Now maybe you’re boppin’ your head, shaking it in disgust, or…doing a bit of both?
But don’t you think, that our reaction, whatever it may be, is tied to how we see ourselves? Isn’t the louder one objects simply an indictment on how high we imagine ourselves to be perched on our self righteous horse?
Can this just be a way to suggest that my life is worthy to be modeled? Isn’t this distraction tactic just a slight of hand, concealing the monster that is us?
I’m not saying there aren’t differences among social messages. Nor am I saying that the Nicky Minaj 2012 grammy performance was something I want my 2 year old niece to watch. It just seems that half the moral arguments I notice being tweeted and facebooked seem to conveniently cloud what I see as a central truth.
We ALL have issues. Secrets. Addictions.
We are both vice and virtue.
The thing is most of hide it fairly well, instead of parading, as some artist do, through the speakers, and television screens across the world.
It is this honesty, if presented as truth-telling, as opposed to the glorification of depravity, that can speak to those who are willing to see themselves inside this mirror.
But maybe I’m missing something. What say you?