I love old school music. Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Marvine Gaye, and Al Green all sung about things Black people everywhere could relate to. “What’s Going On,” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and “Love & Happiness” are timeless songs of love and political activism that many young African-Americans now download onto the oldies section in their iPods.
For some odd reason it seems that we, as African-Americans, have abandoned our authentic art form of musical soul and artistry for what Kanye West calls "crack music." Rappers like 50 Cent, whose latest album is entitled "The Massacre," is filled with sex, violence and miscogeny. Young Jeezy, a Def Jam recording artist, wears a snowman on his shirt to remind everybody of his previous job as a cocaine dealer.
How many times do I have to hear the word b*tch and whore before I get offended? It is as if there is an unspoken contest taking place amongst rappers called who can disrespect women the most times in a 60-min CD.
I believe that music should reflect the times. During this day and age, it is "hard out there for a pimp" who’s just trying to get his money for a rent. And it is quite possible that during these times of unemployment, men may want to have a tip drill encounter. But how can there be songs about the genitalia of the Ying Yang twins and no songs that says millions are dying from HIV/AIDS?
Nas released a song called “I Know I Can” that reminded everyone that they can do or be anything that they set their minds to. However, it seems its hard for kids to focus on reaching their full potential of scholarship when they are trying to get shot nine times, survive, and make a record, movie, and video game like 50 did.
Now I know all is not lost. I still have Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Common, Floetry, John Legend and a few others. The music of these artist is real, authentic, creative, and current minus the drugs and gradiose glorification of money, sex, and violence.
I simply want Black music to be innovative. Sam Cooke sang "A Change Gon’ Come" as a reflection of what listeners could expect sometime in the country’s future. Instead of music that criticizes the present, I want to listen to music the paints the picture of a future that is pregnant with posibilities for our community.