How the State of Hip-Hop Can Be Saved Through Concerts: Rock the Bells 2007

The state of Hip-Hop seems to be slowly dwindling as something of a negative impact versus a positive on society today. During the late 80s early 90s, hip-hop was a gateway for troubled youth of urban areas to find solace in their problems. MCs delivered lyrics that painted images to the public the hardships that were occurring in cities and issues that were being addressed.

This summer I realized that this genre can be saved through the power of concerts. Granted artists go on tour often, but with a particular line up of powerful and well-respected artists, a major change in hip-hop could happen.

The first stop of the Rock the Bells tour was in Mansfield, MA at the Tweeter Center and the major topic hindering on the minds of each artist was the state of being of hip hop and where it stands in today’s society. The longevity of the genre and the respect that’s being lost was the inspiration for most of the artists partaking in this concert series.

Wu-Tang Clan came out on their set with intensity and ferocity, proving claim that after years passed, they still can show audiences why they’ve become an important impact in the hip-hop world starting from the early 90’s to present day. Famous tracks such, “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Protect Ya Neck” sounded as strappingly as ever as the group performed like professionals throughout the night’s end.

Preceding Wu-Tang, Nas secretly impending his opinion on the state of hip-hip, showcased a number of songs from last year’s Hip-Hop is Dead, an album based on the troubles and perils that the music faces. “Hustlers” played as one of the first tracks then nonchalantly meshing into “Black Republicans”.

Taking a trip back to the days of Illmatic, “N.Y. State of Mind” was the start of 1993 transformation and then leading to shorten snippets of “The World is Yours” and “The Message”.

Nothing like marijuana to brighten the mood with the help of a large inflatable Buddha covered in leaves and the appearance of a three-foot high water pipe all thanks to Cypress Hill. “A Hit From the Bong” and “Dr. Greenthumb” delivered bright vocal intercourse with the incorporation of snare and screeches help to make “Insane in the Brain” a crowd pleaser.

Material from his new forthcoming album, Talib Kweli’s fast witted packaging of vocal talent was simplified into a semi-congested dancehall type of style. Audience members seemed pleased and gratified with the new music and became even more hyped when the classic “Get By” flooded the speakers. Before exiting the stage, “Hip-hop is not a nation” was said in the closing capella leaving the audience in a state of gratitude.

“Hip-hop is alive” said Pharoahe Monche, during the middle of his set, secretly confronting the title of Nas’s album title. With the assistance of soul singers and a band that invoked the era of the 70’s, Monche made his presence known.

As sets were interchanging, the master in the art of freestyle, Supernatural dazzled the audience with his talent and at times allowing crowd participation. From iPhones to jerseys to lollypops, the crowd would wave objects in the air to test Supernatural’s ability.

With the acts that are aboard for this tour, one can think that the state of hip-hop might have found its new salvation. Hip-hop is an art and a lifestyle that rappers use to emulate to society how their reality is. The reasoning for this genre’s blink may have to deal with particular artists who take the world of hip-hop as an easy way to make band. All the glitz, glitter and glam that’s portrayed in videos and lyrics are only what’s possessed when one becomes a success.

What differs these acts in comparison to other mainstream artists is their longevity and what the hip-hop industry means to them. According to Immortal Technique, [we] have seen hip-hop going on a downward spiral, with all these rappers talking about calling woman bitches and flaunting guns and thug-life and that’s something that we need to change.

The negative portrait that’s being instilled into the youth is what’s causing the devastation of a genre that was created based on the principles of b-boys, break-dancing and deejaying.

When people see that these artists are attaining fame and wealth due to the usage of gang violence, weapons and drugs, it becomes the eye of desire and an upcoming necessity.

If up and coming rappers are trying to make it big and gain respect they should resort back to the early stages of hip-hop and learn how the icons of the genre earned respect and fame.

Nas, Talib and Wu-Tang stand for good examples as for being around since the late 80s, early 90s they prove that if one can share stories based on their hardships versus exploiting it into a positive light, people can see that these artists were forced to commit the acts that occurred in the past.

In the sense of our society, cash rules everything around and cash tends to be the main topic on most minds. People tend to be blinded by it and result in finding comfort in the aforementioned items to get by.

Hopefully Rock the Bells succeeds in trying to save the world of hip-hop, and other artist follow in the footsteps of these great MCs.


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