Why Hipsters Need to Stop Writing About Hip Hop Culture

Posted: April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Last week, Doran Miller-Rosenberg, a writer for EliteDaily.com published  “Why the ’6 Ways to Stop Your Child From Being Brainwashed By Mainstream Rap’ Guide Got It All Wrong’”, a nasty rebuttal to my original article which was an over-the-top, comedic take on what parents need to do to wean their kids off commercial rap. Mr. Miller-Rosenberg, a 20-something hipster from Brooklyn didn’t get it. Whereas a simple critique of my article would have been within reason, Doran, or D-Bag as I like to call him, spent the majority of his digital ink on attacking my person with cheap shots and half-baked arguments while completely brushing off both the satirical nature of my article and the very real social implications of mainstream rap’s influence on kids. Of course, that’s to be expected from someone whose social awareness is most likely limited to which neighborhood has the best organic bagels.

But he’s not the first cornball hipster to write about rap and be ridiculously off base. So here’s to D-Bag and all his Generation Y cohorts: stay in your lane, kids. Stick to writing about Williamsburg’s trendiest coffee shops, Coachella, or why the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” left you disappointed. Let conscious-minded cats who live and breathe Hip Hop speak for the culture. You’re not welcome in this house.

Waxing poetic about Chief Keef’s brilliance while ignoring the depressing realities the rapper’s music reflects is a luxury only a clueless, disconnected snob can afford. While you arrogant clowns absolve yourselves of any accountability by arguing against the moralizing of art, misguided kids are trying to live out the lyrics to songs you and your grad school homies party to. While you celebrate Gucci Mane’s reckless abandon as the ultimate display of counter-culture cool, the artist known as Radric Davis is spiraling downwards, in and out of jail, and in my estimation, in need of serious therapy. Magically, the average garden-variety trap rapper becomes your personal virtual tour guide through Anyhood, USA wherein you can live your wildest “ghetto” fantasies vicariously, “fuck as many bitches” as you want, make it rain on the baddest chicks, hold heat, sip a little lean (which you’ve probably already tried with your best friend Ethan and some free-spirited blonde named Dakota one boring Saturday night)…all while finally experiencing the liberating sensation of dropping the N word at will.  One can only dream, right?  And then it’s back to your regular life as an espresso-sipping, greasy combed-over-haired, trust-fund dick head who’d piss your pants if you ever found yourself face to face with the very same hood characters you get hard daydreaming about.

Ahhhhh…..stereotypes can be so fun. But you know that all too well.

Those pseudo-progressive ideologies and faux anti-establishment leanings you cloak yourselves in quickly come apart when life invites you to fully embrace your privileged background and trade in your so-called love of Hip Hop and thrift store fashions for a suit, a tie, and a cushy job at some marketing firm in charge of promoting everything you once claimed to stand against. People like you can’t be trusted. You’re too self-involved and will change like the wind when opportunity knocks.

But for now, your youthful delusions give you just enough balls to believe that you can rewrite, remix, rearrange, reshape and redefine Hip Hop, a culture in which you have nothing invested, no matter how much you’ve “studied” it or how large your vinyl collection is.  But you’re not Hip Hop and will never be. You don’t speak for the culture and get no love from those whose blood, sweat and tears made Hip Hop what it is. The publications and blogs you write for have no credibility in the eyes of those who have dedicated their lives to this culture. Your thoughts, words and ideas are as irrelevant as MTV’s annual Best MC’s of All Time List. Still, as irrelevant as you may be to genuine Hip Hop culture, as long as outlets like Spin, Gawker, Fader and Pitchfork pass you off as tastemakers, your uninformed rantings might just be accepted as law by younger, more impressionable rap fans who tend to believe anything they read. This is why you must be neutralized. I’m not going to watch passively as you rewrite Hip Hop’s current narrative without calling you out on your bullshit. You can try to intellectualize mainstream rap’s dysfunction until the grass-fed cows come home, but your poorly disguised racial fetishes expose you every time.

For many of us, Hip Hop culture saved our lives, or at the very least, gave it a purpose. Our worldviews,  politics, social awareness, and sense of self have been shaped by Hip Hop. Some of us have become activists, community organizers, educators, healers, youth advocates and socially responsible entrepreneurs because Hip Hop gave us the spark to believe we could change the world. And here you come, smug and pretentious, imposing your values on a culture that doesn’t need you or want you, just like your predecessors imposed themselves on lands that weren’t theirs and how you follow suit today by gentrifying and redefining countless neighborhoods that don’t want you either. Most of you are Hip Hop culture vultures on a safari of appropriation and exploitation. You take and give nothing back. You’re the worst. Stay away from Hip Hop.

But at the end of the day, Doran Miller-Rosenberg, we don’t even have to look that deeply. The proof is in the pudding. I write for RapRehab, You for Elite Daily.  That pretty much says it all.



  1. Anna S. Kedi says:

    Perfect. People should learn to mind their own businesses. 28yo, living in Cameroon but sharing the thoughts. Hip-Hop is something that you live and understand really and only when it is connected to ur roots, ur history. It helps you connect the dots. Most of those mainstream singers are just in search for money. No wonders that they can’t capture the picture of the art. Keep going Seb. We need more of people like you, to remind us why Hip-Hop is unique!!

  2. brothers1 says:

    Reblogged this on Brothers Perspective Magazine and commented:
    very important writing … check this out

  3. Thank you so much for this, great article. If it weren’t for hip hop I wouldn’t have a framework to articulate my experiences, if it weren’t for hip hop I would have never read Galeano and Fanon, if it weren’t for hip hop I wouldn’t know that my very existence is resistance. Thank you.

  4. Amuesi says:

    My response is long…..

    Hmmmm. hiphop came into being for the people. It was a movement by teens who were overlooked and undervalued by those already ignored and they made art. They partied to it, they danced to it, and they informed each other thru it, and they let a world that didn’t care about them know that they are human beings.

    They made the music so that hipster could relate to them. They wanted to be valued by those that didn’t value them. They wanted to be seen. So to take out the core element of humanity of the hip hop culture to me is not authentic. Hip hop borrowed and re created from all sources and welcomed in anyone – at least in theory. It made the gang banger see that their lives were valuable and killing each other wasn’t getting them any where. Hip hop solved problems first off by naming them and then thru the art empowering people.

    What we are seeing now is part of what the hopes of hip hop were: to be music for anyone of any stature. It is one of only a few art forms that has permeated every country and race of people and said you are hip hop. We don’t see hip hop the same, so why are we trying to exclude some from it? You always had stragglers in this…New York hated when hiphop went national with Rappers Delight. Philly wasn’t really welcomed in when Fresh Prince and the Roots first started. Remember when OutKast and Fresh Prince got booed at the Grammy’s by the “true” hip hop heads? Remember the beef btn East coast and West Coast raps? Those happened because somewhere we decided that hip hop could only look like this, and only this type of person could do it…and if you got over 30, you were not supposed to rap no more.

    Hip Hop is more than the music. It was about unity and having fun, and uplifting each other….where is that now? Cats like Ice Tee blasting younger rappers, forgetting that many in NY hated him and thought his only claim to fame was his then wife ( I bought the album for the cover, not the content) – and his whack explanation for playing cops when he wrote a song “fuck the police”. We never talk about the knowledge except to diss someone for their opinion on rap, and we never bring up the DJing/sampling, or the street art, or the dancing. Hip Hop has become monolythic and that is why we think all of us should see it the same way. We don’t. We don’t talk about the innovations – like Grand Master Flash making the first DJ Mixer (18 year old kid) or how Kool Herc blew hip hop up by being on the radio before WBLS, RKS, or Hot 97.

    Yeah we can blast people. I am not considered a Hip Hop enthusiast because I don’t remember lyrics, but I remember beats because my lens is thru that of a DJ, break beats, sampling, and keeping a crowd moving with new, fresh mixes that they only get when they come to hear me spin. Those hipster have a lot to say and maybe we should listen because we may get a whole new perspective on what the trends are and what the world sees of Black people and the culture in general…we may not like what we are shown – and maybe it will cause us to be innovators again, and show that we are not idiots, that we can spark new conversations and cause us to think about global impact…maybe even discover new laws of nature or discover more of who we are as human beings. So before we are quick to judge and tell others to shut up (which is a form of bullying), maybe we should be quick to listen and slow to speak.

    The founders of hip hop wanted hip hop to be for anyone who wanted it.

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