Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Secret Meeting that Changed Hip Hop

Today, I read a thought-provoking and interesting claim about hip hop and its transformation into "gangsta rap." Before you continue on to read the rest of my post, I'd encourage you to read this letter written about "The Secret Meeting that Changed Rap Music and Destroyed a Generation."

Now, keeping in mind that it is an anonymous post with no specific names or company references, it brings about a lot of thought=provoking questions. Did the music industry purposefully promote "gangsta rap," or rap about sex, drugs, money, and violence, in order to tempt the younger generation to get in trouble with authorities and get sent to one of the music industry-owned prisons?

Many people will say that this letter is completely false, but I do not think it is too hard to believe. This could be the reason why hip hop and rap became overly violent during those times. Who is to say that the music executives did not sway their artists to rap about these things?

The violence that we discussed with many rap songs, like "NY State of Mind," or "Regulate," could have been influenced directly by this meeting. One could say that because of this secret meeting, a stereotype of violent, inner-city, African-Americans was born or further amplified.

Although more evidence of this secret meeting would be needed in order to make a solid conclusion about the rise of gangsta rap, I believe that, if true, the rich white man has once again succeeded in making a profit off the work of black artists and went even further by profiting off of the misfortunes of imprisoned young men and women of the streets.

If more of these claims of a secret meeting are revealed, I think that it will greatly impact the rap industry because many people will boycott the purchasing of rap music for a number of reasons. First, I do not think that people would want to continue to support an industry that is attempting to entice our generation to commit crimes in order for music industry executives to, not only profit off of the sale of the music, but also to profit off of their private prisons being completely full. Secondly, I do not think that the next generation of rap listeners will be able to experience rap because parents will not want their children listening to music that was created to encourage people to commit crimes.

For the sake of hip hop music, I hope that this story is false because the implications of this secret meeting could have tremendously negative effects on rap.


  1. While I was reading the article I was almost convinced that it was true, but thinking more into it now I really, really don't think so for two main reasons: (1) violence, crime, drugs, etc. already existed long before this supposed meeting took place, and (2) if this anonymous person was truly seen as a critical player in the future of rap, then it would be easy to find out who it was through the specific info they gave about themselves -- where they're from, and the year they left the music business.
    It's irrational to think that the only reason rappers started writing about these things was because of this "meeting." Sooner or later people of the lower socioeconomic class would start expressing their lives through some sort of art form. I feel that since rap developed in poor areas even before this "meeting", that the topic of daily struggles already present in these areas would eventually arise through lyrics.
    Secondly, even though the letter was posted recently, it wouldn't take very long for someone to search the details of this person online to find who supposedly wrote it. If he honestly were scared for the safety of his family, I don't think he would have included such specific details about himself.

  2. In my opinion, it would be very difficult to support this argument as the major contributors to gangster rap were, in their beginings, true gangsters and drug dealers before they started to rap (eg. Jay-Z, Biggie, 50 Cent). To say that these black men wanted to imprison other black men from their cities is, in my opinion, completely rediculous. Especially to say this was an act of white America, as whites were not very involved in gangster rap, makes this argument difficult to support.

  3. This article is disturbing no matter how truthful it is. Personally, although I believe the story to be at least not entirely true, I can see truthful and untruthful aspects.

    The truth in this story is that "decision makers" are in charge of a business. Businesses need to make a profit. If within a business there are multiple ways of making a profit, if one fails, the business will not necessarily fail, and if both succeed, then the business can thrive. In this case, the company identifies two ways of making a profit: (1) off the rap music, (2) off the private prisons. This method would give these people an opportunity for large profit gains. Therefore, from strictly a monetary stand point, avoiding ethics and laws, which place these already successful businessmen in danger of more than losing money, this story may be true.

    However, I can also untruthful aspects of the story because it is risky on behalf of the "decision makers." Besides the plan's immorality and illegality, it supports "Gangster Rap," which increases violent tendencies among listeners, placing more in private prisons. Although the lyrics are intended to have an affect on the listeners, they may also persuade the rappers to commit violent acts. Despite the increase in prisoners in the case, the white businessmen would lose their source of profit.

    Therefore, I personally, do not believe that this story is entirely true. In any case, this letter is remarkably disturbing and hints at the fact that these "decision makers" have too much power in the rapping industry.

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  6. This article doesn't seem too far from the truth. I believe industries mold their artist in ways they believe would be most beneficial to them. Industries want to make profits, and in order to do this, they sell what they believe would influence the majority of people and bring in the most money. This argument is also believable because you often here artist talk about the lack of control of their projects they have. we often here them complain about how their producers and managers wanted them to rap about certain things to sell more records, at the expense quality music being put out. Not very many positive rappers get signed to record deals, and when they do get signed, their style changes to what we now call "gangster rap", which shows the control the 'music industry' has on what is released to the public.
    Over all I believe people are willing to do a lot for money which is why such an article does not surprise me, and I believe this is very believable.

  7. The article seemed like another conspiracy that surrounds hip hop. Although gangster rap is about guns, drugs, prostitution, etc, those were already present in the ghettos and artists will speak about the conditions. Some artists believe that they should not be responsible for people imitating them and getting in trouble with the law. Cam'ron said in an interview on the Bill O'Reily show that he just reports what goes on in the ghetto. So people going to prison are not necessarily the result of "gangster rap," even if it elicits what goes on.
    Additionally, I agree with Tia that the industry does have an effect on artists and some are often controlled by their producers, such as in the case of Lupe with his LASERS album. However, I disagree that artists need to produce "gangster rap" after they get signed because there are still many successful and positive rappers also.



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