GRANDGOOD friend K.B. rightfully critiques the current theme of so-called conscious rap. Link

Here’s the content:

Freedom Summer: A HipHop for Justice Concert featuring politically conscience [sic!] hiphop, information such as: how to file a police complaint, Know Your Rights and Cop Watch trainings and spoken word and visual art from from the Young Scholars for Justice Network. All ages are invited.

WHEN: Friday, July 11, 2008, doors open at 7pm. Open mic, youth poetry and spoken word from 7-9pm. Speak outs, networking and deejay music will follow with HipHop acts/Know Your Rights trainings from 10pm-2am

WHY: To entertain, educate and organize members of the community around issues concerning police misconduct, racial profiling and the impact of the war on drugs and the war on youth (via programs masquerading as anti-gang/anti-graffiti efforts).

Here’s the breakdown:

Despite the problem that “politically conscience” is a phrase containing an adverb that precedes a noun, we at the D&HHP don’t get stuck on grammar.

I just couldn’t help exposing the irony that as “conscious” hip-hop parades itself as self-evidently intelligent, its protagonists sometimes reveal it to be just what it is: ignorant as hell.

This hip-hop show, like thousands of others like it, are gonna “teach” us how to file a police complaint. Well folks, if that’s all “conscious” hip-hop has to offer us, we need to tell it, “Peace.”

Now, I certainly realize that my insignificant rant is not gonna make this elitist cultural hangover disappear; that I will “educate” people on how to file a complaint to the hip-hop 5-0 (who would that be, the Temple of Hip-hop or the Zulu Nation?) about the wackness of this synthetic, bourgie phenomenon called “conscious” hip-hop and the same handful of rappers who get boxed into to this unfortunate category, and that it will somehow dissipate.

Let me tell you what hip-hop heads back in the day did (who mainly get remembered for everything BUT what they actually DID) for themselves without some external vacuum music culture pushing them to do so: when the police beat Rodney King nearly to death and were given a free pass by the State to keep it up, the people of L.A. burned and destroyed the centers of wealth, power, and exploitation ($1,000,000,000 worth. Yes, billion.) and all the cops could do was stand on the sidelines. Why? Because their complaints got them jack shit except more violence. Because a white supremacist institution’s only function is to sustain and perpetuate the permanency of those who rule us.

When the next outburst of American anger and determination comes, it’s going to unleash such a creative force that it will make Ice Cube and Public Enemy look like child’s play (let alone Talib Kweli and his “revolutionary entrepreneurialism”). The next surge of violent creative potential will be from all those hip-hop heads that the “conscious” crowd dismiss in their veiled middle class racism. It will be those cats Black, Brown, and White, with gold fronts, gold chains, saggy pants, and cocked hats who throw off the old society and give us something worth living for. Why? Because they know there is no alternative WITHIN the present arrangement. They know that those who rule are unfit to do so and no amount of diversification of the rich and powerful can prove otherwise.

They know “rights” don’t mean a god damn thing.

There are certain rights that we have on paper that we don’t actually have. But there are certain rights we don’t have on paper that we DO have. The right to rebel. That’s what the fuck hip-hop is about.

In the 1960s it was cultural nationalists that sold out the black movement because they found their freedom in political patronage, in dashikis, and in middle class values, all the while workers in factories and lumpen in the streets were getting the shit beat out of them by cops, by union bosses, and by politicians.

Now the cultural nationalists are these phony backpackers telling us that real hip-hop means being peaceful and being philanthropists and supporting Obama. Well hip-hop has never been about that.

I used to say it. I used to say the exact opposite. I was the DJ at the backpacker hip-hop shows, handing out “know your rights” cards to the audience thinking that was the most militant shit ever. But that’s not how movements happen.

A great MC who gets chained to the “conscious” label once said something profound. “Things change when people get a sense of their value.” Most definitely.

So keep wearing out Common Sense’s Resurrection, keep thinking People Under the Stairs are the dopest hip-hop in 15 years. The rest of us, and the most of us who make up this hip-hop generation will pass you by like the Pharcyde.