Last week ?uestlove kicked off a 6 part series of essays on Vulture.com called When the People Cheer: How Hip-Hop Failed Black America that takes a look “at hip-hop’s recent past, thinking about its distant past, and wondering about the possibility of a future.”
You know it’s good when when he start’s off with quotes from John Bradford, Einstein, and Ice Cube (from his N.W.A days). And though the title focuses on Black America it’s really all about how hip hop rose from a black culture and has morphed into a mass culture dominating the mainstream with music and style. Along with that integration into the mainstream a lot of the fury and counterculture hip hop was built on has been diluted and turned back on itself, using it’s own power to ultimately subjugate itself.
Granted, the argument isn’t that easy or cut and dry. Being so accessible to mass culture has diluted the original invigorating elements but that’s still mostly only in the hip hop you’re going to ultimately find in pop culture. If you dig, it’s still there, there’s just more crap you have to dig through. I digress.
So far the first essay is incredible and even if I have arguments with some of the things ?uestlove says he puts things in a masterful way that lends themselves to debate and give and take as opposed to an all determinate I am right, you are wrong. ?uestlove, enigmatic drummer and hustler of culture.