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?

  • http://www.innyvinny.com Alicia

    There are more substantial factors at play, but the music certainly doesn’t help. A lot of folks are still in the cycle of spending money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like/know/care about. A lot of lyrics and messaging in hip-hop feed into that same cycle.

    I think a lot of the flashing in music is in poor taste considering the recession as well, but some art forms are meant to be aspirational…which would only serve to support the point of your article.

    Nicely done.

  • Vance

    I think it’s a factor, no doubt. Rap and hip hop are all about strutting and posing and being all big time, so yeah I think it makes people spend those dead presidents.

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    It’s funny cuz u can argue that this is what’s happening with the poor white folk who continue to support republicans…I think that IDEA of living that lifestyle or the POSSIBILITY of living that one day or even vicariously living through materialistic rap stars is more potent than one’s actual financial reality. Yes, all of this is particularly hurtful to African Americans but I think the hip-hop materialism is part of the larger American society that promotes the idea that money= success, no matter how it’s obtained. Once that changes, I still think people with less will always live above their means regardless of what hip hop promotes. People tend to judge their self worth by monetary or material possessions.

  • Guest

    nope, folks will be stupid if ya clog thier head with polka

  • Kaya

    People is going to have to learn to take that kind of musical message with a grain of salt. I mean I’ve met people who refuses to be caught dead wearing WalMart clothes nevertheless their babies. Their idealism of wealthy lies within gold and diamonds, luxury cars and over the top houses because that what they see – that’s what they hear-hip hop artists, in particular, confirms their believe by making music about it.
    We can blame hip hop for encouraging consumerism but really everybody has a job to educate themselves. At the end of the day entertain yourself if you wish with the beat of the music and even enjoy their lyrics (eye roll) but turn around and pay ya bills! Got anything extra and decide ya want to treat yourself to something nice, if you dont wanna save if, go ahead.
    But nothin’ wrong with putting some of the blame on hip hop their just keeping its listeners in this cycle of material idealism confirmation.

  • Rastaman

    Yeah, you are wrong. You would only be right if Black folks indebtedness started 30 years ago or they were anymore indebted than the rest of America. Hip Hop is art whether you care for it or not and art has always imitated life. The values expressed by these artist are reflective of the larger American values. Is it hip hop that would influence someone to borrow $100K to attend a Liberal Arts College to study Anthropology. Not knocking anthropology, interesting subject but would generally qualify as a poor investment of a $100K.

    The truth is our whole society is scarred by rampant consumerism, the messages we see in hip hop culture is reflective of our materialistic values not vice-versa.

  • http://AfricaStyleDaily.com LBurgess

    I totally agree with Rastaman. If you can trace the roots of African American consumerism strictly back to the rise of hip hop then you’d have a case. But you can’t because its not true, so no, hip hop is NOT the issue here. It is only a SYMPTOM of the problem. Older family members of mine, including my parents tell me all about the “flossing” and “showboating” that went on “back in their day” (late 60s, early 70s) when people who didn’t have a pot to piss in would wear furs, diamonds, and buy cadillacs. This was way before hip hop existed! Consumerism itself, in my opinion is an issue that the country faces. We see all these material things as signs of success – our values – the so-called “American Dream” is wrapped up in accumulating things. When we can get to the root of the notion that says the more things we buy the better our lives will, then we can find something real to blame for consumerism. Hip hop is far too easy a scapegoat!

  • BlacknAmazed

    I would like someone to explain how HIP HOP went from being

    Hip, Innovative and Sexy to Ignorant, Empty and Ratchett

    There is something to be said about this generation not knowing self.

  • Quinnette

    It is no secret among my friends that I am not a fan of hip hop. I think it is unfortunate that so much importance is placed on material crap. It is not just hip hop, this trend has been going on long before hip hop. Back in the days of Motown, this consumerism existed and the sad thing is, like most pro athletes, they are all broke. I also see an arrogance among the young performers. I call it the American Idol syndrome. You think just because you are on that show, you think your shyte don’t stink. I blamed it on the easy fame, because for certain if they had to sing in the dives and seedy underground joints in any major city, they would learn they are no big deal and would be humbled for sure.

    The sad thing is with all that we learned from our past , we know education is the key to the future, but hip hop speaks louder than education. I would give them a pass, if on some small scale they were promoting something like travel. I know for me I was always interested in what was beyond American shores and watching videos by Duran Duran (which were mostly shot off in some far away land) made me want to get out there and see the world, and I have. Who knows maybe the videos do show that, I don’t know since I don’t watch videos anymore.

  • BlacknAmazed

    That’s a bowl of Crap! Rastaman. Interesting…name. Rasta’s are usually smart money people. how ironic you would take that name.

  • girlformerlyknownasgrace

    Commercial hip hop is very different from underground hip hop in my opinion. And I dont think the entire responsibility of hip hop rests on Kanye’s and JayZs shoulders.

    Having said that the music of JayZ and Kanye are not representative of the economically downtrodden. N.ggas in Paris represents a culture difference. Commercial hip hop is not resistant at all the way popular hip hop used to be.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    hip hop is a tool…..

  • http://[email protected] theMuseintheMirror

    In my opinion, hip hop is dead if we look at these two jokers…materialism won’t help no body.

  • Pseudonym

    I agree with Rastaman.

    I also want to point out something I see a lot on this blog, as well as others geared toward black Americans:

    Many negative things labeled as problems with “black folk” are really issues of those of a certain socioeconomic class.

    Poor people of all races/ethnicities/nationalities act the same when they come into money. In India, the nouveau riche are throwing $10,000 birthday parties that for their one year-old babies. Poor Southern whites are buying huge tricked out trucks when they receive their lump sum of untaxed wages when they get back home from deployment. There are examples of this everywhere. (Watch the variety of “Housewives” shows- they’re not all black, but all new to money and they’re all buying extravagant and almost going broke. And let’s not forget MTV’s “Cribs.”) It seems that out-of-control spending is the natural reaction to finding oneself with a large amount of expendable income when- not too long ago- one was hard pressed to fill their tank with gas.

    “Can I put $3 on pump number 2?”

    And that’s if they even had a car.

    Consumerism is rampant in the US- period. and a large part of the world as well (sadly, even in some of the lesser developed parts). It exists in countries without hip hop, so while I understand why you disagree with the message of Otis, I wouldn’t use that song to blame rampant consumerism among black people in the USA on Jay and Kanye.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    Whether it’s gold chains and gaudy rims, iPads and LCD flat screen tvs, or Maybachs and 55 room mansions, too many people live the idea that you are what you buy. Which is why so many people are up to their roots in debt – and still putting themselves into DEEPER debt to keep up with the supposed Jones’ in their social circle.

    Blaming hip-hop for reckless black consumerism is easy and useless. If it wasn’t hip-hop, those same people spending money out the rear would be emulating some other example of The Good Life. In my opinion, digging deep into why folks would rather profile and floss than invest those dollars into more worthwhile endeavors would be more beneficial in the long term.

  • binks

    “The truth is our whole society is scarred by rampant consumerism, the messages we see in hip hop culture is reflective of our materialistic values not vice-versa.”

    Amen! This society in and of itself is materialistic, think about it you can go less than a minute in our society without someone trying to convince you to buy or get something…especially something you don’t need or can’t afford. And we are program to thing the more stuff we have and accumulate, especially name brand items, makes us better and boost our status. Hip hop is not to blame because these mainstream commercial rappers are a product of this environment. And 9/10 people uses consumerism to fill a void.But I do blame entertainment in general now for making it seem okay to be vain/materialistic

  • jamesfrmphilly

    it was co opted and turned out. the system of white supremacy will use your pleasures against you. that is why you have to control your vices and keep your mind clear.
    anything can be used against you.

  • leonard smalls

    Interesting comment; however, allow me to add the following:

    1. powerlessness – The consumerism arguably is an attempt by a powerless people to drape themselves in cloth that makes them feel empowered. Actually, I’ll go further and argue that the one of the primary reasons that the hip-hop community (read Colored people) consume on such a large scale is to sooth their wounded ego. Unfortunately, Colored people tend to “sooth” their wounded egos by purchasing needless crap from the very people that have injured their ego to begin with.

    2. negro assimilationist fantasies – It is arguably negro assimilationist fantasies that lead one to conclude that he/she may consume themselves to power. A group has never consumed themselves to power ever in world history, period. Hence, the promotion of such an idea is likely the result of blatant misdirection by an industry likely littered with persons that cling to negro assimilationist fantasies.

    3. conclusion – Your enemies can not be who they are unless you are who you are. Focus on changing yourself and your enemies will be forced to change. Lastly, stop complaining and start competing.

  • WhatIThink

    It isn’t hip hop, it is the fact that many black people have low self esteem and need to accumulate things as a way to prop up their egos with fake fantasies of being something they aren’t. You had this same thing going on all the way back to the 1920s and probably before. The hip hop generation is simply the child of the super fly and foxy brown generation so it is a logical continuation of something that was already there.

    While everyone else boosts their egos through actual accomplishment and ability to do things in the world, black folks buy things to pretend they are accomplished. Like having a very expensive car while living in a little behind ghetto apartment or row house.

  • apple

    more like mainstream media as a whole
    “. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”

  • QoN


    The consumers decide which hip hop artist to make popular. The fan base is mainly female and white male.

  • QoN


    “That’s a bowl of Crap! Rastaman. Interesting…name. Rasta’s are usually smart money people. how ironic you would take that name.”

    What exactly did this comment add to the discussion besides a demonstration of your ignorance? Seriously punch yourself in the face.

  • Kacey

    Wow. I clicked on the link concerning black women’s median net worth being $5 (o_O) and the article it takes you too is truly disheartening. We REALLY need to do better.

  • mamareese

    You know what makes black folks spend like fools…..other black folks. What’s the saying about the Jones? Our race can spend a lot of money on appearances of cars and clothes to front like we’re doing good. So no…..music has nothing to do with it, it’s wanting to appear as if you maintain a certain lifestyle. With as much folks popping bottles and stuntin in the club to sell this image to folks and their kids at home hungry….we should win Oscars for all the amazing acting!

  • Racial Rachel

    Part of consumerism can be personal insecurity, but I think valid points have been made about the need to be a part of what’s going on. Especially in the professional world, “keeping up” has implications for your future career opportunities.

    Personal example: I came to graduate school this past August with a simple flip phone. I had a flip phone all through undergrad. I get here and all of a sudden I can’t function without a smart phone. Literally, the way networking occurs is exchanging smart phones. There were conversations I couldn’t be a part of until I got a smart phone. Did I want it? No. Has it made my life easier? Yes.

    The consumerism exhibited in hip-hop and by its subscribers comes down to being able to function and interact in ones peer group. It’s tragic that we as a community do not promote better values, but words are a weak form of social control. A much stronger form of social control is the pressure to conform as a means to participate. I buy expensive suits for job interviews to participate. Grown men bum rush each other at 5 in the morning for Jordans to participate.

    Our monetary system is flawed and failing, consumption was always promoted as the way to save the economy. There is a belief that buying makes things better. Consumerism is the disease of the nation. Advertisement is geared towards our insecurities and desire to participate. Consumerism won’t subside until cash stops ruling everything around us (dolla, dolla bill ya’ll).

  • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com Perverted Alchemist


  • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com Perverted Alchemist

    Sadly, that is a truth that Black people as a whole will never admit…

  • http://eclecticspectrum.wordpress.com Afia

    Consumerism is a part of American life. Hip-hop seems to be a blatant example but the push to buy things we cannot afford or need is around us constantly. I’m not a hip-hop head but I’m not going to blame a genre for something that rich and poor people from all walks of life do, buy stuff.

  • Isis

    No ur not wrong. Hip hop is to blame

  • jamesfrmphilly

    yes, as long as white people determine which black artists have success we are in trouble

  • real

    James from Philly needs a hug.

  • mamareese

    Can we fully put the blame on Hip Hop…this sounds like us trying to blame slavery for the state of our people today. It was awful that it happened….now lets talk about recovery and pursuing sucess in our lives….that’s what our ancestors did. They didn’t stand around kicking they feet making excuse and pointing fingers. They changed the whole world we live in today.

  • pink

    Afia: Your comments are the most sensible on this whole thread

  • Truth

    Stop blaming hip hop for everything. Black people have been suffering from rampant consumerism or what i call ‘Conspicuous consumption’ even before hip hop existed.

    Go to the library and pick out E. Franklin Frazier’s Black Bourgeoisie and write something deeper than this. Blaming hip hop is the easy way out.

  • Former Poor Person

    Are poor people really buying Louis bags and other designer items? I don’t see how this could be happening? By the very definition poor means you don’t have very much money so how can poor people be spending a lot of money if they don’t have it? I actually grew up poor in a poor community and I can tell you that I nor any of the other poor people were walking around with designer clothes and shoes. Poor people shop at Rainbows and City Gear not the Louis store or the Gucci store. I know my experience might not be representative of the entire population of poor folks, but if you want me to believe this argument I’m going to need to see some facts.

  • Michael Leslie

    Years ago, Bill Cosby came to Detroit and talked about the 50% dropout rate of African American males. The 50% number never existed. In the late 1990s-early 2000s, people also talked about the high rate of drug use among young African America males, a rate so high that police departments and my factory couldn’t hire them because they tested positive for weed. Many complainted that most young Blacks smoke too much weed. Fortunately, many of us quest these assumption and thought those stories were BS. Check out Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” — Drug use amoung Blacks, Whites and Hispanics if the same. We need to question these simplistic, and racist, assumptions. Black folks are not the ultimate consumers of luxuary goods. Yes, we are dying to buy new Louis Vuitton bags (or sneakers) and yes, many of us receive government assistance, but I don’t think there’s any hard facts out there that show that most poor Black folks are out there buying big cars, big homes, etc. If anything, its us, middle class and working class Blacks (and Whites and Hispanics) who are buying new Louis Vuitton bags, big homes, Jordans, and big cars, and then going into debt.

    Let’s stick to the facts. Blaming hip-hop is an easy cheap shot! Let’s talk about Hip-hop lyrics, or images in hip hop videos, or take on something more substantial. Blaming hip hop for social ills is a lazy, cheap and easy.

  • http://www.theefunklord.com theefunklord

    It would be a lot more interesting if all of the stars and those idolized spent the money on giving back, or creating entities and organizations that employed and educated the youth and their listeners on the proper ways to manage finances.

    Hip-Hop isn’t making anyone broke, people are making bad decisions because they can no longer separate reality from fantasy….sadly, and again, they just so happen to be the people that weren’t given an equal shot from the get go.
    Hip Hop is not some “monster living in the hills”, it’s everywhere, and it’s being marketed to everyone, without the cash flow coming back to those that helped cultivate and originate it..
    You can’t tell me the top 5 hip hop artists couldn’t pool money together to actually fund a black-owned Music Entertainment channel with NO affiliation to a major corporation simply selling packaged examples of our ‘culture’ (but if you spend 2G’s on some bubbly for a video, I guess you wouldn’t have the money left over).

    Check any photo from the Harlem Renaissance and you’ll see our people dressed and ready to show the world…Were there economic disparities back then? Yes. Did we carry ourselves differently? Yes. There’s been a huge disconnect between where we came from and where we are, and more importantly what we think we are worth.

    When we begin to realize that the ‘whips,’ the kicks, the handbags, and hideous bedazzled jeans with paint all over and 30 flap pockets do NOTHING to determine how far we can get in the world, then we can begin to rectify the problems that exist. They will always judge us based on what they see, even if we wear a suit and tie…Once they get past that it’s up to us to prove we are a strong people, like hip-hop used to.

  • OneMixDJ

    Very good post theefunklord; and allow me to take it a step further:

    How about the top five successful artists pooling money together to opening workshops in teaching young minorities skills in entrepreneurship, finance, and professionalism in making themselves successful?

    Since they’re the ones who have “made it”; why not pave the way in teaching those who also want to learn and do it as well?

    Plainly put; instead of giving them a fish, they should teach them how to fish for themselves…and let them GROW. :)

  • LaLA

    Hi FPP,

    I am so sorry to tell you this but I personally know plenty of sisters who are flat out broke with Gucci purses, etc. They do this in the following ways:

    1) Get eyeball deep in credit card debt. Then pay the lowest payment each month and get buried under compounding interest.

    2) The “buy what you want and borrow what you need” types: They use their paycheck to buy the expensive sunglasses, then hit mama, you, or me up for rent — an ‘emergency’ that will be paid back when they get their tax return.

    3) The ‘savers’ instead of putting money on Roth IRA, the money gets socked away for the next exhorbitant purchase. So great stuff, no savings.

    4.) Get a boyfriend who buys it. Or two. Nuff said.

    This is not ALL or even most sisters that I know, but this type tends to congregate in certain cities that I won’t name. While I only buy quality, I don’t wear labels everywhere or go blinged out — so I’m looked down upon when I visit. But I have 35k in savings, own my car free and clear and cover my mortgage with no problems.

  • BlacknAmazed

    @Qon….No… …Step Up and I will punch you in your face….how bout that.

    Like I said…the comments were a bowl of crap. Everything is Everything! say what you mean ….be who you say you are…..at all times. People need to go back to teaching their kids that.

  • Former Poor Person

    As soon as poor people get money they’re spending on needs food, shelter, transportation. These people don’t have disposable income. These people dont have very little in the way if savings and aren’t thinking about Roth iras. They are thinking putting food on the table and keeping the lights on. These people have large amounts of credit card debt because they don’t make enough to save so when emergencies arise they have to turn to credit and because of predatory lending practices.

    You said yourself it wasn’t most or even a large number of poor blacks doing this…so what’s the problem.

    If I’m supposed to believe this is an actual issue, I’m going to need to see some studies.

    Don’t we get mad at republicans for doing this? Trying to villianize the poor. And making Blacks the face of poverty. Black people who are all poor because they are irresponsible, ignorant, and morally bankrupt. If its wrong for whites to do it it’s also wrong for us.

    I need proof of this and if it’s true let’s get to the actual root of the problem and not some some lazy blame hip hop excuse. And then let’s hear some actions we we can take to combat it.

  • http://www.serrriasays.com Serria Says…

    Serria Says…
    Honestly, we can try to pretend that the hip hop world, reality tv, and other means that show gratuitous spending don’t influence us, but it does. It always have, for everyone, not just us. When Paris Hilton had a mini dog, sales of mini dogs went up. Now we have the girls on reality shows walking around in $1,000 shoes, and guess what? Girls out here and everywhere else are buying $1,000 shoes.

    I don’t know what rap music says, I don’t listen to it. I’m too old for it, like I’m too old to wear mini skirts. But I do know that it creates an unrealistic expectation for money, and young men towards young women and what you get in return are wars. From what I understand from therapist is that these young kids are literally fighting each other, domestic violence has increased amongst teenagers. With money, African Americans have the lowest inheritance, savings and wealth accumulation rate amongst any minority.

    What does that mean? It means we can’t keep our money. Our upbringing hasn’t taught us how to behave and be wealthy…We like to “ball out!”

    It sucks and hell yeah I blame hip hop because when the average person doesn’t have a two parent family and they have the tv and radio raising them and it’s misogynistic bullcrap, it fills their heads. If you think I’m lying, just listen to your young cousins or nephews, you will be disgusted.

    The solution is that we need to have more education within our own communities. Not just a retirement account, that’s not how you build wealth, that’s how you finish your life. The first step is marriage (marriage creates wealth, everyone seems to know that except us), second is savings and lastly protecting and maximizing your stuff. It’s real and hard when the hip hop world is encouraging us to spend on expensive name brands.

  • BQ

    Blaming hip-hop is taking the easy way out. People want to buy “nice things” because they don’t have nice things. Nice things give you “status”. It’s that simple. If you’re from a poor hood, and you have nice things, people are going to attracted to you, and try to be like you. I know how to/about save money, make a budget, balance a checkbook, money market accounts, etc, but what I do usually end up doing, spending. It’s a self-control/financial literacy issue.

  • Aaron Fowles

    Paulo Freire would chalk it up to the emulation of the oppressive culture by the oppressed culture. It’s a historical mechanism that has played out time and time again, all over the world.

    It’s one of the reasons that urban kids in poverty are 7 times more likely to own a video game than a book.

  • OSHH

    I had ZERO interest in WTT and have not heard or was even remotely interested in listening it.

  • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com Perverted Alchemist

    “I don’t know what rap music says, I don’t listen to it.”

    I’m too old to listen to today’s R&B and pop music, but I have better things to do than place blame on them as to why the music sucks.

    “But I do know that it creates an unrealistic expectation for money, and young men towards young women and what you get in return are wars”

    If you don’t listen to it, then how would you know what they are talking about? Sounds like you are contradicting yourself here.

    “From what I understand from therapist is that these young kids are literally fighting each other, domestic violence has increased amongst teenagers.”

    Yeah, and therapists know everything just because they saw it in a book or in a paper, so it must be true. This comes from single parentage and/or parents not willing to raise their kids (which is basically all of the baby boomers).

    “With money, African Americans have the lowest inheritance, savings and wealth accumulation rate amongst any minority.”

    And that has more to do with Black people being taught more about getting a degree and a good paying job- not about savings and wealth accumulation. In a lot of Black folks eyes, wealth accumulation to them means playing the lottery. You can’t Blame hip hop for bad parenting- which is what a lot of Black parents born between 1940-1960 are guilty of.

  • Tami

    No, hip hop isn’t to blame for consumerism, but I get the intent of this article. Rappers have massive influence, young people want to be like them, want to dress like them. Like someone stated, consumerism was around before hip-hop…However, i feel that if more rappers started rapping about things that really mattered in the world, such as education, taking care of your children, saving, investing, that young minds would start to open up & thrive for better things. Yes, it is the parents’ responsibility to raise their children, but the media also has a hold on them too.

  • darydrea

    Love ur post!!

    folks always tryna blame music. I blame parents! if ur broke n ur kids are rocking designer gear that u bought, u r teaching them the wrong priorites. lol

    keep speacking Truth :)

  • LadyT

    “3. conclusion – Your enemies can not be who they are unless you are who you are. Focus on changing yourself and your enemies will be forced to change. Lastly, stop complaining and start competing.”

    THANK YOU LEONARD!!! this 3rd point seems to be lost on black people. sitting around talking to each other about what the problems are is so silly at this point. we know what the issues are. we know how we got here. and while we should never forget, we have to get to a point where we stop talking about how unfair the game is and start playing it so that we can ultimately change it. it seems black people would rather sit around and talk about what people aren’t doing right (*ahem* tavis, cornell)—people who we should never entrust with “the movement” anyway. the sooner black intelligentsia realizes that artists are not supposed to teach, teachers are, the better off we’ll be. what good is policing how someone chooses to express themselves musically when you’re sitting around with all the education and know-how in the world, talking about what someone who never even graduated high school (insert Jay-z) is doing? we’ve been trying to check rap music for years and guess what? IT’S NOT WORKING!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Gee Chee Vision

    I think you should take a moment to read into marketing and psychological persuasion. There is nothing lazy about recognizing the powerful persuasive advertisement component of Hip-Hop.

    According to your logic a Coke commercial isn’t to blame for people buying Coke they just buy Coke “just because” or Michael Jordan’s image has nothing to do with selling $150.00+ shoes to black children on a diet of Ramen noodles. Why did Hakeem Olajuwon pass up shoe endorsement deals for LA Gear? He didn’t want to contribute to the exorbitant prices kids would pay just to fantasize that they putting the “dream shake” on the court.

    You think Michael Jackson doing a Pepsi commercial did nothing for the product?


    “McDonald’s is already paying rappers to name check hamburgers. Can it get any worse?”
    - Reginald C. Dennis

    Better wake up and hear it from people in the industry.


  • 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.

  • MK2

    WalMart is no better. WalMart is also to blame for materialistic/rampant consumerism. WalMart also destroys independent businesses. WalMart clothes and other products they sell are made in China crap.

  • https://plus.google.com/107157943087172982296 thomas barkley

    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.

  • https://plus.google.com/107157943087172982296 thomas barkley

    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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