Last week Common was invited to the White House to read poetry. Republicans shit a brick over it and tried as hard as they could to link him to the cop killing themes that rap had in the 1980’s and early ’90’s. Apparently they can’t read. Despite a small affinity for the Black Panthers, Common’s music is a call to peace and a call to leave behind the gangster ways that African Americans (read: poor black people) are stereotyped as having.

I am always amazed at the analysis which is applied to 21st century rap music. It always seems as though the individuals doing the analysis stopped listening to hip hop in 1995 and assumed that it would continue along the same path forever and ever. That would have been convenient for TV personalities such as Sean Hannity or political figures such as Sarah Palin, because that would have given them some fantastic ammunition against the inclusion of Common at the White House poetry reading. However, this is not the case.

Hip hop and rap have evolved much as the rappers have. There are still rappers who get into trouble with the law constantly, however in most cases hip hop and rap artists use street living less as content and instead have turned to lyrics which include self-promotion (general awesomeness, possessions, skillZ) or extremely sexual content, again promoting how much juicy p*$$y they can get which is a sign of wealth. Rappers aren’t fighting the man anymore. They are clamoring to the top of the “Whoever dies with the most paper, bitches, and plantinum hits first wins!” ladder, appealing to more and more white teenage boys in the suburbs and relating less and less to the continuing African American issues which still exist in cities such as Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

That prominent (read: loud-mouthed) individuals have not been able to hire an intern young enough to explain this change in content speaks to their continuing effort to instill fear and mistrust. However, I would like to point out one hip hop artist who is actually speaking out through his music. His record company even tried to prevent his album from being released because they feared any backlash from powerful political figures due to the lyrics. This rapper is Lupe Fiasco and while I don’t agree with all of his lyrics, I commend him for being so current with his “lyrical thesis” (thanks Biggie). Please enjoy one of his most recent songs “Words I Never Said.” I like it because he basically calls everyone out on their complacency. I put the lyrics below the video if you want to follow along.

(Chorus)
It’s so loud Inside my head
With words that I should have said!
As I drown in my regrets
I can’t take back the words I never said
I can’t take back the words I never said

(Verse 1)
I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit
Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets
How much money does it take to really make a full clip
9/11 building 7 did they really pull it
Uhh, And a bunch of other cover ups
Your childs future was the first to go with budget cuts
If you think that hurts then, wait here comes the uppercut
The school was garbage in the first place, thats on the up and up
Keep you at the bottom but tease you with the uppercrust
You get it then they move you so you never keeping up enough
If you turn on TV all you see’s a bunch of “what the f-cks”
Dude is dating so and so blabbering bout such and such
And that aint Jersey Shore, homie thats the news
And these the same people that supposed to be telling us the truth
Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit
Thats why I aint vote for him, next one either
I’ma part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful
And I believe in the people.

(Chorus)

(Verse 2)
Now you can say it aint our fault if we never heard it
But if we know better than we probably deserve it
Jihad is not a holy war, wheres that in the worship?
Murdering is not Islam!
And you are not observant
And you are not a muslim
Israel don’t take my side cause look how far you’ve pushed them
Walk with me into the ghetto, this where all the Kush went
Complain about the liquor store but what you drinking liquor for?
Complain about the gloom but when’d you pick a broom up?
Just listening to Pac aint gone make it stop
A rebel in your thoughts, aint gon make it halt
If you don’t become an actor you’ll never be a factor
Pills with million side effects
Take em when the pains felt
Wash them down with Diet soda!
Killin off your brain cells
Crooked banks around the World
Would gladly give a loan today
So if you ever miss payment
They can take your home away!

(Chorus)

(Verse 3)
I think that all the silence is worse than all the violence
Fear is such a weak emotion thats why I despise it
We scared of almost everything, afraid to even tell the truth
So scared of what you think of me, I’m scared of even telling you
Sometimes I’m like the only person I feel safe to tell it to
I’m locked inside a cell in me, I know that there’s a jail in you
Consider this your bailing out, so take a breath, inhale a few
My screams is finally getting free, my thoughts is finally yelling through

(Chorus)

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