New Yorker: Hip-Hop’s Alpha Conservative


I found this fascinating. Admittedly I’ve never listened to Brand Nubian, but I think the way these opinions are being framed is just right: Lord Jamar is a conservative voice in a movement that is changing.

I found myself struggling with his arguments. On one hand, he may have a compelling point about racial co-opting of hip-hop and emasculation of black men. On the other hand, his blatant homophobia makes it very difficult to take seriously. And honestly, since you had groups like The Beastie Boys there from hip-hop’s early New York roots and now have rappers like El-P and Aesop Rock producing some really interesting music, hemming and hawing about white men in rap seems misplaced. The movement went mainstream decades ago; if you’re going to worry about being co-opted you need a stronger argument than the presence of white rappers.

Ultimately, I think Lord Jamar’s conservatism is like that of other culturally conservative voices in the mainstream: potentially compelling messages about troubling changes in society get lost within a bunch of misplaced nostalgia for times and things that the rest of us would all rather leave behind.


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