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It seems like this sort of thing always happens to innovative music genres that later become popular. Look at punk as a prime example. Back in the late 70's and early 80's, at least 90% of punk was political or had a message about the plight of the young in impoverished areas. Punk became mainstream, now we have pop punk, and I would be less than 10% of punk acts talk about anything political anymore.

You end up seeing the exact same kind of thing with hiphop. It became mainstream, which tends to eliminate content. Despite the backgrounds of some of the more popular hiphop artists, what's now popular is the sound, not the content.

I'm pretty surprised that there isn't more hiphop about the continuing poverty in urban areas in this country, the disproportionate number of people from poor families who end up in prison or in Iraq, etc.

Posted by scott | January 10, 2007 12:35 PM

it's pretty sad that someone who has been dead for over ten years is still putting out better hip hop than artists today. or better than mainstream artists of today, anyhow. i can't help but think that the proliferation of shitty hip hop acts that come and go has become a sort of victimization of the masses. artists with little talent can hold on to the dream of making it big because so-and-so from the block did it, but then their fame and fortune is over faster than you can say "i'll take that bentley over there".

where is the art in hip hop any more?

Posted by socialarsonist | January 10, 2007 1:02 PM

Tupac isn't dead. He's on an island called Patmos in the Mediterranean.

Posted by trent moorman | January 10, 2007 1:03 PM

Is anyone keeping track? Has he released more CDs dead than he had when he was alive?

Posted by monkey | January 10, 2007 1:17 PM

Of course, it was never the purpose of rap to propound social and/or political ideas; that purpose was and is the exclusive province of the philosopher-journalist.

Posted by robotslave | January 10, 2007 1:22 PM

So, Mudede has decided to write about Tupac and Rap "music". This post is once again one you should do your very best to avoid. Why? Because few writers in the tradition of American commentary are as bad, as vapid, as blunt, as boorish, as obtuse, as this Mudede character. It is a wonder that anyone would go out of their way to publish one of his pieces, all of which have neither the alacrity of a keen intelligence or the force of good instincts. They are filled with a false sense of importance. They are filled with mucky muck. They are, in the Samkhya theory of matter, the epitome of the tamas guna—heavy, murky, dull. They are noisy and oppressive. They are the products of an imagination that is fueled by big chunks of elephant dung. Mudede is an artistic elephant. You know that, right? Of course you do! With just one ear you can hear, from many miles away, his muddy mind plodding on a bad piece. There is no grace, no sensitivity in the text of his work, just the dumbness of a mass that crashes through trees, stomps on fallen leaves, breaks bark with its rough and thick butt. This is the elephant that writes pieces in, that tromps on, our fine language.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | January 10, 2007 2:22 PM

Hmmm. Haven't I read that last bit somewhere before?

Posted by J.R. | January 10, 2007 2:30 PM

How the fuck is this guy still putting out albums? Prince and Rivers Cuomo are constantly writing songs and both have about fifty songs archived for each song released. Was Tupac like that?

Posted by Gitai | January 10, 2007 2:34 PM

Hey, Gitai I think he's also got two or three more movies coming out this year as well.

For a dead guy, he sure gets a lot of work.

Posted by COMTE | January 10, 2007 2:57 PM

Hip hop now exists in the white mainstream, kind of like the Blues and Jazz. As Gil Scot Heron said, "ripped off." Thats why u go see somebody like Mos Def and u see nothing but white folks and the always present, filipino b boys. Bless them.

However, Rap is alive and well, and it is still relevant in the inner city and to the underclass, I hate to disagree with the greatest MC ( NAS), though I agree with the Zimbawean head that "hip hop" has no relevance in the inner city, but rap still does. With a growing under class it has a long life still. I mean, there is no inner city B boys in LA anymore, true heads are now Krumping. B boying was left to the middle class.

Its new role is historical, to glorify old east coast gangsters like the way 50 cents glorifies the old Queens Gangsters who use to run the drug trade there. Or like The Game who is still looking for beef and glorifies the glory days of the Blood Bounty Hunters. Oh hell even Young Jeezy can still speak about the incarceration rates of black males, though he does it with a top 40 song.

"Cuz visitation no longer comes by,
Seems like they forgot about me,
Commissary is getting empty,
My cell mates getting food without me,
Can't wait to get out and move forward with my life,
Got a family that loves me and wants me to do right
But instead Im here locked up"

or if u wanna get deep, u could go Dead Prez

You ain't gotta be locked up to be in prison
Look how we livin, thirty thousand niggaz a day
up in the bing, standard routine
They put us in a box just like our life on the blocks
(behind enemy lines)
You ain't gotta be locked up to be in prison
Look how we livin, thirty thousand niggaz a day
up in the bing, standard routine
They put us in a box just like our life on the blocks
(behind enemy lines

Puff Daddy is basically the anti christ, his along with Maze was to destroy everything that once was pure about hip hop, they did, they fucked it up, but rap they couldnt really touch.

Posted by SeMe | January 10, 2007 3:21 PM

hip hop is not dead. people have been using that tired "____ is dead" for over and over for years (insert jazz. rock n roll, country, etc into the blank. Jazz started out as edgy and controversial and then it mainstreamed and eventually became kenny g. Rock n roll started out controversial and is now just something everybody can listen to. The same happened to hip hop. None of these genres ever die. they just keep recycling from generation to generation varying in their degrees of intesity. The intensity never matches that of the original starting point but.....they don't die out completely

Posted by h | January 10, 2007 3:41 PM

Is it a conspiracy that the music is telling the youth to rise up against the establishment because the establishment is rapidly destroying things? Is that a conspiracy? The music speaks to you every day, but you are too deaf, dumb, and blind to even listen to the music. . . It is not my conspiracy. It is not my music. I hear what it relates. It says "Rise," it says "Kill." Why blame it on me? I didn't write the music. qoute from that old nutty Charlie Manson

My experience with Hip hop goes to Nucleus 'Jam on it' and Cybotrons 'Clear'
I'm Wild style man. I used to use a can now I got a computer that can break down the beat and animate my Tags. Hip hop isn't dead. Its advanced.
Boogie Down Productions and All that philosophy was cool but then It got off the chain in LA. New York answered with Wu Tang, the RZA and the 13 chambers. 2 Pac was new to me cause I was deep in the mix and trance of underground hip hop and nonstop mixing. Kool Kieth s 'Lost in Space' sums that vibe up. Hip Hop will still be around as long as there is a poem and a beat.
No bodies going to tell me Breaking is out of style when I see Ballet lasting an Eternity. Hip Hop , Disco, House are all intertwined now and "theres no stopping what can't be stopped."
now for some 'West Coast Pop Locking'
by Zapp. Thats jams the Bomb.

Posted by Beatnik | January 10, 2007 10:27 PM

HOW CAN I GET MY 11 YO TO LISTEN TO SOMETHING BESIDES THE TOP 20 ON kube 93.3? Help me Obe Won Mudede, you are my only hope!

Posted by mirror | January 10, 2007 10:58 PM

Eric B. And Rakim - Casualties Of War

Casualties of War!

Casualties of war; as I approach the barricade
Where's the enemy? Who do I invade?
Bullets of Teflon, bulletproof vest rip
Tear ya outta ya frame with a bag full of clips
Cause I got a family that waits for my return
To get back home is my main concern
I'ma get back to New York in one piece
but I'm bent in the sand that is hot as the city streets
Sky lights up like fireworks blind me
Bullets, whistlin over my head remind me...
President Bush said attack
Flashback to Nam, I might not make it back
Missile hits the area, screams wake me up
from a war of dreams, heat up the M-16
Basic training, trained for torture
Take no prisoners, and I just caught ya
Addicted to murder, send more bodybags
They can't identify em, leave the nametags
I get a rush when I see blood, dead bodies on the floor

Day divides the night and night divides the day
It's all hard work and no play
More than combat, it's far beyond that
Cause I got a kill or be killed kind of attack
Area's mapped out, there'll be no, Stratego
Me and my platoon make a boom wherever we go
But what are we here for? Who's on the other side of the wall?
Somebody give the President a call
But I hear warfare scream through the air
Back to the battlegrounds, it's war they declare
A Desert Storm: let's see who reigns supreme
Something like Monopoly: a government scheme
Go to the Army, be all you can be
Another dead soldier? Hell no, not me
So I start letting off ammunition in every direction
Allah is my only protection

But wait a minute, Saddam Hussein prays the same
and this is Asia, from where I came
I'm on the wrong side, so change the target
Shooting at the general; and where's the sergeant?
Blame it on John Hardy Hawkins for bringing me to America
Now it's mass hysteria
I get a rush when I see blood, dead bodies on the floor

The war is over, for now at least
Just because they lost it don't mean it's peace
It's a long way home, it's a lot to think about
Whole generation, left in doubt
Innocent families killed in the midst
It'll be more dead people after this
So I'm glad to be alive and walkin
Half of my platoon came home in coffins
Except the general, buried in the Storm
in bits and pieces no need to look for em
I played it slick and got away with it
Rigged it up so they would think they did it
Now I'm home on reserves and you can bet
when THEY call, I'm going AWOL
Cause it ain't no way I'm going back to war
when I don't know who or what I'm fighting for
So I wait for terrorists to attack
Every time a truck backfires I fire back
I look for shelter when a plane is over me
Remember Pearl Harbor? New York could be over, G
Kamikaze, strapped with bombs
No peace in the East, they want revenge for Saddam
Did I hear gunshots, or thunder?
No time to wonder, somebody's going under
Put on my fatigues and my camoflouge
Take control, cause I'm in charge
When I snapped out of it, it was blood, dead bodies on the floor

Posted by Marage | January 11, 2007 8:47 AM

Great site!

Posted by azazello. | January 25, 2007 4:59 AM

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