This article is from the U.K. so when they refer to the August riots they are referring to the frequently violent riots that occurred there. The sound of capitalism – Hip hop music was blamed for the August riots. But behind the celebration of “bling” is a culture of entrepreneurship.
But for its detractors, this materialism is one of rap’s three deadly sins, along with its violence and misogyny. Casual fans of hip hop often see its materialistic side as something either to be played down or embraced “ironically.” Some commentators judge it more harshly. When the riots broke out across Britain this summer, many saw hip hop’s celebration of materialism as one of the key causes. Paul Routledge, writing in the Mirror, summarised this view when he said, “I blame the pernicious culture of hatred around rap music, which glorifies violence and loathing of authority… [and] exalts trashy materialism.”
Routledge is not entirely wrong. The story of hip hop’s journey into the cultural mainstream is the story of its love affair with materialism, or, more accurately, capitalism. Its lead exponents, like Jay-Z and Kanye West, are brilliant entrepreneurs with vast fortunes (even if their music advocates a profligacy that is anathema to the savvy business operator). Hip hop’s rise has been, at root, a straightforward process of free-market enterprise: an excellent product has been pushed with great skill and new markets opened up with real dynamism and flair.
Unsurprisingly, corporate brands have been keen to get involved. Darren Wright, creative director of the Nike account at advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy explains the appeal: “With hip hop you’re buying more than music. It isn’t a genre—it’s a lifestyle, encompassing fashion, break dancing, the clothes or the jewels you wear… The lifestyle is worth its weight in gold because it’s not just about one rap song, it’s so much more.”
It is very difficult to parse capitalism from materialism. In the U.S. using the word need when one should be using the word want is so ingrained in our vernacular hardly anyone notices anymore, with perhaps the exception of parents of preteen children. I can see the materialism in especially post millennium rap culture. The problem in judging it too harshly is how intertwined it is with not just black, but ethic and inner city empowerment. Rap as part of the rampant greed and materialism is a small slice of the decadence pie. No reason to beam in on the rap industry than it is people such as right-wing sugar daddies like Richard Mellon Scaife, the Koch brothers, the Coors beer family, Robert Rowling, Carl Linder and Jerry Perenchio whose contributions of candidates and funding of extremist right-wing think tanks all promote what has become mainstreamed decadence. This is not to say the Right’s greater corruption and decadence makes rapper decadence OK, only that it is still small in comparison. The richest rappers such as Jay-Z and Kanye West have become involved in philanthropy. West has started his own foundation which directs money toward charitable causes and has appeared in multiple fund rising events for causes ranging from Hurricane Katrina relief to helping young Iraq War veterans who struggle through debt and PTSD. Jay-Z has been involved with disaster relief with the UN and the Red Cross, and clean water shortage issues in Africa.
A Tribe Called Quest – Jazz (We Got The). The Tribe was formed in 1985. Even then rap was both questioning and embracing the entanglement of money with the empowerment that came from being successful. Some lyrics below the video.
Stern firm and young with a laid-back tongue
The aim is to succeed and achieve at 21
Just like Ringling Brothers, I’ll daze and astound
Captivate the mass, cause the prose is profound
Do it for the strong, we do it for the meek
Boom it in your boom it in your boom it in your Jeep
Or your Honda or your Beemer or your Legend or your Benz
The rave of the town to your foes and your friends
So push it, along, trails, we blaze
Don’t deserve the gong, don’t deserve the praise
The tranquility will make ya unball your fist
For we put hip-hop on a brand new twist
Like its prologue, Enlightened is a bipolar series—oscillating actively between comedy and drama, tranquility and anger, humanism and satire—held together, for every frame of every episode, by the virtuosic rampaging of its star. After the elevator doors finally shut on that frenzied opening sequence, the camera cuts to a lilting montage of Amy snorkeling, laughing, and sitting around a campfire at a luxe rehab center. As we learn over the course of the premiere, Amy’s stint in the treatment facility proves to be a life-changing experience, teaching her meditation skills, imbuing her with a concern for the environment, and filling her suitcase with well-bookmarked, New Age self-help manuals. By the end of the montage, however, Amy’s back home and apparently surprised to learn that, while she was away achieving transcendence, the rest of the world kept going without her, and all the same things that drove her crazy in the first place are waiting patiently to drive her crazy all over again.
I don’t know that Amy Jellicoe’s (Laura Dern) enlightenment is easy to explain, but not that difficult either. She has reached a new level of understanding about herself and the world. That doesn’t mean that the same deep organic demons which haunt her – we all have them – are not in conflict with her inner revelations as much as they are with her exterior world. One of those universal moments that many people can relate is where she ran off copies of all the environmental atrocities she had found on the internet, and thus the social injustices her company has been involved in. She gives the collection to the head of human resources who tells her to stop and throws the collected evidence in the trash. Amy is dumbstruck. How can someone see the evidence of such horrible wrong doing and not only do nothing, but get angry that someone would want to correct these horrific wrongs.
Record number of deportations still not enough for anti-immigration zealots - The Obama administration kicked out 400,000 people this year, satisfying no one and winning no support for reform
Money is not evil. It just seems that way because people are so frequently willing to compromise core principles to get it. How Low Will AT&T Go?
Rev. R. Henry Martin directs the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission, a Louisiana-based ministry that “reaches out to feed, clothe, shelter and provide healing services to homeless men, women and families with children.” The ministry aided 1,200 people in 2010, served over 135,000 meals and is open to those in need 365 days a year.
This is all noble work, but what the heck does it have to do with the AT&T/T-Mobile merger?
The answer, of course, is absolutely nothing. So why did Rev. Martin feel compelled to write a letter to the FCC urging it to approve the takeover?
According to a Center for Public Integrity report released on Monday, at least two dozen charities that received AT&T bucks have plugged the merger, writing letters urging the FCC to seal the deal. The Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission, for one, raked in $50,000 from AT&T earlier this year. Perhaps it was that cash infusion that inspired this heartfelt testimonial:
“It is important that we, as Christians, never stop working on behalf of the underserved and forgotten,” Rev. Martin wrote in a June letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “It might seem like an out-of-place endorsement, but I am writing today in order to convey our support for the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. … People often call on God to help the outcasts and downtrodden that walk among us. Sometimes, however, it is our responsibility to take matters into their own hands. Please support this merger.”
What a merger that would result in 20,000 lost jobs, jacked-up fees and the destruction of competition in the wireless market has to do with God’s work is anyone’s guess.
Hoobastank – The Reason