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Is Hip Hop a thing of the past?

    Over forty years of service has been put in, but now lay me to rest. I’m tired. The five things I was based on, have been moved to the wayside as if I was old news, or old furniture even that could never give anyone any ‘seat’ on a record chart or a new lifestyle even. My five children, all birthed in Africa, ‘Emceeing’, DJ-ing, B-boy-ing (B-Girl-ing), Graffiti, and Knowledge all have been left alone, for no one even really acknowledges them anymore. I can no longer be their parent in this music industry. I’ve been morphed and imitated, re-defined, and used as free game for non-creative people with money motives to take advantage of the fruits my skill provides. The ‘emcees’ are all just rappers. The DJ’s are artists themselves with little mounts of humility, and the others …well, they barely exist in anything fed to the masses. My kids receive no respect. Knowledge is even ignored now, while ignorance is expected.

    The spot I once held, as being the podium and voice of black neighborhoods and their struggles, has been broadened, allowing people who skipped our culture to put their own spin on my creation – losing value in everything I was even created for. I’ve been sold for illusionary million dollar deals, to people who came from struggle and poverty, with the hidden agenda that they’d be a slave to record labels for decades – only to be left with a small piece of the ‘corporate music pie’. My name has been argued, on what’s real and what’s not, from the mouths of white collar workers, who wouldn’t stop on the corners that created me to lend wisdom or even encouragement to a man in need if his life depended on it.

    Can’t you see that I’m being murdered?

    I started out with hopes of being something that could bring communities who needed ‘fellowship’ the most, together. Instead, I’ve divided sanctions, states, and coasts, causing even two of hip hop’s biggest legends to lose their lives early – and countless others after that. My rewards of changing the lives of young black men and women have made them actually become envied by their peers, causing some of them to be murdered due to hate and jealousy, before their hip hop careers even received a chance to take off. Our black sisters have been labeled, and undesirable as feminine visuals in music videos related to me. Their dark skin tones have been surpassed for foreign, fair-skinned, women, desired by many of my participants, named in their songs and lyrics. Hardly any of the strength I created for people who needed it is cherished anymore.

    When it comes to clarity and lyricism, they’re no longer required in my genre. I’ve become weak, due to oblivious callouts of ‘hip hop’ in songs that produce little to zero knowledge, and the allowance of ‘culture free outsiders’ to re-define what I truly mean. I’ve been adopted by people who claim they know what I mean, but really have no clue. I started out as an empowerment tool to grow minds and inspire communities, now I close those same minds and assist in creating attitudes and ‘I don’t give a f*ck’ consciences that kill youth in communities. These harsh lyrics, coming from confused and troubled minds, are now allowed to be distributed to masses through radio stations and corporate agenda – shoving all of the empowering rap artists to the back of the line – to wait – for eternity.

    Lay me down to rest, for I was better when I was of usage. Now I’m just a free-for-all-genre – free to change into whatever people will allow – forever and ever. You have no real use for me anymore. Let me rest.

    **This piece was written in satire, by published author, blogger, and youth activist, Chakara Conyers of Raleigh, N.C. You can visit and contact Chakara via email at [email protected]