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Gotham Books, June 2008
Conscious Rap Part II John McWhorter, The New York Sun, June 19, 2008
Last week I argued in this [column] against the idea that the "conscious" brand of rap music offers useful advice of an inspirational or political nature, contrary to a popular notion that such rap has the potential to spark some kind of "hiphop revolution" among young black people. Because this new version of political awareness is such an idle detour, I will depart from my usual practice and respond to the comments last week's piece elicited...
'Conscious' Hiphop Fallacy, John McWhorter, New York Sun, June 12, 2008
. . . Criticize the violence and sexism, and get ready for a tsunami
of emails hotly objecting, "It's not all like that!" More specifically,
the idea is that beyond the theatrics of gangsta rappers like 50 Cent,
"conscious" rap "has something to say." There are
more than a few smart people under the impression that what rap has to
say could even energize an activist groundswell among the poor. . . They
think of it as unquestionable that for black people, politics must be
about challenging authority, taking to the streets, the upturned middle
finger. The problem is that the days when this orientation fed or taught
anyone anything are long past. They miss other kinds of black politics
that actually help people in the real world. . .