Black History Month is here and for the culture, I want to talk about the political platforms of some of our veteran rap artists. 2020 was a rollercoaster ride to say the least, especially since some of the more well known anti-law enforcement lyricists decided to board the Trump Train. Kanye West, 50 Cent, and Lil Wayne shocked Black America with their compliance for former President Donald Trump especially his pardons that overshadowed his executions. Ice Cube brought the Reparations Contract to light while Sean “Diddy” Combs started a political organization called “Our Black Party” in the midst of the lynchings still happening in America. The most important question that I have for my other melanated kinfolk is where do we draw the line when it comes to representation? Hip-Hop is by the very definition an art form that reflects the self expression of Blackness in America but a toxic double edge sword. The infamous industry has sexism, colorism, and I want to know if tokenism has also landed a permanent role.
It was Prince who said back in 2015 that, “Jay Z spent $100 million of his own money to build his own service. We have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves,” after releasing his album HitNRun solely to Tidal. He even went on to say that record contracts were synonymous to slavery because artists have little power over how labels profit from their work! We all remember the golden shower that Kanye West gave his own grammy awards ranting about the situation between him, Roc-A-Fella, Universal, and his publishing company-EMI; But he traded in one master for another so-to-speak with his open support for Trump! If a predatory record contract is modern-day slavery, does that make “Diddy” an overseer? The shady business practices of the icon himself was called out by Mase on social media when he wrote, “This is not black excellence at all. When our own race is enslaving us.” Of course Diddy denied the allegations, as he stepped up this year to provide financial relief to families that needed it due to COVID, but is the Black caucus swayed by this charity? We all remember the infamous “rap beef” between The Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur that busted the industry wide open with the sketchy backstory between their producers. Retired LAPD detective Greg Kading wrote a book titled Murder Rap: Inside The Biggie & Tupac Murders, where he explains that Sean Combs hired a Crip gang member to kill Tupac and Suge Knight. September 7th, 1996 “Baby Lane” Anderson shot Tupac while Suge Knight hired a Blood gang member to retaliate, which led to Biggie Smalls being shot by “Poochie” Fouse on March 9th, 1997! I am all for the political advancement of the Black community but should “dirty dealer” Diddy Combs really be at the forefront?
There are plenty of other elephants in the room to reflect the murderous music industry parade that thrives from fame and exploitation, but for now, let’s talk reparations. At first glance Black America was concerned with the possibility of Mr. Crenchaw himself turning into Mr. Complicit with his conversation with Trump about the reparations contract! Ice Cube’s representative made a comment that the former NWA member also reached out to the Biden campaign as well but was only promised a “seat at the table” if they won. I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m tired of once again choosing the lesser of two evils for crumbs of freedom while the 1% are afforded an entire feast! So what exactly is included in this contract that has economist experts in a frenzy? The contract mentions a $500 billion capital venture for the Black community; but my concern is the part of the contract where it says capitalism is a good system. In the name of capitalism, this country became the economic wonder of the cotton industry through chattel slavery and didn’t hesitate to force children to work in factories as well. History has literally proven that capitalism is an exploitative system, with a complete lack of morality based on the many ways that this country has endorsed profit over people. Stay tuned Southern Oregonians, because I have a feeling that 2021 is just getting started with the history-in-the-making money moves from Reddit users, and the members of congress that still haven’t been arrested for treason.