In Defense of Hip hop Essay
The article “In Defense of Hip-Hop” was an article written by Cathleen Rountree. Rountree claims hip-hop is unfairly made the scape goat of violent words and acts by Congress and other “bastions of self-righteousness” (para. 1). Rountree uses comparison by comparing the way some individual claim “Hip Hop made me do it” to a popular phrase by Flip Wilson, “The Devil made me do it! ” Rountree also utilizes her personal experiences by stating the documenting “Tupac Resurrection” changed he views on hip hop.
Rountree goes on to use the film “The Hip-Hop Project” as proof that hip hop can have as positive influence on people’s lives. Rountree uses these strategizes very well in he narrative to help draw the reader towards her point of view. The purpose of this article is to defend all the negative attention focused on hip-hop. This article is a good informational article people believe that hip hop makes people act a certain way or do certain things but it does not. In the article Rountree talks about Don Imus and Al Sharpton, saying they point the finger of blame directly at hip hop.
Rountree goes on to explain that she as well once blamed hip hop for violent words and acts until she watched “Tupac Resurrection” Rountree the mentions “The Hip-Hop Project” a film produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah. “The Hip Hop Project” is the true story of Kazi, a formerly homeless teen who tries to inspire New York City teens to change their lives. Kazi challenges the teens to turn their life stories into works of art by writing songs about real life issues affecting their lives, which helps them get pass these issues and deal with them in a positive way.
Rountree does a good job in proving her point that hip hop isn’t to blame by making her first point. Rountree claims that people like Don Imus have “used hip-hop as an excuse for his long-standing and well-documented proclivity for racial epithets. ”(212) Rountree references the infamous words of Don Imus when he called the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hoes”. Rountree states Imus is known to have a well-documented history of blaming hip-hop for his racial epitaphs. Rountree states that people like Rev. Al Sharpton pointed the finger at hip-hop for “all that ails contemporary pop culture”.
Rountree goes on to use a comparative approach to prove her point by referencing Flip Wilson’s popular character that would claim “The Devil made me do it! ”(212) In doing so Rountree offers a comparison to the way some people point the finger of blame directly at hip hop basically proclaiming “Hip hop made me do it! ”(212) Rountree’s next point is through personal experience, stating that no one should judge something without having some insight into that subject matter, which she states she had done before seeing “Tupac Resurrection. ” “Tupac Resurrection” is a documentary on the life and times of well-known rap artist Tupac Shakur.
Rountree claims that through “Tupac Resurrection” she found hip-hop to be “in addition to artistic, both political and spiritual, and makes people think. ”(212) Rountree claims that watching “Tupac Resurrection” changed her views on hip hop by stating “The two hour screening time was for me an epiphany and an entirely new world opened up: a world of beats, words, images, insights, raw expressions that were positively transporting. ”(212) In her final point Rountree provides an example of how hip hop has positively influenced people’s lives, citing the film “The Hip Hop Project.”
Through collaboration with well-known hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and Bruce Willis, the group produces a “powerful and thought-provoking album”(212) according to Rountree. The film follows Kazi who helps youths overcome their own personal circumstances by writing songs. Rountree proclaims that “It should be required viewing for both Don Imus and Al Sharpton. ”(213) In saying this Rountree offers up that two people who both blame hip hop for violent words and actions would learn a lot about the good that hip hop does do.
Rountree’s assessment is clear that hip hop isn’t always to blame for young people’s violent words and actions. I would say that Rountree’s reasoning is very sound and she makes some excellent points. I believe it is impossible to say how much hip hop really does affect the behavior of certain individuals. It is like Samuel L. Jackson said in the film “Coach Carter” referencing use of a slang term that other African Americans often call themselves but get angry, and rightfully so, when Caucasians use it. “Your using it teaches him to use it. You’re saying it’s cool. ”
In that sense, I believe, Rountree while not even realizing it states basically the same thing when she says “Don’t blame Hip Hop artists, for they are simply reflecting their surrounding environment. ”(212) Therefore, one could conclude that when young people commit violent acts or say certain words that they heard their favorite artist say they are simply “reflecting their environment. ” I know Rountree was saying that hip hop artists are just singing about their life circumstances, how they were raised essentially.
Well some individuals think the way they were raised is “cool” therefore they want to emulate them. They want their lifestyle. Besides this one minor detail, I whole heartedly agree with Rountree and her main point. One thing Rountree could have use to help establish her point would have been free will. Free will is defined by websters dictionary as “freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or divine intervention”, I would hardly call hip hop music divine intervention.