Hip Hop is Dead (precisely because Hip Hop is cool)I’ve been doing some more thinking about Nas’s Hip Hop is Dead album.
It’s really a sharp album, with a lot of content. I recently listened to Snoop Dogg’s latest – which I’ll get to later this week, but Nas has a lot more to say, with a lot more thought involved.
Trouble is, he’s plain old wrong about hip hop’s revolutionary potential. Hip hop is no different than Rock and Roll in the 60s: immobilized by a mixture of navel-gazing and insistent decadence. Like rock, hip hop will never be a real movement, that really changes the world, as long as it remains an exclusionary domain.
Hip hop’s self-appointed stewards (whose ranks Nas clearly claims to join) envision hip hop as black cultural space; all others are welcome as guests. It is also, and less so, a male space. But most importantly, hip hop is profoundly cool. And as long as it’s cool it will never change the world, because cool only lives for the moment.
Look at this picture (ripped off a New York city educational website): it's the bored cool look. Nothing gets to me. I am master of my own circumstances.