HipHopWired Featured Video

Class is officially back in session. Public Enemy member Professor Griff recently addressed a crowd at a forum in Muskegon Heights to bluntly inform that for those that feel as though people like Jay-Z are the face of Hip-Hop, are idiots.

Held Saturday at the Muskego Heights Boxing Club in Michigan, the classroom had a turnout of more than 150 people. The actual event was sponsored by the local radio station 103.7 The Beat and is one of a series of workshops that will be hosted by the station this year with similar, culturally related topics.

“You’re not going to agree with everything I’m going to say, I’m just going to tell you that from the beginning,” said Griff. “Those people who are going to get angry and red-faced with me, that’s fine too, because I have to move you out of your comfort zone.”

In a lecture titled “Black Music: The Psycho Analytical Destruction of a Stolen Legacy,” Griff goes in to enlighten minds and break down the logistics behind music and the politics that are associated with it. He reached out to those that enjoy what they hear on the radio and see Jay-Z as the symbol for the genre and plainly stated that there is a problem.

“If you listen to the local radio station and you’re digging what’s going on the station and you’re going down to the club and partying into that same madness, you’re going to have a problem with The Professor today,” he continued. “If you think — someone on the panel said Jay Z is the face of Hip-Hop — if you think he is, you’re definitely going to have a problem with Griff today.”

From there, Griff opened up his mental book of history as he proceeded to break down a music history lesion that gave heavy emphasis on contributions from socially conscious singers and great musicians such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin.

He further opened the lesson by pointing out the fact that the music industry, heavily ran by white people, has benefited greatly from Black music, in terms of finances. He also added that they can be a factor behind why rappers glorify negatives aspects of life as they are rewarded by the industry when they put on the mask and play the tough guy gangsta rapper role. In a sense, it has become a modern day minstrel show for Hip-Hop in which they play these roles, although they are fully aware of the misrepresentation, in order to secure their financial future.

“What’s the subtle, subconscious symbol that they send people? That you got to be like this in order to come in and make it in this world. We have to be defendants of our culture and defend our children from this kind of madness. Are you following me? We have to at least do that.”

If the bawse wants us ta tap in these dere shoes and rap about murder murder and kill kill, Izza gonst ta do it. (If the boss wants us to tap in these here shoes and rap about murder-murder, kill-kill, I’m going to di it.)

It is bad enough that Blacks are negatively portrayed in the media and it is time to set a higher standard for what is acceptable as opposed to allowing these stereotypes to continue its increase. Although it has been deemed as artistic expression, integrity must be upheld and regardless of whether artists are willing to accept their impact on young minds and the media, they should still be held accountable and take note of what they are throwing out there.