I will be the first to admit that the notion of an elite group of men cloaked in secrecy controlling the music industry was inconceivable, despite knowing the unethical practices that go down behind the “iron curtains” of the executives who “run” this shit. Industry Rule #4080. You know the rest. A week ago, I stumbled upon an article that changed my outlook on this topic just enough to make me take a couple of steps back and rethink. The article, titled The Secret Meeting that Changed Hip-hop and Destroyed a Generation may read as a complete, tin-foil conspiracy theory at first glance, but take a closer look at the timeline of Hip-Hop along with this meeting, and it makes sense.
The anonymous author describes a secret meeting that went down in 1991 in an undisclosed location in Los Angeles. This was at a time when politically charged, conscious rappers like Public Enemy, X-Clan, Brand Nubian and Poor Righteous Teachers were at the forefront of a revitalized civil rights / black nationalism movement. The meeting in question was filled with hand selected industry taste makers as well as many unfamiliar faces that most certainly did not belong there. The topic swirled around the prison-industrial complex (i.e. privately run prisons) that was set to rapidly increase the inmate population, which in turn would amass more government funding for said prisons and eventually be open to public trade on the market. The targets for the P-I-C were inner city minorities, notably Black and Latino youth. The same industry taste makers who were invited to this meeting were told that once these prisons hit the open market, they would be given the chance to buy shares, being that the music industry executives who these same taste makers worked for were silent investors.
The naive invitees were told that in order to make this profitable, they would have to help market a new mainstream genre of Hip-Hop that would cater to and promote “criminal behavior.” Now mind you, “gangster rap” had already made it’s way into the fold with artists like Ice T and the father of “gangster rap”, Schoolly D. The focus, however, was now shifted onto getting this music in heavy rotation on radio and slowly pushing it out to the masses until it became customary.
But hold up, let’s take a minute to recollect ourselves: This story and topic, as far as I know, has only been brought up in this particular article that is now circulating the interwebs, so it proves a little difficult to make sense out of all this. I consider myself a person that feeds on fact, and was always taught to never take anything on face value; to always study and look into things more. However, as I mentioned earlier, the timeline that all of this went down in does seem to make a little sense. After 1991, there was an incredible increase in the volume of “gangster rap” artists and groups, along with singles that promoted violence, drug references, misogyny, etc getting burn on the radio. There also seemed to be an influx in the amount of Rap / Hip-Hop CDs that bared the infamous Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics label that seemed pull kids to it more than it did to prevent them from purchasing.
Brotha Wise Intelligent even states, “There are people in this particular society, who wants to see us exactly where we are.” The absence of positive, conscious Hip-Hop is sorely missed and may explain why those who would normally rebel against this oppressive and prejudice system seem to no longer have a voice. Again, as Wise Intelligent asserts, “1992. Number one record on the radio, we had Fight the Power on the radio. Rodney King gets beat before the World. The Black Youth rebelled against the system. And what primed them? Positive Hip-Hop. Fight the Power primed them. Fast forward to our day. Sean Bell is shot 50 times in the streets in New York by police officers. Number one song on the radio: ‘Like a Lolipop’. Nobody does nothing. I believe it was the brotha J.T. Figga who said that the label executives came to him and said ‘Yo brotha. We need you talking about guns and whores’. That happens. I’ve been in those meetings with management, and heads asking me ‘Is what you’re saying really what you believe, so that we’ll know how to market you properly.”
To wrap this post up, I want to pose a few questions for the dopehouse, as I know this a touchy topic that gets brought up numerous times in the C-Section. In your personal opinions, do you firmly believe there is a group of executives that are directly influencing the path our beloved Hip-Hop has taken? Or do you believe the Illuminati or some other secret society is directly involved in the decision making? Have you heard similar stories to the one linked above? What type of cold hard facts have you come across that lead you to believe this, or are these just personal assumptions?