Since, as everyone knows, the reason Imus got fired was rap music and not because he's a racist, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee held a hearing last week on negative imagery in hip hop. Although the committee apparently invited anyone involved in the hip hop industry to testify, the interesting combination of newly cuss-free Master P and indie MC on the rise, David Banner, were the only rappers to speak.
“How and when did society fail you that you would choose to write such filth?” asked Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) of MCs in general. Yes, it has been a while since the “music causes drugs and violence” card has been played, hasn’t it? It’s not that the drug and violence-riddled neighborhoods in which some rappers live might be the reason that some of their subjects are drug and violence, right?
As familiar with the No Limit catalogue as I’m sure the Congresswoman is, anyone who knows anything about real hip hop should be thankful Banner was there to talk some sense to the pols. “I can admit that there are some problems in hip hop," he said. "But it is only a reflection of what is taking place in our society. Hip hop is sick because America is sick.”
In their eye-rollingly headlined, "Hip-hop hearings are no rapper's delight," The Politico whined, "That’s when the hearing began to sound familiar, with artists and executives bemoaning the sad state of urban culture but offering no plan for change."
Why is it the job of rappers to offer plans for change? And why is Congress’ job worrying about lyrics, as opposed to working on legislation that could reverse some of the conditions they’re so offended by when rapped about?