Hip hop and the ideal

Craig Maurice Willingham (craigmw@freenet.scri.fsu.edu)
Wed, 23 Aug 1995 14:08:37 -0400 (EDT)

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Giles Bowkett wrote:

"I don't think any more than you do that black people will drop rap
because white people like it. frankly, that interpretation assumes such
stupidity on my part that I'm insulted. but if white people create
demand for shit rap, which then because of the high demand floods the
market, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the overall quality of rap
declines drastically as a result, and if a new form of music is created
response to this."

I feel you may be misinterpreting my criticism. One of the main reasons
for this seems to stem from the fact that you like many others use the
terms hip hop and rap synonymouly. Contrary to popular belief they are
some what different. Rap is simply an expressive extention of hip hop, as
is graffti art, breakdancing, and hip hop music. What ever offence you may
have taken from my remarks I appolgize for. Still, you seem to place the
commerial (i.e. white) audience's intrest or lack of as an indicator for
hip hop's future. In all honesty, on a large scale white audiences
haven't been intersted in hip hop for several years. It's Renagade value
for them has been replaced by the more relative trappings of
so-called "alternitive" music. Clearly a look at any music trade publication
indicate that in the eyes of the industry hip hop is dead. Save for a
very few r&B/urban linked crossover artist, raps viability to the
industry has declined. An example of such lack of intrest is the fact
that a talented artist such as the Large Professor and many others would
actually have a difficult time gaining a worthy contract in todays
industy climate. For every Biggie Smalls
or Wu Tang there are 20 hip hop artist who barely sell 20,000 copies
making rap music a risky venture business wise.

I feel if you would have read my post more clearly you would have seen my
efforts to show that hip hop does exsist together and separate from rap.
Ilusions that hip hop should be the voice of the underground or socially
relevant are ones placed upon it by listeners and does not ultimatley
characterize hip hop expression. The difference between hip hop and other
art forms such as painting, ballet, etc., is in hip hop's lack of
It needs no strict model to aspire to, except for its own flexibility.
That said, I'll no longer clog the AJ list with this matter.


Craig Willingham