The current state of Hip Hop "Music" is a sad reflection on what was once a heritage of wonderful music from the African American community.
The Mills Brothers were a popular singing group that had a wide following throughout the country.
Nat King Cole was one of the best selling singers of his day.
Stevie Wonder has been honored as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation.
Somehow this rich musical legacy has devolved into the modern Hip Hop music industry where bad language, violence against women, drug usage, racism, and overall bad behavior is celebrated. Charlton Heston, the famous actor (Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments), was an outspoken critic of this trend.
Here is part of what he said in a speech to Harvard Law School in February 1999:
What I did was against the advice of my family and my colleagues. I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of "Cop Killer" -- every vicious, vulgar, instructional word:
I got my 12-Gauge sawed-off. I got my headlights turned off. I'm about to bust some shots off. I'm about to dust some cops off.It got worse, a lot worse. Now, I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that. Then I delivered another volley of sick lyrics brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing the two 12-year-old nieces of Al and Tipper Gore:
She pushed her butt against my --No. No, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left the room in stunned silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps outside, one of them said, "We can't print that, you know." "I know," I said, "but Time/Warner is still selling it."
Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warner Brothers, or get a good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you have to be willing to act, not just talk.
When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending herself, jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office. When your university is pressured -- your university -- is pressured to lower standards until 80% of the students graduate with honors, choke the halls of the Board of Regents. When an 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and then gets hauled into court for sexual harassment, march on that school and block its doorways. When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you -- petition them, oust them, banish them. When Time magazine's cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, crazy Christians holding a cross as it did last month, boycott their magazine and the products it advertises.
So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country.
If Dr. King were here, I think he would agree.
I thank you.
Fourteen years later, things have not gotten any better. The original versions of many Hip Hop songs can't even be played on the radio because they violate FCC vulgarity standards.
If there is a good side to this situation, it is that the songs of the Mills Brothers, Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder, and their peers are still available for people that enjoy real music.
Hip Hop is proof that evolution is false; that is the only explanation for how we got from the state of African American music from a couple of generations ago to the what it is today.