I enjoy my fair share of hip-hop just like anyone else (well that’s not entirely true, let me stop lying). Nevertheless, is it just me, or have some artists gone too far with their message of rampant consumerism? While I am not one to bash the whole genre and blame rap music for the demise of an entire generation, I do believe that at some point, as informed consumers we have to stop and ask ourselves, “What the f*ck did he/she just say and how does that ish really pertain to me?” I don’t know about you, but I don’t “ball so hard” and the ish that I particularly find cray is five-dollar gas prices.

If you didn’t notice by my references, the latest rappers to perturb me are Kanye West and Jay Z.

I may be one of the only people who did not purchase, or listen to every song off of the Watch The Throne album. But the two that I have heard–OTIS and the infamous, too often recited N*ggas in Paris–make me want to throw up in my mouth. After barely getting through both songs in their entirety, I thought my head was going to rupture, and I wouldn’t be able to afford my subsequent melt down with the exorbitant cost of health care.

In fact, I kinda find some of this music to be in bad taste, considering the real economic conditions of some of the most ardent Hip-Hop followers. These guys have the problems of the 1%, with concerns such as “spilling ace of spades” on a pair of Jordans. A $1200 bottle of champagne, that cost more than most folks’ rent or mortgage. I’m just saying, the least of the 99% concerns are “Audemars that don’t tick tock” (which can cost as much as $500,000). The sad part is that some of us can recall these lyrics more than we can the debtors we owe.

What frightens me is that, collectively, the world is experiencing an economic crisis, but Black folk are being disproportionately impacted by this fiscal catastrophe. With African-Americans average a net worth of a whopping 20 times lower than whites in this country, (only about $2,000), and one study even finding that the median net worth for Black women is a meager five-dollars, we should really give less than a damn that Kanye West is “about to go dumb again” because he “pulled up in [his] other, other Benz.”

These hip-hop songs boasting of all the material items they have accumulated, and the fabulous gold-plated, diamond-encrusted lives they live is a bit passé. Unfortunately, Americans (and specifically black folks) are the ultimate consumers and eat up every word of this mess up, dying to buy new Louis Vuitton bags (or sneakers), when they receive government assistance, or live a paycheck above the poverty line.

As Yasiin would say, “Poor so hard….that ish cray.”

Am I wrong for putting some of the blame on hip-hop for keeping Black folk in debt, or are their more substantial factors involved?

57 Comments

  1. gmarie

    a good number of Black Americans have ALWAYS been flashy and have ALWAYS used material possessions to try to belong and show “others” that we are “successful”. This was before hip hop existed. Yes hip hop has helped to perpetuate the problem here in modern times (hence the reason we’ve seen so many multi-millionaire athletes sadly go broke) but it’s a problem that has always existed in our community.

    • Before hip hop athletes have gone broke, hip hop is not a cause a lack of financial understanding is a cause. Giving an 18 20 million dollars and not telling them how to handle it is like giving a baby a boat load of candy and expecting it to save most of it.

  2. gmarie

    @ LALA

    YES! to “buy what you want borrow what you need” nail on the head. I see this in a lot of our women AND men though. prime example being the circus surrounding the latest Nike shoe release this past weekend.

  3. RedLady

    It happens in every genre, country and rock it is rampant. Objectifying women and using them as punching bags, unnecessary violence, and other similar things.

  4. tuesday

    Without question, hip hop plays a major role in the rampant consumerism our community.

    Rappers are “The Jones” and some of us are constantly trying to keep up with them. And it doesn’t help that radio stations play the same hip hop songs over and over, many of which promote footwear, mobile phones, jewelry, clothes, cars and alcohol. Music videos are even worse. Close-up shots of clothes, money and cars are commonplace. We are bombarded. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where I learned to emulate my parents. But I know everyone is not as lucky as me.

    At the end of the day, they don’t walk us into the store. We make the choices. But we can’t deny the influence of this genre of music.

    It’s a shame that Jay-Z and/or Kanye don’t rap about getting an education or saving some money. Somehow I think they could make it sound like the cool thing to do.

  5. After reading the article and about half of the post it seems some people have a better idea of what the real problem is and that writer of the article is an idiot, well maybe not an idiot but a pretentious individual who is too blinded by perception to see reality. The biggest thing i have not seen in the comment sections and article is talk about financial education and how we as African Americans lack it, hell most Americans lack it. Stop looking to blame entertainment and start blaming our school systems, parents and grandparents. If we are given tools to advanced we will be we are not so of course we try to chase any form of the “American Dream” that looks better than ramen noodles and project buildings.

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