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Conciousness

December 14, 2017

          Rap and Hip-Hop has been used by artists since its beginnings to redress grievances with society and bring up subjects that may be hard to talk about in regular conversation. For example, N.W.A. used this platform most famously to bring up police brutality and racial bias. This is probably the biggest and most effective case of rap being used to point out ignored problems and show itself to a full audience. Conscious Rap is a category of rap that pertains to talking about problems in the political climate or rap that is sending a message from the artists to the people in light of an issue. More recently, Conscious Rap has found itself being mainstream, with some artists breaking into the category and some harnessing it almost entirely. A Tribe Called Quest released an album on November 11, 2016 entitled We’ve Got it From Here Thank You for Your Service, this album was entirely political and heavily influenced by the presidential race. Songs such as The Donald and We the People brought up oppression, topics like LGBTQ people’s rights, driscrimination, and womens rights. Another popular artist that uses the category predominantly is Logic. Logic uses his music to promote peace, love, and positivity regardless of race, religion, color, creed, or sexual orientation. These artists tend to generate conversation through their music, a goal they try to achieve, but this conversation isn’t always calm or well kempt.

          Take for example Jay-Z’s song The Story of OJ off of his new album 4:44. The song is meant to display what being a successful black American is like. His song told that no matter your social status, for black Americans in the United States you’re still just seen as black. Sean Carter (Jay-Z) wanted a music video that would highlight the still present racism in America and used stereotypes and Klansmen imagery in a 60’s cartoon style to portray his message. The song and its accompanying video have received a lot of backlash for their language and imagery. Jay-Z knew that his work would create a reaction. In fact that's exactly what he wanted it to do, however it seems that the very people creating the problem addressed in the video are the same people who say that the video and song are what's wrong with America. What Jay-Z and Conscious Rap have been trying to do is bring light to ignored situations, but the media as well as the common citizen have been lead to a place where only the information wanted will be used and the contrary is depicted as false. Conscious Rap is trying to change this type of media consumption and provide looks into real life problems and start a conversation.

 

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