Monday, July 15, 2013

Pushing The Envelope Too Far

        I grew up listening to rap music. In fact I was a hip hop fiend. If there was a soundtrack for my teen years it would be break beats, and turntable scratches. I can still remember the excitement I used to feel whenever I would go into "The Wiz" in Brooklyn or "Rock and Soul" in Manhattan to buy the latest Eric B. and Rakim, or Kool Moe Dee album. Yes, I said album! This was right before CD's, and about 20 years before mp3's. Most rappers or rap groups were different from one another. They each had their own style, and their own message. The variety was probably what I loved the most about the genre. Nobody sounded like anybody else, and artists took pride in being original. Of course there were always those who were very explicit. They cursed, they promoted violence, and called women every horrible name in the book. It wasn't right by any stretch of the imagination. But when I was 15 or 16 years old it was kind of exciting. The exploration of the forbidden always is when you're that age. 

        Many rappers have gone on to push the boundaries of taste, music, and art. The profane has had an almost numbing affect on society, and has given way to 4 minutes & 15 seconds of posturing, braggadocio, and materialistic nonsense. The vast majority of the music is vitually indistinguishable, and originality has given way to the corporatization of hip hop as music and a culture as a whole. Today's rapper or hip hop "artist" will say everything, and anything for a buck, even though the most popular artists have creative control. 

        Over the past few years, there have been a proliferation of rappers who have chosen to openly mock God. Spouting outrageous nonsense throughout 16 bars of nothing, using hallelujah as a hook as if it were nothing more than a footnote or an after thought. Whether they realize it or not money has become their God, and they idolize and worship the material possessions that money can buy. Some have even become so puffed up and bolstered by fortune and fame that they have even taken to boldly proclaiming themselves God. Really?! God's child was not named after a primary color or map coordinents. His name was Jesus! 
God is not a man who has to prove his worth to himself or the rest of the world. God is the omnipotent king who created the world. But he is not of this world.

         When taken to task for their music. These artists will undoubtedly wrap themselves in a freedom of expression mantra because in the past it has always given a pass to creative minds who've sought to express themselves in a unique fashion. But there are times when artistic license goes way too far. When an a rapper uses blasphemy to promote his own cause. They are pushing the envelope straight to hell.


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