It’s been nearly 40 years since hip hop burst on the scene and took over the music world to become one of the most popular genre’s in the world. Despite its humble beginnings, the culture has gone global. Although it began as party music and a way for urban youths to share their perspective on the world, it has since become a billion-dollar industry that has had serious affects on young people around the world.

While many see hip hop as just art, a means of expression, others see it as a force that has had both very positive and very negative affects on our communities.

Recently, Dr. Boyce Watkins and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson debated artist accountability in hip hop. The pair often took opposing views on the matter with Dr. Watkins calling out rappers for their lyrics, and Dr. Dyson defending them.

In his opening, Dr. Watkins that he admits he hates Lil Wayne. He says, “I hate him, because I love him. I hate him because his music is so good, that you can’t help but to like it.”

Dr. Watkins goes on to say, “Lil Wayne is possibly the most powerful mega-pastor in America. He’s just preaching the gospel of hatred and self-destruction and kids are just eating it up.”

Dr. Dyson, on the other hand, has a different view. Instead of blaming rappers, he’d rather look at the system that continues to cause the problems reflected in hip hop.

He told the crowd, “I think we can speak about accountability in very serious, while acknowledging all of the critiques that Professor Watkins expressed here today, and still not throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Check out the video and let us know what you think.

Should artists be held more accountable for the music they produce…or…is it all just entertainment?

  • edub

    Sorry, but both of these guys are buffoons. Michael Eric Dyson gets under my skin, especially. He reminds me of that prisoner on that In Living Color sketch–the one who uses big words incorrectly.

  • I call Bull

    Whaaat, I love Boyce Watkins, a couple yrs ago when I was in college I was prez of the Black Diaspora club at pwi (2500 students, 60 black kids total from frosh to seniors smh) and I brought him in to lecture. He was so awesome, everyone loved him. He’s really smart and down to earth. He went from a special education student to a scholar, I really respect him.

  • Tonton Michel

    People should be more careful about who they support and the people who support them.

  • Harry

    Why is this still a topic of discussion? It seems that it’s pretty much set that hip hop isn’t changing. How about teaching our children to listen to something else or a variety of genres? How about just not supporting these artists and power up your iPod instead of listening to radio? We can be the solution to a lot of our own issues.

  • LAD86

    Of course artists should be held more accountable for the music they make. Aren’t they always hollering about how they wish they could go back to having a ‘normal’ life? I refuse to believe that there are that many artists who allow for someone to have so much control over them.

    It seems to only be with Rap/Hip Hop that accountability is even a discussion.

    If a male rapper raps about sexing a bunch of women and doing drugs, people say, “It’s just a song”. If a female rapper does the same, people believe it to be true. Why?

  • Mr. Man

    Just a tired old 90′s debate over something that isn’t going anywhere.

    I mean they didn’t figure this out even with 2Live Crew, NWA, Public Enemy, Puffy, Lil Kim, 2Pac, Snoop Dog etc…??

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    You should hold yourself accountable for buying Lil Wayne’s music, and them other hoodrats! Now, if it is your kid listening to them, YOU the parent, guardian should be held accountable. If it is a child without a mentor or an elder in life, WE should be held accountable-it takes a village to raise a baby! Why then are we allowing Wayne and em to continue to rap allla this nonsense?! Why are we giving him our dollars?!

    Now, DYSON-Why is he trying to intellectualize NONSENSE! Gimme a damn break…..He is a great speaker using all this big words that have me ready to sleep, but sometimes he be sooooo left, I just wanna tell him to shut the fug up!

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

    Being that I am a longtime hip hop fan/music historian, I’ll explain a lot of it for you- as I was once both on the business side as well as on the music side…which is where I am as of now.

    “Of course artists should be held more accountable for the music they make. Aren’t they always hollering about how they wish they could go back to having a ‘normal’ life? I refuse to believe that there are that many artists who allow for someone to have so much control over them.”

    Actually, you’d be surprised at the number of artists signed to major labels that can’t say what they want to or do the kind of music they wish to do. As of recently, there was a little issue behind that over at Atlantic Records with B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco and Saigon. B.o.B. and Saigon’s albums were supposed to be out in 2008, but their projects were held up by the label simply because they took issue with them wanting to make mostly positive records when the label realy wanted them to do just the opposite- and to make matters worse, Atlantic forced them to make pop records. They both had a showdown over artistic differences for about two years. Eventually, B.o.B. caved in to label pressure in 2009, while Saigon asked to be let go from the label. Shortly after that, Lupe started recording his “Lasers” album and ran into the exact same things that B.o.B. and Saigon did- and eventually caved into label pressure as well.

    “It seems to only be with Rap/Hip Hop that accountability is even a discussion.”

    The simple answer to that is this: Hip hop, as you know, is purchased by 70% of White kids. But let’s face it, most White kids only want to hear the negative stuff (gangsta rap, weed rap, horrorcore). To be honest, most White kids can’t separate fantasy from reality- they still think Tupac was a real gangsta, LMAO!!! If it wasn’t for the demographics involved, I’d doubt that you hear anyone even mention “accountability”.

    “If a male rapper raps about sexing a bunch of women and doing drugs, people say, “It’s just a song”. If a female rapper does the same, people believe it to be true. Why?”

    One thing I noticed about the difference between male and female rappers- is that female rappers generally like to say they are rapping from their personal experieances. That, however, turns into a gray area. What if they are rapping about something that’s not entirely true, but people may believe it was because they said they rap from experience? The whole issue of ambiguity- and it doesn’t help matters when female rappers happen to be a liitle coy about one of their songs (See: Queen Pen and her song “Girlfriend, for example).

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

    But…notice that this only came up because of Rush Limbaugh running off at the mouth. He got caught running off about the wrong person and he, like many conservatives before him, tried to make hip hop as the scapegoat. If you remember five years ago, Don Imus did the exact same thing when he got caught in the crossfire over his comments about the Rutgers University basketball team.

    Also, a few years back on Fox News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes- when they first reported on the Don Imus scandal- Sean Hannity told on himself as well as other conservatives which may explain why they wanted to shift the blame to hip hop. He said something along the lines of “If they went after talk radio, then every person on the air would haved to be policed and monitored for for doing their job”. So basically, what Hannity is saying is that freedom speech is not for everyone and that conservatives are against all forms of censorship- unless it’s a rapper, LMAO!!!!

  • Greg

    I for sure didn’t expect Hip-Hop to pat their female oppressors on the back for their Misandry and attack on men. Why did anyone else?

    Feminist still have a voice in the media and are lauded by the MSM and one should see some of their language attacking males. I think it’s natural and perfectly appropriate that Hip-Hop responded back in kind…with a beat no less. PROPS!!!

    Black feminist deserted and divorced so many black fathers in the 70′s that their own SONS expressed their animosity at the female gender for what they had done to their own fathers, uncles and cousins.

    Thank You Hip-Hop.
    We don’t love dem’ hoes.

  • Toppin

    Yeah damn black women for divorcing all those gainfully employed, productive, right minded, morally sound upstanding marriage minded faithful black fathers of the 1970s. These women must have been crazy to divorce a group of men who did NOT exist in large numbers then and do not exist in large numbers today.

    You need to got sit your arse down in a history classroom. If you honestly believe black women were throwing black men described in the first sentence of this comment away you are a fool.

    A few things to remember….

    The outsorcing of jobs started after WWII by the end of 1970s black men were on their way to being jobless prison cattle.

    Vietnam took alot of black men with it. Physically some of these men returned home…mentally many were destoryed. Alot of them were junkies and abusive. Alot of them found temselves unable to secure employment.

    Final point: It is safe to say black men found themselves disillusioned by their own failed black nationalist movement in the 1970s. We saw the rise of street gangs, drugs and crime. All that hot air blowing was for nothing because if you look at the males leaders of this movement you will see a pattern. Many ended up junkies, dead or switched their platform in an attempt to win favor with their so called oppressor as was the case with the self confessed rapist of black women, Eldridge Cleaver. Oh you probably did not know…generally speaking this movement did not do black women any favors. We were told our position was prone. Any black woman that jumped shipped more likely had plenty of reason thanks to the brothers who were more concerned with sleeping white, getting high and keeping black women ten feet back.

    Amazing how you twisted dumb ninjas born post 1970 try to portray yourselves and the two generations before you as James Evans and Cliff Huxtable and black women as Shaniqua who was either overlooking Cliff or throwing James under the bus for Uncle Sam’s check. Simply amazing! The reality is neither of these men would probably serve as a good example of the average black man during that period of time or now.

    Typical angry uneducated black man.

    Please save your uneducated rants for the birds who barely completed high school. Anyone truly looking at the situation and circumstances knows black women are not solely to blame for the collaspe of morality in the black community. One trip through the archives of Ebony magazine from the 1970s where we can read articles featuring debates between educated black men and women in which black women thought black men and women should work together to build the black family while black men said the hell with that it was finally their chance to be free can prove you a liar. These men did not need to be pushed out the door. They left freely.

    As for these two men they are both poverty pimps. Neither is worth listening to.

    P.S. You can also thank these rappers and the two gnerations before them for the growing indifference to black males both young and old we are witnessing from black women. There is nothing colder than being physcially present but emotionally absent. Watch the plight of black males….particularly those who are young continue to fall.

  • Greg

    LOL.

    Thanx Snoop!!!

  • Greg

    To paraphrase Tupac-son of the Crazy Ass Panther Socialist Female Anti-Family FEMINIST oppressors of the era:
    “Now we know WHY they call you a Bitch!!!!”
    Don’t we Toppin?

    Props 2 all the Hip Hoppers for stepping up and speaking out.
    40 yrs strong!!

    I’ll be back with the quotes of these family oriented feminist of the time and why Clutch is merely the updated & distilled Ebony if I feel.

    and thanx for the assist Toppin!

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