Photo by shing02
No better way to flush out the funk of the old year than with a healthy diet of new yearnings. 2011 presents a new hope, new aspirations –a chance to build new dreams and scale new heights. We asked your TRU Nation this question: If you ruled the world like Nasir, what wish would you grant hip-hop nation this year?
In 2011, it’s safe to say that we all want something. If you’re in the Kevin Michael school of thought, you probably think that we all want the same things. But that may not necessarily be true in all situations. I’d wager dollars to donuts that Lupe Fiasco and SouljaBoyTellem.com have different desires for the new year, but my wishlist actually includes both of them. In 2010, we saw these two make considerable waves with faux beefs, club jams, shots fired in interviews, record label protests, and of course tweets galore. The recent increased accessibility of our artists has degraded the mystique surrounding their personalities, split fanbases into rivaling factions, and turned rappers into reactionary founts of emotion that look more like high school social rivals than the musicians and entertainers that we pay them to be. At the risk of sounding like I’m quoting a radio station commercial, what I’d like to see this year is more music, and less talk. I think everyone would benefit from a conscientious decision to address any and all worthy issues over a break beat or piano loop rather than over the internet or on Ellen’s couch. Because, if I’m not mistaken, that’s why we’re here.
For 2011, I would like to see rappers get it together. In 2010, they were the butt of many jokes for all of their multiple arrests, trips to jail, being exposed by groupies and the fact that most of their mixtapes were better than their actual albums. I would like for them to just use common sense. Jail isn’t fun so stay out of it. That means leaving all things illegal alone (or doing them in your own house by yourself where no one can see you or videotape you *ahem..Soulja Boy*). Once you leave jail, stay out of jail (*ahem T.I.*) Leave the groupies alone, especially ones that you know like to expose via videotape & Worldstarhiphop the celebrities they sleep with (*ahem..too many celebrities that, for some reason unbeknownst to me, dealt with Kat Stacks*). Put quality music out and invest the time (and follow your vision) into your albums that you do your mixtapes (*ahem Wale*) and maybe then you’ll broaden your fan base AND get respect for your craft. Maybe all of this is easier said than done, but if it could be accomplished, 2011 would be a great year for hip hop.
Jaap van der Doelen:
Remember the rise in political activity in 2008? When the whole world was jumping on the Obama bandwagon hip-hop was right there at the forefront, taking part in the campaign, giving support and most of all, rapping about it. But after the 44th president of the United States was inaugurated we didn’t take long to fade into complacency. It’s not just that Barry could’ve used a bit more of our support, simple blind support for a politician is not what I’m arguing for, it’s our sudden withdrawal from the whole discussion that’s so demoralizing. Even when some of our own are harassed (#FREEONSMASH!) we fall strangely silent. Health care, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, WikiLeaks, these are all topics changing the world we live in, so why doesn’t our art reflect that world more often? A little over 2 years ago we proved the power of our voice, it’s my wish for 2011 that we rekindle that fire and see a resurgence of the political creative force hip-hop can be.
If I ruled the world 2011 would be a great year for rap. I’d like to see record companies begin to change their business model from the increasingly antiquated one that seems to place a choke-hold on artists through stifling contract language and alter the industry standard by adopting a model that makes money through alternative avenues allowing for more creative freedom and flexibility for the artist. No, I don’t have solutions listed out and no, I’m not employed by an entity in the music industry so my perspective is what it is but if I ruled the world people would be pushing for better quality music instead of being programmed through asshat local DJs who just want to be the rap version of Ryan Seacrest so ClearChannel can butt fuck my favorite genre and laugh about it.
Sketch the Journalist:
Dear rappers, in 2011 let’s try to stay out of incarceration, shall we? I’m sure silkscreeners across America appreciate the groundswell of “Free (Insert Jailed Rapper Name)” t-shirt business you’ve brought them recently – but enough already! In the last 365 days, everyone from Weezy to Wacka took a turn behind bars. T.I. must have really thought those orange jumpsuits were fashionable since he sported them twice during the calendar year. Your felonious ways are only perpetuating hip hop’s worse stereotypes and taking time away from promo tours and show dates that can fill your pockets instead of empty them.
Besides, nobody believes you actually live out the gangsta tales in your rhymes, so why waste prime earning years trying to prove your street cred?
Another trend I’d like to see this year is hip-hop treating faith as a serious and honorable topic instead of just a marketing ploy. Did you say you were “amazin’” or a “Free Mason?” If you follow Muhammad why don’t you make a positive contribution toward our world’s increasingly stressed conversation about post-9/11 extremists in your faith? Do you really believe in Horus or did you just get tired of wearing that Jesus piece?
Do something besides making your pulpit a prop. Trust me, we’ll all be better off if rap lyrics and imagery in 2011 do not inspire Hammer to make another “Better Run Run” video.