Sigh, I love a good debate! And this one is even more fun because each debater was limited to 40 characters per argument, lol. Lupe Fiasco has been known to inspire some pretty intense hip-hop related thoughts on Twitter. He had Kanye West re-thinking the word bitch a while back and he recently got into it (in a friendly, intellectual way) with fellow rapper Talib Kweli. Lupe‘s been using his Twitter account recently to address violence in pop culture and hip-hop, and Talib joined in on the discussion as well. Click inside to learn more.
Ultimately, I’d break the two sides of the debate down like this: Talib argues that violence in hip-hop is a reflection of violence in the community, which is a reflection of violence in society. He doesn’t see hip-hop as responsible for creating a violent mentality in young people; he really feels like violent lyrics are merely a symptom of a violence that already exists, and that coming after rap artists about their lyrics is sort of counterproductive.
Contrarily, Lupe absolutely believes rappers should be held responsible for participating in– and perpetuating– a certain glorification of violence. Peep the tweets! The whole convo got started when someone asked Talib how he can teach respect for women to his young kids who listen to Rick Ross (Rick just came under fire for some lyrics that basically say it’s cool to have sex with a woman when she’s unconscious AKA to rape her):
And the debate rages on! Complex has the rest of the tweets HERE. Asking about violence and/in hip-hop is sort of like the chicken v. egg question; it’s difficult to determine which comes first. Obviously, violence in communities has existed since looooong before hip-hop, but it’d be foolish to deny the specific relationship between the two now.
I can see where both Talib and Lupe are coming from, but I’m probably more likely to side with Lupe‘s argument. At this point, rappers aren’t just painting portraits of their hoods. Our biggest rappers aren’t even in the hoods anymore and while it’s perfectly fine to reminisce and remember where you came from, we can’t pretend that glorification isn’t an issue. Violence is definitely cool in hip-hop– and yes, in lots of other artistic mediums. I don’t think anyone ever listens to a rap song with violent lyrics and then decides to commit a crime. However, I’d also argue that it can’t help to have the violence in one’s community sensationalized on wax. But here’s where personal responsibility and parental responsibility come in. I’d sooner ask parents to do a better job at parenting than I’d ask rappers to clean up their lyrics.
What do y’all think? Who makes the stronger argument, in your opinion– Talib or Lupe? It’s also just nice to see the conversation happening in a public forum.