Up@dawn 2.0

Sunday, November 29, 2015

2nd Installment - McKayla Boatwright (12)

In my first post I talked about the different parts of hip hop, but I focused on graffiti art. Graffiti art is the visual part of hip hop. It is how the lyrics are brought to life. In this post I will focus on the artist and their lyrics, and a little of their videos.

 I am first going to discuss Tupac Shakur. Tupac was born in New York City in 1971 he moved to California in the 1980s. Shakur was the son of a black panthers activist and drug addict. He rose to fame a few years after moving to the west coast. Tupac’s career involved a lot of controversy, like the beef between Biggie and himself, that ignited a full out war between the east and west coasts. In 1996, while in Las Vegas with his label owner Shug Knight, Shakur was gunned down and shot multiple times. He died 6 days after the attack.

With all the controversy that Tupac faced, there was one that stood out and that was with Delores Tucker over a song titled “How Do You Want It,” and “Wonder Why They Call U Bitch.” Delores was a civil rights activist, and an African American politician. She went on a crusade trying to stop rappers and their explicit lyrics and raunchy videos. Shakur and rappers alike retaliated, by putting the situation in their lyrics. Tupac claimed that instead of helping “brothers” out she was tearing them down. To Delores his song “Wonder Why” was a bad portrayal of women, making them seem lazy and immoral maternal failures, who reproduce these vices in her offspring. Shakur was trying to get women to understand that it is not okay to disrespect yourself, or hold yourself to such low standards. What Tupac lacked in his actions, he made up for in his lyrics. He rapped the truth, and his fans took notice and sometimes learned from his lyrics.
With the songs come videos. A lot of rappers have been under fire because of their videos and the way they portray women. Women are made out to be the object in music videos, a concept in existentialist philosophy known as the “gaze.” French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre examines objectification using the concept of the gaze in Being and Nothingness. His definition is this: the man sees without being seen thereby reducing the other to an object.
Today we have rappers like Kendrick Lamar, and Common who are using their words to shed light on what is going on in the world. In Lamar’s song “Alright,” he raps about police brutality and slavery. He is saying that we have been put down before and we somehow managed to come out on top and because we did it one time, we will be able to do it again. Common has a song with John Legend titled “Glory” from the motion picture Selma. In this song Common is telling us that it is time for us to stand together as one like we did years ago, and put a stop to what is going on now. All it takes is two people to stand together as one, and the rest will fall into place.
 Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-48u_uWMHY
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUZOKvYcx_o
References: http://www.biography.com/people/tupac-shakur-206528
                   Shelby T, Darby D. Hip Hop And Philosophy : Rhyme 2 Reason [e-book]. Chicago: Open Court; 2005. Available from: eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost), Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 29, 2015.

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