An important documentary challenging the roots of modern Hip-Hop culture and the effects it is having on the black community – particularly teens, who are disturbingly more likely to die, get raped or go to prison.
Byron Hurt (the film maker) reflects on how he was affected by Hip-Hop without realising the corrupt ideology that was being proliferated. When we reflect, we see that male violent masculinities and a culture of misogyny have been Hip-Hop’s recent legacy. As Chuck D reflects when interviewed – this was different in the late eighties and early nineties – when Public Enemy, Kwame, Jungle Brothers, KRS -ONE, De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest were pronounced alternatives to an equally popular NWA. The rise of Gangsta rap coincided with the corporate takeover. Biggie and Tupac were martyrs for the corporate world. Hip-Hop went on to glamorise young black men who go to prison and die young – “get rich or die trying”. The “Scarface fantasy” plays out. Fantasy in the booth actualises in the streets.
With their cultural hegemony, corporations – despite a thriving underground – force those who desire to be signed to conform to the industry established norm. Hip-Hop has been “put in a box” – a tightly constricted, misogynistic, capitalistic, avaricious thug is the archetype the black male must conform to – and the white man in the suit is the gate keeper. As Talib Kweli says in the documentary: “the corporations should not have been trusted with Hip-Hop” – and a reclamation is under way.