We had a bad snowstorm last night here in Philadelphia, and that made us cancel our Wednesday night event. Not accustomed to having so much time on my hands, I tried to work on music, but I also managed to check out a movie on television. That movie was “Straight Outta Compton” which emphasized the emergence of gangsta rap and showed how it got started. On the surface the movie seemed like one more of those exploited Black films with lots of stereotypes, but the one thing that intrigued me was the “realness” of it. Gangsta rap was a part of living for many in the hood during that time, and no matter how great you were at it you could still be taken advantage of this business. It had a lot to do with drug money and freedom of speech. The main reason I mention it today was because of a certain group called NWA (Niggas with Attitude) who at one point put out a song entitled “F— the Police.” The song glorified the shooting of police and created an dangerous atmosphere of diversity. While the song appeared to be “extremely rebel” it also was an advocate for “freedom of speech.” The song was popular and the police (rightfully so) felt it was a threat to their lives through the promotion of violence. The problem was that the “more” the police tried to shut it down the “more attention and popularity” they were actually bringing to the song. This song also coincided with the LA riots and the police brutality beating of Rodney King in California which also helped to initiate the hype. Because of this the police actually contributed heavily to the popularity of the tune through their own activities. This shows the importance of music and the message that music often conveys. A great song is more than just a beat. If it reflects what people are feeling lyrically then it has the potential to be a hit (through promotion, of course). You can say what you want about rap music (or even gangsta rap) but if it sells then that must mean there is a reason behind it. I am a big advocate for “real music.” If you have not seen this movie, I invite you to check it out for yourself. The rating is extremely bad (language, nudity and violence) but that is because the movie reflects real life during that time. It also helps to show you how rap stars like Doctor Dre, Snoop Dog, and Tupac got started. To me, this was a good film, and I hope you get to check it out. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Chuck D (from Public Enemy- “Fight the Power”) in concert with Brett Jolly on bass