â€œâ€¦There isnâ€™t a relationship between Hip Hop and violence, its just the misconception of what Hip Hop is that makes it appear that way. People see 50cent as the dude who got shot nine times and make a direct correlation between him and what Hip Hop is but donâ€™t know much about those who try to promote peace and happinessâ€¦.â€ (Frisko: 2008)
Thus far weâ€™ve gathered information from Theologians, Historians, Sociologists, Authors and those who use Hip Hop Culture as a way of life. All have had positive and negative things to say and contributed arguments for and against the correlation between Hip Hop Culture and youth crime in the UK.
Last week, I wrote about Hip Hop being a â€˜scapegoatâ€™ for modern society to use when looking into the increasing ASBO culture, the rise in teen pregnancies, the state of our education system and of course, gun and knife crime. Many people (particularly politicians like David Cameron) have held Hip Hop responsible, but of course, others beg to differ.
Twenty Seven year old Ali Gadema (AKA, Frisko), a former gang member and drug dealer from Manchester, founded â€˜Hip Hop Mondaysâ€™- a Northern parallel to the Bronx emcee battles from the 80â€™s. He believes Hip Hop â€œsaved him.â€ Over time, he developed a strong relationship with Hip Hop which became an: â€œEscapeâ€¦a release of anguish in musical form.â€ He said. â€œLittle did I know I was already into the culture because the culture is a diverse and eclectic thing created for loveâ€¦Misogyny breedsâ€™ misogyny so if societies misogynistic then that will reflect in your culture if societyâ€™s inherently criminal then that will reflect in your culture. There is plenty of positivistic but people choose to focus on the negative...â€
Frisko insists that the â€œdilutedâ€ version of Hip Hop is indeed where the â€œnegativity resides.â€ Like Afrika Bambaataa, he trusts that Hip Hop offers a positive alternative and in fact decreases youth crime: â€œâ€¦at least these kids are grabbing mics and not shooting people- a lot of the shootings are by teenagers (14-17 year olds), most of the guys wonâ€™t be emcees, theyâ€™ll be criminals because theyâ€™re in a dark place.â€
In support of Friskoâ€™s argument, Rap songs such as â€˜Routine Checkâ€™ (a Brit hop track by Kano, The Mitchell Brothers and The Streets), proves that authentic Hip Hop and the idea of social commentary still exists. They speak of the annoyance of the SUS laws that have been singling out a lot of young black male Britons since the eighties.
Additionally, there have even been â€˜Brit hopâ€™ mentors like Charles Bailey encouraging youths to come together and to make Hip Hop tracks for the likes of Princess Diana.
Furthermore, we have T-shirts, badges and other memorabilia with bold campaigns against gun and knife crime. There are countless â€˜R.I.Pâ€™ signs and portraits of teens who lost their lives to gun and knife violence which in many ways is there to remind us of the consequences of criminal actions and just like it was back in the 1970â€™s and 80â€™s, itâ€™s a means of expressing oneâ€™s self in an artistic form (which yes, may not be legal, but has got to be better than expressing oneâ€™s feelings in negative forms such as revenge). Of course, Break dancing still exists and is now a global phenomenon that has unified the world and has become increasingly popular generation after generation. With all this in mind, it is evident that authentic Hip Hop still exists but is overshadowed by the powers of commercialism.
So, do we still challenge Hip Hop, or is it now safe to say the misguided minds of the corporate world is to blame?
Iâ€™ll allow the most important people to answer that question (you the readers) and Iâ€™ll be drawing my own conclusion in the final part of this series, next week.
In the meantime, stay blessed,