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April 01, 2010 | | Comments 18

Why The N-Word, Saggy Pants, and Ignorant Rappers Won’t Die

If you’re a member of the Hip Hop Generation, three relentless fires have burned in your debate circle for the past two decades: the n-word, saggy pants, and ignorant ass rappers. For sure, you’ve been unable to escape the controversies surrounding these topics.  Hours have been spent in heated arguments defending or deriding the virtues of each; verbal fisticuffs have led to intellectual brawls and oral shellackings.  Chances are, if you’re reading this blog you’re sick and tired of having these discussions.  Despite your mental exhaustion over these matters, they seem to make for persistent conversation with no end game in sight.  In fact, I have come to the conclusion that these fires are only increasing in size, as the wrong tools to extinguish them are being employed.

Old heads and elitists  have gone to great lengths to stifle the burn they feel when nigga(er) is verbalized.  Recently I got into a social networking spat with CNN’s Roland Martin about the issue on Twitter.  Check the exchange (read from bottom to top):

dNTwitterExchange

Clearly Mr. Martin does not see the damage he’s causing by attacking the issue in this fashion.  Remember when the NAACP made a futile attempt to kill Massa’s favorite noun with their N-word funeral in 2007?  Their attempt to crucify the term and render it lifeless backfired, as it arose more powerful than ever with Hip Hop’s abhorrence of this stunt.  Indeed, Hip Hop culture read the headlines and scoffed “Nigga Please!”  Thus, the Baby Boomers’ public disdain for the word has only reinforced  its significance in America’s most fundamentally rebellious culture. Even more dangerous is the fact that making such a spectacle over how much pain remains at the root of the term empowers it in the eyes of true racists.  Anybody that wants to push a Black person’s crazy button is merely reminded that “nigger” remains the champion of getting under a Negro’s skin.

Sadly, frustrated zealots approach the pants sagging “issue” in the same exacerbating fashion as the n-word.  Let them see a Negroe’s underwear exposed and oh boy… watch out… some preaching is finna go down!  While I agree that showing your funky ass draws is not what’s up, I know that seniors condescendingly ordering the Hip Hop community to cease and desist only add gasoline to the blaze.

Yet folks just don’t get it.  While browsing the NY Times the other day I came across an article titled “NY Politician Takes Up Cause – Sagging Pants.” New York State Senator Eric Adams has decided to waste his time (and his constituents’ tax dollars) by creating anti-sag billboards.  [Ed Lover voice] Senator Adams, c’mon son… do you really think your efforts will do anything to combat the Hip Hop generation’s right to freedom of expression?  Do you think they’ll find your crafty billboards cool and refreshing?  Senator Adams… Senator Adams… GTFOH with that BS son! Everyone thank Senator Adams for another 4 years of stankin ass boxer observance.

On to the auto-coons.  You wanna know why hot ignorance is seething through your airwaves?   Remember when Hip Hop was in its Golden Age during the 90s?  Well at the peak of the genre’s most creative period, C. Delores Tucker, a band of Black preachers, and a host of politicians decided to pick a fight with the lyrics.  They staged large scale CD demolitions and other outrageous stunts.  The result: even more violent, misogynistic, and inflammatory rhymes were born to counteract the assault launched by the disillusioned elders.  Now, the snowball is so large that ignorance has trumped intelligence and activism in rap music sales.

Older generations HAVE to stop waging war with Hip Hop culture.  Like the crusade against terrorism, this is a fight that cannot be won by continuing to insult the Hip Hop resistance.  Every publicity stunt and disapproving lecture will only be countered by a more extreme offensive.  Instead of trying to battle youth in the trenches, preceding generations should use their wisdom to outsmart energetic, unruly insurgents in the Black community.  Rather than heaping hot coals on the heads of heretics, they should pour support into the peers of the offenders who have the power to infiltrate the culture from within.  dangerousNEGRO is one of many companies that come to mind in that regard… (and we’re taking on investors folks)… :-)  So think before you join your next n-word eradication committee, anti-sag coalition, or rap boycott.  Don’t provoke the behavior, promote the savior.

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  1. Uhurube says:

    Its a never ending war old against the young you know???? Those things exist in black culture as words and mesages of rebellion!! I used to sag too, but it was a maturity thing for me from a boy to a man. We need to WAKE UP and stop the finger pointing there are way more fish to fry than this little stuff.

  2. datdude says:

    Yeah I hear you. But in the older generations defense, a lot of battles that they were bound to lose they/we ended up winning. Umm..recall what the 50’s and 60’s were like for us negroes. Can’t fault the older generation for picking David and Goliath battles. Their track record is pretty damn good, lol.

  3. Nice post. I agree with you about using wisdom and support to get at the root issues…or at least some of them. Not only do older generations need to stop waging war with Hip Hop. Hip Hop needs to stop waging war with itself. Inclusion and balance is the path to Hip Hop standing up and accepting it’s position as a leader for social change (and eliminating most of the behavior that isn’t useful or beneficial). The more exposure site’s like your get the more the people will be influenced by a side of Hip Hop that MSM isn’t showing.

    I appreciate what you’re doing and would love to find a way(s) to work together in an effort to uplift Hip Hop culture/music and show our people that there are alternatives to the images they’ve accepted as real/right/true.

    Peace. Power.

  4. PLewis says:

    “Older generations HAVE to stop waging war with Hip Hop culture. Like the crusade against terrorism, this is a fight that cannot be won by continuing to insult the Hip Hop resistance. Every publicity stunt and disapproving lecture will only be countered by a more extreme offensive.”

    I would have to disagree. I think it is possible to continue waging war against the backward elements of Hip Hop culture and ENCOURAGE these elements to become more and more offensive….to the point where they will wind up alienating all of their listeners, and destroying themselves. Most of these unconscious hip-hoppers are not very smart. If all they know how to do is react, we can definitely use that against them. If some of them want to come out using blackface, or worse, let them do that. We should encourage them to self-destruct. But this should not be our only approach in putting these buggers in their place, of course.

  5. Mahvee says:

    good read. But as long as dumb rappers get paid dumb music will be played.

  6. DJNJ says:

    DUDE I LOVE THE INTELLIGENCE! Man I miss rappers like Common and Lupe F. in their heydey! Even Z-ro is good because even though his muzik ain’t the best, it says SOMETHING, oh yeah, and these songs about dancin and sex are BS. They have crappy verses. It’s CRAP MUZIK! OH NO! Shoot dat muzik is so bad that i can’t even listen to KBXX (Houston’s hiphop/R&B station) continuously because tha hiphop AND R&B is all about sex. Dude I’d take drug muzik over this crap that’s out now. My muzik is stuck in the early 2000’s…sigh…Anyway as a 17 yr old Afro-American, I feel the effects of it.I can’t show any brains when im in a large black crowd, especially an urban one. Or at least I dont want to b/c then I get punked and messed with and called “White”. Lord have mercy. Isn’t it the “White” a.k.a. SMART people who get more money anyway? I ain’t into the whole “broke negro” thing, man.

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  8. Laura-Denise Maxwell says:

    We should make a plan to televise awkward suburban white kids and waspish housewives listening to the jackass buffoonery hiphop. I’m sure the rebellious Negro hiphop generation will cease and desist after seeing something like that. Straight up.

  9. Hi people… thank you, but why the hell does this underwear seem to be yellow??

  10. Sue Fulton says:

    Pants sagging? This is a prelude to gangster life. This is more than little stuff! Dead, cripple and emotionally acidic youth is serious. Didn’t you hear about Chicago? Wake up, folks!! It is not a mere criticism as to a way of dress. It has effected our schools, our communities, our prison system….There is strain on law enforcement. The tax payers are drained. The USA is more powerful than you think. Somebody is going to get hip-hop out of here. Look at the signs. One by one they’re on their way out. Don’t think it can’t go!!!!!

  11. I just wanted to add a comment here to say Thank you for your very nice article. I appreciate when I see well written material.

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  13. BuckwheatsMomma says:

    No war to be fought, simple common sense, respect for one’s self, and their people should be the driving force behind an intelligent movement towards betterment of us as a whole.

    My issue with Hip-hop (I am of the “older” generation), and in fact my generation helped to change things so that we are able to “be” today, is the senseless slaughter/murder of thousands of young black men, and other innocent black people behind nothing but ignorance.

    Say what you want, but please be fair in at least acknowledging the fact that “Hip-Hop” lyrics greatly contributed to this ignorance. I am sad when I think of the young black men who could have been somebody, and mostly could have contributed something so great and positive to us as a people, but instead they are dead and gone behind ignorance.

    Anytime a black man murders another black man behind something so stupid as one being on another’s block/hood (a block/hood that they have no ownership in) is beyond stupid.

    My motto:
    Education (which is free) is the KEY TO FREEDOM

    Far too many of our people are simply ignorant, academically and socially, and the count is so high that it brings us all down as a whole.

    HIP-HOP, niggas, or whatever, BLACK FOLK PLEASE STOP THE IGNORANCE!

  14. I can agree with these statements that, as a race, we are stubborn and rebellious. Even more so are our youth. Simple shamed head-shaking, switch-whippings, and disapproving glares or statements from older folks don’t do much to help the problem. When I think about issues like this, I’m almost overwhelmed by the sheer amount of broad and specific factors and influences involved. However, I can only pinpoint two (very general) issues that would first need to be contested before tackling the rest: the Media, and Society. In my (new) blog, I relate these issues to an endless cycle of what “swag” means to the next generation – how, in our struggles to become original, we only end up recycling old stereotypes, slightly modifying them, and wearing them as if they were brand new – without eradicating any past consequences.

    What you call the “Golden Age” of Hip-Hop was actually no different from what’s happening in today’s lyrical society. Rappers were still under fire by even older heads, parents were then disapproving of baggy pants that didn’t sag, crop-shirts on females, and the general over-sexed image it was portraying to the youth of that generation. Though this next generation’s music has taken it to another level, the issues still remain the same.

    Use of the “N-word”, either in greeting towards a fellow person, or as a racial slur in hot spit, is just another issue in our community we’ve been dealing with for decades. The solution doesn’t lie in elder-to-youth education – it lies in youth-to-youth education. The real problem is – how do the youth who want change reach those who don’t?

    Speaking as a 20-year-old black female, with very strong opinions on the subject, I’m just as lost as everyone here is as to how we would even BEGIN to tackle that mountainous statement. But, I respect companies like yours who do what they can to fight for that necessary change through common outlets, like accessories and apparel. If the youth are obsessed with their “swag” – what they wear, how they are portrayed, and overall superficiality – the more youth wearing your “messages”, the more buzz you get, and the more opportunities you will have to share these lessons with them. A simple plan by Dangerous Negroes indeed.

    – Amanda

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  17. Mr. Cunningham says:

    I too agree that this is a never ending topic. And the elder generations tactics have been futile thus far. But what’s one the things most young people hate to see seniors do? Embrace their culture and (try) to adapt to it. “Ewww mom! Why are you raiding my closet? Your too old to wear that!” Well if mom continues to raid her daughters closet, guess what? Her daughter will begin to feel that if mom’s doing it, it’s “not cool” anymore.

    Now I’m not saying for the elders to start saggin their pants, and subject themselves to coon-ery and buffoonery, but moreso, just begin to accept it. Show that it’s not a bother to them. Give the appearance that “it’s ok if you wanna look and talk ignant.” In other words, embrace it and see if the younger community begins to starting thinking just that. What’s the worst that could happen?

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