The Healer: Hip-Hop

Erykah Badu’s The Healer is the inspiration behind this blog. The chorus of the song goes something like

[The censored word above in this context is meant in a positive way].

Hip-hop, a cultural movement that attained widespread popularity in the 1980s and ’90s; also the backing music for rap (rhythm and poetry) and the musical style incorporating rhythmic and rhyming speech that became the movement’s most lasting and influential art form. For multiple generations of youngsters, Hip-Hop has specifically reflected the political, economic, and social realities of their lives. Although today’s hip-hop regularly features black youths posturing as rich thugs and indulging in expensive merchandise which has led to the belief that Hip-Hop is dead. However, people who study, love and appreciate Hip Hop culture would attribute words such as aspire, desire and inspire when describing how hip hop makes them feel. Hip-Hop is meant to express not to suppress.

Hip-Hop is a culture that keeps us ‘woke’ [being aware, and “knowing what’s going on in the community] as people of colour. It makes us aware of things that are hidden from us in media and society. Such as financial freedom/emancipation. The so-called ‘death of Hip-Hop’ is created by mainstream artists, who are commonly found rapping about the demeaning of women, praise of alcohol and drug abuse. A few different artists are rapping about their struggles and their successes, their lowest points and their highest points, their losses and their wins that occur in everyday life.

Today, we have artists, for examples J. Cole rapping about making it in the rap business without having to sell drugs. Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN” album which recently won 5 Grammy awards, there are parts where he makes references to financial emancipation. Even Jay-Z’s “4:44”. Not only does this culture keep us woke and make us aware of mental slavery in modern society. But some songs/artists take it as far as emotional emancipation. I don’t know if you refer to Lauryn Hill as a Hip-Hop artist but, I do.  She and people like Erykah Badu play a prominent role in building us as black women. There are songs like “Bag Lady” that teaches us to let go of our emotional baggage before it hinders our personal growth: “One day all them bags gon’ get in your way.”

There are struggles we face as black people then there are struggles we face as black women. And those are usually emotional that’s when artists like the aforementioned female ones come in the picture. To help us emancipate ourselves from being enslaved by emotions which are linked to black brothers who abandoned us.

I could go on and on about how Hip-Hop emancipates the mind, especially for the black youth. Hip-Hop is not afraid to talk about issues which most people shy away from like inequality and injustice, it talks about the struggles to be heard, the battles to be survived and it inspires me to never give up in life because anything is possible. Although Hip-Hop has broadened its horizons over the past few decades to the cars, clothes, women, money and lifestyle topics that we see today, the core message and concept of Hip-Hop, which is to create awareness and promote consciousness, still lives on in our music today.


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