Most politically informed writing on Hip-Hop I have had the pleasure to read in what feels like years. The dynamic nature of the sets of activities traditionally associated with Hip-Hop interpreted through a Marxist lens, which entails an understanding of the forces and counterforces that constitute a series of historical Dialectical social occurences. This is an opening discussion on the Dialectics of Hip-Hop, expressed with an astute, historically accurate perspective and a hopeful tone. Hopeful of many things, but especially of Hip-Hop’s ongoing potential to inform, organize and empower communities.
1. Activity/Labor/Use Value (not “Culture”) – While we might casually describe hip-hop as a “culture,” it is far more consistent with its essence to see it as an activity; an activity that is historic in nature. By historic we mean that it rests on the shoulders of the social activity of previous generations of people and is not something abstract, fixed, or eternal.
Positing hip-hop as an activity as opposed to a culture allows us to see it in its all-sidedness. Hip-hop is both influenced by the activity of people just as it shapes that activity; it is a dialectic. Seeing hip-hop one-dimensionally as influential (for example, that it makes people violent, misogynistic, or materialistic) abstracts it, places it above society and beyond the control of everyday people. The educator must be educated too. On the other hand, arguing that hip-hop simply “reflects” society or mass activity also takes it out of our control; our control to consciously and critically shape it in a way that fulfills what Marx called our species-being, that is, fulfillment of our ability to…
Read the rest @ D&HHP. Peace to Dj Kool R.E.B.E.L.