I Quit Hip-Hop

KRS-One wants multitudes of people who have a problem with Afrika Bambaataa to quit Hip-Hop. That’s great because…

KRS-One wants multitudes of people who have a problem with Afrika Bambaataa to quit Hip-Hop. That’s great because…

I Quit Hip-Hop

Earlier this year, in April, several sexual allegations were brought against the pioneer of Hip-Hop music. A middle-aged man named Ronald Savage came forth to tell his encounters with the “Planet Rock” singer. Soon after, another gentleman named Hassan Campbell shared his story. He said the star molested him when he was 12-13 years old. Bambaata’s camp released an official statement referring to the allegations as “part of a government conspiracy.” Naturally, more men came forward to give their accounts to the press. Savage was a former music industry executive.

Campbell claims that during a meeting, Bambaataa ‘acknowledged the abuse and apologized to him at that meeting. The Hip-Hop pioneer promised he would get counselling, open up a centre for troubled youth and step down from the Zulu Nation.’ Apparently and unfortunately, he did not hold up to his promise.

Recently at a Q&A session in Birmingham, England, the famed 50-year-old Bronx rapper Lawrence “KRS-One” Parker decided to support Bambaataa, stating that if we, the consumers-supporters-artists-alike have an issue with Bambaataa, we should quit Hip-Hop. Excuse me. It is one thing to support someone, unconditionally, but it is another to be part of the shenanigans.

People, there is a huge problem here and we must address it like fully functional adults. We have to be accountable for all that we do and say. That’s what mentally stable individuals do. We cannot allow dictator types to silence us. We cannot allow someone to tell us to jump off of a ship we helped to build and sail. We have fed and continue to feed the captain(s). The culture and style of music, once seen as an abomination, was founded in the United States of America.

Ironically, with American history in mind, do you know what happened to the people who dared to have an unpopular or moral opinion in the early days of this country? They were as good as dead.

Just a decade ago, people whom “respected” Bambaataa (and did not know his truth) said the genre was dead, and now, they are the ones who have put it on their backs to keep it alive. They put their best foot forward, every day, for the sake of progression and making sure Hip-Hop thrives in today’s pop culture.

KRS-One could easily be compared to any government official, working with any politician. As a loyal employee, he works his hardest to erase (or ignore) the harshness and ugliness of his employers’ past. It’s also like saying no one should have questioned Jerry Sandusky because he was an American football coach.

Nas was right. Hip-Hop did die. I’d like to think he wasn’t just talking about the change in sound. He was also talking about the lack of structure left behind for us to move forward as a culture — leaving us lifeless and without a practical strategy for survival. We have died. We are still dead, like the culture. We are the living dead. Zombies against cultural divisiveness. Our bodies reject the hateful homophobic ways that nest and hide within Hip-Hop culture. It doesn’t just separate and divide us. It harms us as human beings.

Excuse me. Hip-Hop is a form of expression and opinion — and hopefully healing within the process of sharing stories. Had Bambaataa talked about same-sex relationships back in the 70s and 80s, as a closeted or open gay male, I would have been able to premiere a Zebra Katz video on one of Hip-Hop’s well-known magazine websites. Had he addressed other real issues that plagued the city as a genuine leader, maybe he could have helped people who listened to his music accept their gay children earlier in life.

But I know better. Fantasies and escapism are also a part of human life. As a fellow creative person with demons of her own, I can say that all artistic people — that breakthrough — have the tendency to find a way out of unpleasant realities. I think the darker your past, the more you want to escape and numb the pain. It takes a lot of money or a lot of pain and ambition to spearhead any movement. (Look back in history and get back to me if you think it’s a joke.)

Yes, I am grateful and thankful for Hip-Hop. However, I have the right to be disgusted. I have the right to challenge what I know. I have the right to challenge what I hear, and what I read. I also have the right to respond and to guide those with me now, and those who will come after me.

I am 30-years-old, and unfortunately, I do not know a time when Hip-Hop music wasn’t popular. However, I count myself lucky to have been accepted and welcomed into other genres of music. I am thankful for variety but until select individuals in Hip-Hop grow up, I’ll be over here: In the non-judgmental aisles, finding and addressing my own faults and taxing others who ignore theirs.

No one should be able to hide behind accolades and status within a community because a certain kind of sex is taboo. No one should try to clown or goof or emasculate another human being because they are not ‘macho’ or ‘manly’ when you are part of the reason why they do not know how to be men, and why these men feel lost, and why they are sexually, emotionally and mentally challenged.

I respect individuals who respect themselves and others. This is not the 70s or the 80s or the blood clot 90s where anything goes.

Happily, I quit the Hip-Hop without structure and guidance. I quit the Hip-Hop that promised to raise us up but held us down. I quit the Hip-Hop that never gave a damn about us and our well-being. I quit the Hip-Hop that left us for dead but pretended to be progressive and, for us and by us. I quit the secretive Hip-Hop who took part in hypocritical lifestyles, for self-pleasure and the demise of our people. I quit the Hip-Hop that hates my very being because I have an opinion. I quit Hip-Hop because it quit me and others who are open-minded like me, a long time ago.

Written by Richardine Bartee

Her unprejudiced love for people, the arts, and business have taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, and a GRAMMY U Mentor. She is the North American Press Agent and US Business Manager for Oxlade; Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.


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