Bringing the Global Strength of Hip-Hop to Education



We Better Than That

Quoted from Mwana Ba Africa:

I will preface this post by saying that I am well aware that all Black and/or African people are not the same and this extends to all stereotyping that can happen when groups are lumped together.  The works discussed here are what they are because of the very specific circumstances the artists live in, but their message can be applied to people in similar circumstances not just because they are Black and/ or African. They can also resonate with anyone who is subjected to confinement, discouragement and/ or prejudice, especially when borne of anything fear related.

I am a fan of music with a message and have blogged about it before. Saw this music video by Slikour  and was very moved by it both visually and lyrically

Here is him speaking about why he released the song.  Themes in Slikour’s song are actually mirrored nicely in The Throne’s (Jay-Z and Kanye West) Ni**as in Paris and Yasiin Bey’s (formerly known as Mos Def) response Ni**as in Poorest.

Though the song is inspired by the South African Zeitgeist, it resonates with the issues relating to the Black experience around the world…

Read more at Mwana Ba Africa.

KPR’s Top 10 Conscious/Intelligent Hip Hop Songs of 2011

2011 saw the rise of new artists with the propensity to speak truth like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. It also saw the rebirth of some classic intelligent rappers like Common with his December release of The Dreamer/The Believer. Below are Knowledge Power Respect’s picks for America’s best intelligent, thought-provoking tracks of 2011.

The judging was made both on the issues and messages of the songs as well as how pleasing it was to the ears. Feel free to let us know if we left something off or if we chose something that doesn’t deserve to be there. Happy new year.

1. Clap – Saigon


2. Lost Ones – J. Cole


3. The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco


4. Best I Can – Blitz the Ambassador


5. Nothing Without Providence – Mr. J. Medeiros


6. Break Down – J. Cole


7. The Believer – Common ft. John Legend


8. No Make-Up (Her Vice) – Kendrick Lamar ft. Colin


9. Live & Let Live – Statik Selektah ft. Lecrae


10. Cold Rain – Talib Kweli

Occupy Hip-Hop

Editorial from

One morning last month, tired of the state of corporate-owned Hip Hop, a small group of people gathered in front of Intergalactic Records with picket signs saying “Hip Hop Sucks!”  That night, a DJ rolled up with some old school Kool Herc-type speakers and started blastin’ classic, underground Hip Hop, shaking the walls of the building. The movement has since spread like wildfire across the country as thousands of disgruntled former Hip Hop fans have begun gathering at radio stations across the country yelling “Give Hip Hop back to the 99%!”
Think this can’t happen? Think again.
With the Occupy Wall Street Movement in full swing, it is only a matter of time before somebody asks the question that will spark the rap revolution.
“Hey, don’t those 1 per centers also control the entertainment industry ?”
I think that I can safely say that 99% of the people reading this are fed up with the current state of Hip Hop and are ready to take it back from the 1% that are controlling the direction of the culture. There are only a hand full of major record labels (Sony, EMI , Warner and Universal) most of the radio stations are either owned by Clear Chanel or Radio-One and the major music video programs are all controlled by one company; Viacom. This explains why the same five Hip Hop artists are being played over and over again.
Without a doubt, Hip Hop is one of the most lucrative commodities on the planet and generates billions of dollars, annually, not only for entertainment companies but also  for the other Big Willie corporations that the Occupy Wall Street warriors are fighting against. Also, it can be argued that, unlike many of the resident Wall Street tycoons, the entertainment industry moguls are most dependent on “the streets” for their economic survival, making them the most vulnerable to successful protests.
In his book, “Black Labor, White Wealth,” Dr. Claud Anderson wrote that ” black music is the basis for one of the world’s wealthiest industries.” He also argues that “the historic exploitation of black music and other art forms provides a strong philosophical reason to target these industries as visible examples of a new black economic agenda.”
So, the question becomes not whether an “Occupy Hip Hop” movement will happen but why it hasn’t happened yet.
To jack that famous line from Public Enemy, ” the reasons are several, most of them federal.”
It has been reported that Hip Hop was one of the major motivating factors in the “Arab Spring” uprisings, as it captured the frustrations of the youth overseas. While the average person in the US may not fully grasp the international power of Hip Hop, the government has long recognized the tremendous influence that entertainers have globally: a power that they are not willing to let fall into the ” wrong hands.”
According to Dr. Penny Von Eschen in her book,  ”Race Against Empire,” during the 1950′s the US State Department set up “Cultural Affairs, Psychological Warfare and Propaganda” programs to control Uncle Sam’s international image. According to Von Eschen, the State Department recruited entertainers from jazz musicians to the Harlem Globetrotters to travel the globe proving to the world that living in America wasn’t that bad.
This is why, even today, despite poverty and record high unemployment, the Feds still need the image of millionaire Hip Hop artists destroying $300,000 cars in videos and throwing up hundred dollar bills in the clubs beamed to every country on Earth. Despite what the Occupy Wall Street “whiners” are crying about on CNN, the Feds need to project the international image that all is still good in the ‘hood.
Another reason why Hip Hop has not been occupied is that the people who you would think would be on the front line fightin’ the power are actually part of the power structure. Despite the revolutionary rhetoric of even some of the most socially conscious Hip Hop writers and artists, they are still trapped in the corporate matrix and aren’t really gonna spark the Gil Scott-Heron “Revolution that Will Not be Televised” or heard on the radio. Like most folks, they are just tryin’ to eat and they ain’t gonna go back to eatin’ Oodles of Noodles for dinner for none of ya’ll.
But then you have that pesky 5% at the bottom of the oppressed 99% ladder who really want to see complete constructive change and are willing to do any and everything to get it. Even if it means camping out in front of the Hot 99.9 station and starting a bonfire with Rick Ross cd’s and Lil Wayne posters. These are the ones who will put Hip Hop back in the hands of the people .
I know that I speak for the rest of the 99% when I say, “Enough of the Maybach music. It’s time for some “payback” music!

Youth and Hip-Hop in Zambian Presidential Elections

Last week saw aspiring candidates, the two front-runners both aged 74, run for the office of the president of Zambia, a country in which 46% of the population is aged 15 or below. One major criticism of the two septuagenarians  is that they come from the aging independence generation. It is said that they are out of touch with Zambian youth in an age where young cosmopolitan Zambian’s (or “afropolitans” as some call themselves) are always up to date with the latest global trends in fashion, music and books. That being said, I was very surprised when I saw one of the incumbent’s TV ads. I guess he, or at least one of his more vigilant campaign advisers, recognized the potential influence that hip-hop has on Zambia’s generations waiting in the wing. Not bad for a grandpa.

Rupia Banda, the old man at the end of this ad, lost the presidential election because the Zambian people were ready for a change. Congratulations to Michael Sata, Zambia’s 4th president. May your tenure be filled with hope, progress, and hip-hop!

J. Cole’s Song About Abortion


Yesterday J. Cole’s song Lost Ones leaked and immediately they tried to pull it off the web. Out of respect for Cole, I’m not going to post it, but the track was powerful. In this song, J really takes us into the mind of a couple that has to make decisions about an unwanted pregnancy. Great job for making us all feel what it’s like to be in this situation. J. Cole’s debut album will be out this fall.

Update: Now that J. has released the album I have reposted the track


Check out a few of the more provocative lyrics below

I refuse to bring my boy or my girl in this world
When I aint got sh*t to give ‘em
And I’m not with them n*ggas who be knocking girls up and skate out
Girl, you gotta think bout how the options weigh out
Whats the way out?

Now I’m pregnant you don’t wanna get involved muthaf***er
Tryna take away a life, are you God mothaf***er
I don’t think so
This a new life up in my stomach
Regardless if I’m your wife
This new life here I’mma love it
I aint budging, I’ll do this by my muthaf***ing self

Debate: Is Rihanna’s Sexual Behavior a Problem for Parents

The age-old debate: Are our public figures responsible for the messages that they portray?

This video portrays some good ideas with people supporting both sides. It starts off slow, but it definitely heats up. Make the choice yourself.

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