“Class in session as I give the lesson To prove to another rapper that I rule in his profession” — Get Down/Big Daddy Kane
*It is that time of year again when young folks across the country are headed back to school and are frantically scramblinto pay for books and the outrageous cost of tuition.
What is a future scholar to do? Well, enter this year’s Hip Hop “Captain Save-a Ho; Oscar winning, former 3-6 Mafia member, Juicy J. Recently the rapper set Twitter on fire with his announcement that, out of his deep sense of moral responsibility, he was gonna reward the best twerker on the planet with a 50 grand scholarship to the institute of higher learning of her choice.
Since the tweet, quickly and mysteriously disappeared , some people took the kind gesture as either a sophomoric prank or a marketing scheme for his soon to be released CD. Others were not amused as such a childish escapade could not have come at a worst time.
And although Juicy J had deleted the evidence before he was forced to pay up, it was too late to prevent news of his philanthropic endeavor from reaching the mainstream media. Adding yet another weapon to the arsenal of many people in this country who feel that African Americans are academically retarded and only enter prestigious universities courtesy of Affirmative Action, basketball and now, twerkin’.
This has been a long summer for Black folks , as racial politics has dominated the news for the last three months. Not to mention that African Americans are still facing the usual issues from the elementary to collegiate level of everything from sub-par educational opportunities to the unfair suspension rates of African American children. If there was any time for us to get serious about obtaining a higher degree of knowledge, that time would be now.
The twerkin’ scholarship announcement also came at a time in America when it seemed that Hip Hop artists would be strong armed into taking the power of the words that come out of their mouths a little more seriously.. This expectation was heightened when news of Kendrick Lamar’s verse on Control was hailed as one of Hip Hop’s 10 greatest moments as it seemed to signal a return to lyricism. However, what it really proved was that you can spit 100 bars and still say absolutely nothing of substance.
What the Juicy J scandal also showed was that old age and intellectual maturity do not go hand ,when a rapper darn near 40 years old can still make songs for adolescents. Proving that ,apparently, ratchetness does not have an age limit. (Grabbinthe mic and yellinhow you’ve been in the game for 20 years is nothing to be proud of when your lyrics have not matured in two decades.)
So the age old question arises, why do rappers do such dumb stuff at the most inopportune times?
Now the conspiracy theorists will say that it is part of the clandestine operation to dumb down black children, or what Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu calls “The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys.This could indeed be true if you point to the Wall Street Journal article a few years back that reported that kids who listened to LIL Wayne’s Lollipop had lower SAT scores than their peers who fancied other genres of music,
One could also argue that the failure of the many “Hip Hop studies programs that mushroomed after Dr. Michael Eric Dyson’s book “Between God and Gangsta Rap to come up with a solution to the misogyny, Black on Black violence and outright coonery that plagues much of commercial rap is more reflective of a studies program that was either created to give middle class , nerdy white kids an easy A or a concerted effort to supplant the demand for serious Afrocentric education.
Now the Hip Hop apologists will argue that this is much to do about nothing and there is ,absolutely, nothing wrong with a rapper, whether serious or not, tweetin’ that he is gonna flip the bill for a couple of semesters of psychology if a sista does a five minute routine off of “Bands to Make Her Dance.After all, how else is she gonna to get that much tuition money? Working at McDonalds? Do you know how many burgers she would have to flip to make 50K?
This is about more than a phony scholarship. This is about the future of our young people and how they view academic achievement.
At some point , as a community, we have to say enough is enough!
So, I’m declaring a war on ignorance this school year. Consider me the “Joe Clark of Hip Hop” for the next 10 months, swingina Louisville slugger and puttin’ all remedial education, ratchet rappers on an immediate suspension from the culture.
Ignorance can no longer be used as an excuse to dumb down a whole generation because of ratchetness.
To borrow that classic line from comedian Kevin Hart.
“Ya’ll gonna learn today!”