Growing up, I used Hip Hop as a way to learn about the world around me. From politics, to culture, language, geography, history, all this could be heard in your rap record of the late 80′sa and early 90′s. Then something changed in the late 90′s. Rap records talking about something other than partying and using drugs, became “underground” and labeled conscience. There was a shift, that continues to live on today. Listening to your radio or reading your popular Hip Hop zine all you hear and see is the same stories of niggativity.
With that said. Salute to emcee and homie Homeboy Sandman for taking the time to put this great piece together addressing the connection between Hip Hop and the prison for profit system. HS wrote this article for Huffington Post who refused to post it recently. No worries… It’s right here for you to digest. It’s a great read I definitely suggest checking it out. Thanks to Homeboy Sandman, and make sure you check out this new LP “First Of A Living Breed” out now via Stones Throw Records.
GoldenUndergroundTV recently released an interview I did with them late last year. I got a bit animated at the end. Only so many interviews in a row I could handle being asked about Chief Keef.
My tirade wasn’t really about Chief Keef. It wasn’t about Gucci Mane or Wocka Flocka or any of the acts spontaneously catapulted into stardom by synchronized mass media coverage despite seemingly universal indifference (at the very best) regarding their talent. Whose arrests, involvement in underaged pregnancies, concert shootouts, and facial tattoos, dominate conversation for weeks at a time, with their actual music a mere afterthought, if thought of at all.
My tirade was about marketing. It was about media powers seeking out the biggest pretend criminal kingpins they can find, (many of whom who shamelessly adopt the names of actual real life criminal kingpins like 50 Cent and Rick Ross), and exalting them as the poster children for a culture. It was about an art form reduced to product placement, the selling of a lifestyle, and ultimately, a huge ad for imprisonment.
This is not my opinion.
Last year Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the biggest name in the private prison industry, contacted 48 states offering to buy their prisons. One stipulation of eligibility for the deal was particularly bizarre: “an assurance by the agency partner that the agency has sufficient inmate population to maintain a minimum 90% occupancy rate over the term of the contract.
What kind of legitimate and ethical measures could possibly be taken to ensure the maintenance of a 90% prison occupancy rate?