The question: “Who is the face of hip-hop today? Whoever says ‘Jay-Z’ is an idiot,” Prof Griff of the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy bluntly responded during a recent forum in Muskegon Heights. Griff was addressing more than 150 people who attended the event, which was held Saturday at the Muskegon Heights Boxing Club. The program, sponsored by local radio station 103.7 The Beat, is one of a series of culturally related workshops that the station is hosting this year. “The face of hip-hop today is white — white, corporate America,” added Griff.

Griff’s lecture was titled “Black Music: The Psycho Analytical Destruction of a Stolen Legacy,” and anyone thinking they could cruise through this class was quickly put on notice by “The Professor.” “You’re not going to agree with everything I’m going to say, I’m just going to tell you that from the beginning,” said Griff. “Those people who are going to get angry and red-faced with me, that’s fine too, because I have to move you out of your comfort zone. “If you listen to the local radio station and you’re digging what’s going on the station and you’re going down to the club and partying into that same madness, you’re going to have a problem with The Professor today,” he continued. “If you think — someone on the panel said Jay Z is the face of hip-hop — if you think he is, you’re definitely going to have a problem with Griff today.”

With that, Griff served up a music history lesson that highlighted the contributions of socially conscious singers and musicians such as Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Curtis Mayfield. He also pointed out that the roots of hip-hop stem not just from music, but also poetry. Some of the early rap and hip-hop pioneers include Gil Scott-Heron and Afrika Bambaataa, he said. Griff argued that the white music industry has profited from black music — including jazz, blues, R&B, rap and hip-hop — for years. The same music industry frequently rewards black performers who live up to negative stereotypes, such as the rap “gangsta,” he said.

Griff launched his most brutal salvos at black entertainers who, in his opinion, are nothing more than modern-day “minstrels,” portraying the most demeaning, stereotypical images that already exist about black people.They do that because they believe that is the only way they can find success, he said. Those name-checked by Griff included several well-known celebrities including Michael Jackson, Usher, Beyonce and his former band mate Flavor Flav. He also blasted rappers and hip-hop performers who glorify drugs and violence, and use derogatory lyrics to describe black women. Hip-hop was created to raise the consciousness of black people, not destroy it, Griff said. Black people must set higher standards for themselves and stop reinforcing those negative stereotypes, he said.

Griff also charged that those negative images are already consistently promoted in the media. For example, he referred to the newspaper USA Today, which recently published a pictorial homage to the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. The portraits featured in the paper were of a “very bright, damn-near white Michael Jackson that looks like a white woman,” said Griff. “And this is who they are portraying to our young people as our “King.” “What’s the subtle, subconscious symbol that they send people? That you got to be like this in order to come in and make it in this world. We have to be defendents of our culture and defend our children from this kind of madness. Are you following me? We have to at least do that.”

Not all panelists at the forum agreed with Griff. Muskegon resident Joe Walker, who has written extensively about the hip-hop culture and is a community activist, said he doesn’t always agree with some of the derogatory remarks rappers and hip-hoppers make, but he supports their right to express those opinions. Female hip-hop performer and poet Naeink, of Muskegon, disagreed. She said the black community needs to hold accountable those performers who use words like bitches and ho’s in their song lyrics. “When you have a mic in your hand, it’s a responsibility,” said Naeink. “If you put a mic in the hands of someone who is ignorant, you’re going to get nasty messages.”

  1. needles (Reply) on Sep 1, 2009

    i agree with most of what griff said some of the music out is horrible i born in 65 so igrew up when there was real music with meaning and soul then came hiphop i was hook i love hiphop but it need to come back to something i can relate to not shit i don’t got and probily wont get up lift my mind that’s what i’m about wakeing up the can tell by my music no popin bottles or any of the dumb shit peace ps. keep hitting then griff

  2. Vicious (Reply) on Sep 1, 2009

    Jay Z is a well-respected star in rap for a reason – he earned it. Like his records or not, if you know anything about hip-hop, you’ve got to respect Jay Z for doing what he does, and staying a step above the little games and trends that define so many so-called artists.

    Professor Griff on the other hand is infamous for being a back-up guy who makes the news once a decade by scolding. I sure wouldnt want that rep.

  3. Ming-Tzu (Reply) on Sep 1, 2009

    I don’t think Griff was necessarily dissing Jay-Z. I think he was just pointing out the fact that, most of the time, no matter how successful, most rappers are pawns for the record labels. And, for the most part, major record labels have been run by uptight, suit-wearing bougie mofos.

  4. Giddion (Reply) on Sep 1, 2009

    “most rappers are pawns for the record labels”
    Fucking idiot.
    You think it’s 1993 still?

  5. Rheteric Ramirez (Reply) on Sep 1, 2009

    The question: “Who is the face of hip-hop today? Whoever says ‘Jay-Z’ is an idiot,” Prof Griff of the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy bluntly responded during a recent forum in Muskegon Heights.



    Jay Z is not only one of the many faces of Hip Hop .
    He obvviously represents alot of struggling people
    who are trying to be succesfull alot of people who would
    overwhelm you with disagreement .
    He does this by doing something really really artificial ,and souless
    called being a good songwriter.

    How politically slimy of you to attack corporations using him.


    Jay Z sold drugs so that makes him bad because drugs are against the Law .
    Jay Z is not hip hop because he talks about selling drugs ,and people shouldn’t selll drugs because drugs are illeagal , and anything illeagal is not hip hop .
    Jay Z is not hip hop because what he talks about is illeagle ,and anything thats illeagle is illeage for a reason even ,and shouldn’t be questioned even if hip hop is made illeagle.
    Jay Z is not hip hop nor should he be allowed to make music he is hes dangerous because he talks about guns people are stupid , easily manipulated, self destructive with no self determination and that makes him a threat to society as a drug dealer, and taking all the votes away from me using these people I view as a mass of inert matter waiting to be injected with life by me (fill in your name temple of hip hoppers or Proffesor Griff.
    Jay Z is basically a bad person , and he should be made an example of in societys best interest by with either stripping him of his right to freedom of speach (illeagaly) , or by trying him as an enemy of the state , and if all else fails finally have him commited to an insane asylum as a homocidal sociopath.



    Rheteric Ramirez .

  6. niecy (Reply) on Sep 30, 2009

    prof. griff…i feel you on everything you’ve said people are just hating because they refuse to pick up a book and read. the best way to pick a black man ingorant is to take the books away. when we blacks have someone that is educated and knows a little some more then us we began to hate….by the way i looked up operation paperclip.

  7. KT (Reply) on Oct 24, 2009

    Man to start off griff is right. Donating less than 10 percent to ya hood aint enough these rappers are freeking millionaires you telling me you cant actually do somthing start school or somthing for your own people dang. Everybody thinks for themselves but when you a millionaire you should change somthing in this world even if kills you. I seen news clip where an female activist said america has enough money for every family to have 400,00 thousand a year I mean I understand holding yourself and family down but with out other humans we wouldnt exist we all are together especially when your people gettin led wrong in front of your evil rich eyes feel me. I promise if ever get that much money I would make money just to help the less fortunate not just donating but supporting activist and giving to americans africans whoevr I guess im the only one who is not selfish in this world today and know this right know I have nothing but my family. These rapper rap to us about stuff we dont have and let whtes control where we going Im so pissed with rage. I understand to keep my cool but if we let them run over us with breaking the constitution and other stuff like accusing us of being terrorist we need to do somthing besides getting money for ourselves and saying its not our problem but yet we have kids and plan too. Its no excuse for you to screw your kids over with this rich get richer poor get poorer system type stuff. religion helps but we need more than just mind it takes pyhsicality in our own realitys of this world they molded for us. Money is nothing but paper. Remeber its only food and love understand.

  8. Kdoulan Mbeke (Reply) on Oct 28, 2009

    Professor Griff in my opinion is well informed about the socio-political, and economic exploits of the music industry. Prove him wrong, what has he said that is false? Minister Griff is servicing the African community by pointing out obvious ills of our society. Ask yourself this, what other group makes songs on the masses dis-respecting their own people? What other ethnic group carries the names of another groups of people? What other ethnic group gets on television and by the masses act like complete fools?
    Professor Griff is the next Farrakhan for our community. If possible he may be even greater than Farrakhan one day. He does not back down and is real at all times. When have you ever heard this man promoting the killing of other Africans senselessly, disrespecting African women, or acting a fool in public? Never. This man is what the African community needs to bring about a true change in African community.

    • calvin (Reply) on Jul 1, 2014

      he does not back down?
      u r kidding, right?
      those brake marks on the floor and skid marks in his underwaer is from when my brotha met up with the real power brokers of amerika and they put him and the group in its place.
      you can say many things about black people in amerika but dont you dare even insinuate anything against jews, PE, Chuck and Griff found out that shit is real.
      just imagine if we acted the same way whenever our people and community is commented in ways we dont agree.
      its embarassing that you compare him to Farrakhan and i say this as someone who thinks that religion is there to enslave man, to keep him compliant, fearful and afraid of qyestioning authority or even the ridiculous concept of supernatural deities. i think Farrakhans religious bullshit is as bad as any of these mind control mechanisms invented by man using the “theres a sucker born every minute” approach.
      that said Griff is no Farrakhan, he doesnt have the courage or self assurance.
      like his ancestors Griff was put in place by the white man, fearful of getting whipped again for being uppity against established power structures.
      i used to despise Chuck for his lack of conviction even though he was more intelligent than most in hs position but Griff showed later that he learned his lesson when they “broke” him; certain patterns it seems we cant escape.
      fight the power?
      only when the power doesnt control your livelyhood.
      i dont claim that i would have had more courage in the same situation but then i dont have Griffs paternalistic streak or his moral superiority.

  9. me (Reply) on Dec 30, 2009

    griff knows EXACTLY what he’s talking about. Jay Z is an idiot for the stuff he does. Yes he has good music but you have to read farther than the beat and into his lyrics and what he’s saying. He is an obvious front man of the Illuminati, look it up before you shoot it down. Listen to his songs like “D’Evils” and “Lucifer”, “Get Your Mind Right Mami” and his lyrics in “Run This Town”–“..this is the return of the god, peace God.” “….Im in mason”, look up the lyrics. Look at the symbols, its all there but people are too blind to notice it.

  10. Jesus soon return (Reply) on Feb 10, 2010

    dont be ignorant. Everything he says is true butyou are so blinded by what they put in front of you, you cant see the truth and thats what they want. This goes so much deeper than hip hop itself. I suggest you pick up the book(BIBLE) and get to reading and studying. It s all in there. That is a book that has not lied about nothing. Open ur eyes.

  11. killuminati (Reply) on Sep 3, 2010

    rheteric ramirez YOU’RE tremendously flawed and you’re also a huge idiot!!!!! I don’t wanna waste my time on a dumbass ignorant person. Vicious obviously don’t know SHIT about hip hop if you think that. All jay z had to do was sell his motherfuckin soul you fuckin jew

  12. chronwell (Reply) on Sep 4, 2010

    I think rheteric ramirez is a mentally ill individual.

  13. […] Professor Griff: “Who is the face of hip-hop today? Whoever saysWith that, Griff served up a music history lesson that highlighted the contributions of socially conscious singers and musicians such as Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Curtis Mayfield. […]

  14. […] Pearce introduces the band at the London date of the 1987 Def Jam tour. After the ominous siren and Professor Griff‘s declaration, “London, England, consider yourselves warned!”, I was already on […]

  15. […] Pearce introduces the band at the London date of the 1987 Def Jam tour. After the ominous siren and Professor Griff‘s declaration, “London, England, consider yourselves warned!”, I was already on […]

  16. Alf (Reply) on Jan 11, 2012

    Look man, you blind people who are trying to say Griff is dissing Jay and all are plain stupid, he is saying white coorperat america is the face of hip hop, they run the shit, all the artist are pawns, and whoever said this isnt 93, no shit, its worse, they are all pawns, all music artist, jay z the biggest pawn, c mon now you see him put all the symbols of illuminati and masonry, he is doing what they want, white coorperate america, hip hop has been hijacked for political reasons, the illuminati has hi jacked hip hop, 1. Because they have a hand in any big time money making buisness 2. because of the influnece hip hop carries. this is why hip hop is being dumbed down. So to you blind dumb ass people, he is not taking a shot at jay, just telling the truth, hip hop is a money making buisness, and like all big time money making buisnesses, it is i the hands of the elite, this is the world we live in today, everything is used for manipulation and further steps toward the one world one religon, it’s a reality, listen to the man prof griff, he is telling us something, the conpsirtacy is reality. before you go and bash griff, how bout you try to understand what he is saying. also, proff griff was in one of the most influential hip hop groups ever, if it asnt for people like him, there would be no jay z, proff griff might not of been the main emcee, but he was on the music scene before chuck d, griff knows what hes saying, its just the stans want to worship jay z, wich is part of the agenda

    by the way, ima huge jay z fan as of music, but this illuminati shit is the real deal, and he has sold his soul, wake the hell up people, the shit is real

  17. ironspatula (Reply) on Jan 25, 2012

    Professor Griff, like everyone else, are entitled to their opinions. That is what makes free speech a very beautiful thing. especially when it gets you to think. On a side note though, Rheteric Ramirez, sir, please I implore you to check your spelling, grammar and vocabulary. And it would be nice to punctuate your sentences every now and then. So that people could actually understand the message that you’re trying to convey. Thank you.

  18. romey gaddy (Reply) on Feb 18, 2012

    Peace to my brother Griff,people are just(black & white) upset because the X-minista tells the truth about of everything he says,the brother straight up,raw, and idiots and vidiots,thinking what these so-called artists are doing is called hip hop,(i.e jay ,lil wayne,etc),don’t have a clue what hip hop is. P.E.A.C.E

  19. Griff,along with Minister Farrahkahn,Minister Khalid Muhummad(rip),Chuck D,and all the others represent the frustrations of the masses of our people,with the attitude which is nothing but the raw truth and ,I know the other man can’t stand it,but on the same note some bros. & sis can’t take it either.

  20. Horatio Sanz (Reply) on Feb 21, 2012

    i bought a new chevy because there was break dancing in the commercial…chevy understands my street sensability because i too drive around the city where graffiti is prevalent…i stop and take pictures of these pieces and post them on my hip hop blog and hopefully people will visit my site and post abt how down i am with hiphop…i make mixtapes of songs i dl for free off of other blog sites as well and give them to girls i meet at clubs so they know all abt my eclectic taste and i then proceed to daterape them…hopefully this whole music for free thing doesnt die down anytime soon cuz ive yet to lose my apetite for dateraping bgirls that sport the latest fashions i see in soda commercials…how the industry made that look appealing is beyond me, but it works…im spending more money than i ever did on products because hiphop’s ever expansive reach…im sure this is what kool herc and afrika bam had in mind during the gestation period…thanks to these gods for helping me fuck all these club rats

  21. adrian (Reply) on Aug 27, 2012

    This goes out to vicious and all of you who sapport garbadge like jay z .young jezzy ect .if you like that shit .and respect them for selling out there way to the top .then you should were a pair of real tight lil wayne jeans two earings show your boxers .and were a t shirt that says hi im a sell out only ignort people buy that shit .if you want your kids to be animals drug dealers pimps ect then start buying it for your own kids but dont push that devils shit on no one elses kids butt your own

  22. PaulDiggs (Reply) on Oct 11, 2012

    brother I’m so happy you put it all out thank you & blessings to you, stay up….

  23. Wade (Reply) on Oct 14, 2012

    Professor Griff is an educated man at the University level he actually holds several University degrees. He is a professional educator. Griff also helped pioneer Hip Hop as an artform when jay z was still a child. While I do not agree with everything he says Iam in total agreement with his statement, on the idiocy of Jay Z. The many books that Griff has published and his lectures are thoughful and insightful Griff is an asset to his community and his people. Youth like jay Z on the other hand are detrimental to the very survival of the African in America and beyond. Give thanks.

  24. B (Reply) on Feb 14, 2014

    Whoa.. I see a lot of good points, I agree with the Professor hip hop is white corporate amerikkka. Even coming up in Gardena Ca. We had our ears to the speakers listening to the message or PE to Yz it was our voice. Everything has balance that’s when it got took to the streets it was gangs, drugs but it was also injustice, crooked cops and it was all for a good cause. It was information to different cities what was going on. Corporate amerikkka was also listening because it sold fast forward to the 2000’s it was easy to find a person fabricate his life and have him rap about something he has no idea about. Brainwashing the kids in the meantime the devil keeps getting paid, and all the fake rappers get a few crumbs off the plate waving over the communities that made it possible heads

  25. Denise LePage (Reply) on Oct 22, 2015

    I was just livid at the way the caller responded on coast to coast.! How dare he be so belligerent to you. Just take him with a grain of salt of salt. He has no awareness of this world and how we can all learn from each other with total respect and love! That is the problem in this world today. People are so wrapped up in their own self that they do not see the light through the trees. GOD has made everyone in His image and we can learn so much from every culture; some people just choose NOT to see. What a SHAME! When I was a teen, 61 now. Where has time gone? HA! I lived in Odenton, MD. on base. I went to school with many Black Americans & sat with them @ the lunch table & in classes. We were all good friends, you know what? The Caucasions wouldn’t talk with me. But I didn’t care. I enjoyed every second with them & learned a lot. I have always been that way and always will be! I love every culture and try to learn positive things that will bring me closer to God. I believe that we are at end times. When is everyone going to wake up? But then, I believe we are all predestined. Can we save ourselves? I believe only by the grace of God. He gave us the right to choose and I believe we have bungled it in so many ways, don’t you? Blessings always, Denise