Ignoring Hip-Hop Ensures a Democratic President in 2016
How the Right seals its own fate by rejecting a popular genre of music and its millions of fans.
(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/03/Hip-Hop-graffiti1.jpg)[This is the third part of Ronn Torossian’s three-part series on why hip-hop and Jay-Z are worthy of America’s respect. To read part 1, click here, for part 2, click here.]
Wise conservatives might ask why Barack Obama was re-elected despite terrible approval ratings. According to Gallup, Obama averaged 49.1% job approval during his first term in office. His performance was subpar, he broke repeated promises, and the economy still struggled, yet he was handily re-elected. Despite the facts that it will be an 8-year Obama reign and that there’s no strong GOP candidate, conservatives continue to claim to know it all.
Conservatives don’t open their minds – and Democrats are likely to win the election again in 2016. Conservative ideology shouldn’t be changed - it is right and the left is wrong on the issues.
However, dictating to people what they should listen to and how they should dress is un-American. Hip-hop crosses all racial and ethnic lines – all across the country. Conservatives who endlessly criticize hip-hop are wrong and don’t understand what hip-hop is. They also don’t have a clue what their children are listening to, nor do they have any clue how to affect popular culture. Wake up – the world has changed.
On college campuses nationwide, youth listen to hip-hop. Leaving aside the fact that hip-hop crosses all racial boundaries, are these haters aware that hip-hop’s largest consumer base is the Hispanic community? With the continued growth of Hispanics in America, how does the GOP intend to capture these votes? Consider hip-hop. It is so hypocritical for pro-capitalism conservatives to hate on an entire industry which has such mass appeal.
Hip-hop has empowered a whole new generation of people who were previously disenfranchised. Few American industries are more entrepreneurial than hip-hop.
Take these lyrics from Ma$e:
“Now what the hell is you lookin’ for?/ Can’t a young man get money anymore?/ Let my pants sag down to the floor/ Really do it matter as long as I score?”
In America, whether you wear a hoodie like Mark Zuckerberg or a 3-piece suit, indeed you can succeed. In a shock to some who read this site, kids today grow up wanting to be entrepreneurs, not doctors or lawyers. Hip-hop encourages that. We don’t want government hand-outs, we want to earn our money. Conservatives should let hip-hop fans know they don’t judge and accept people who want to create their own rule book.
So many of us, whether it is Jamie Glazov, the editor of Front Page Magazine, who came to this country as a refugee, or me, Ronn Torossian, who grew up in the Bronx with a single mother, need role models and people we can relate to. Kids today who don’t have huge opportunities need positive thinking – and so too do people of all ages. That’s offered in hip-hop. Take the words of Eminem, who says, “You can do anything you set your mind to,” or the greatest rapper alive, Jay-Z, who says, “I’d rather die enormous than live dormant.” Dreaming big is important and hip-hop allows us to envision and realize those dreams. In contrast, Americans don’t see government officials as enviable no matter where they fall on the political spectrum.
My children are blessed to attend private school with very smart and well-connected kids and families – I wasn’t able to do that. Thankfully, they have so many opportunities I didn’t have, and the non-stop work ethic is something that is hard for many of us to associate with good ol’ boys in the GOP. Can’t the GOP adopt some of the quotes and language from hip-hop to widen its base?
Sean “Diddy” Combs has a work ethic unlike anyone else. As he says, “I demand the best. Sleep is forbidden. If you work for me, you have to roll how I roll. I’m not really human. I’m like a machine.” Or Will Smith, a brilliant actor, whom so many watched on TV as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Smith said, “The first step before anyone else in the world believes it, is that YOU have to believe it.” They are so right – and we need to know we don’t need to go to Harvard to be successful and make it. Why not identify with these people and let them know that the conservative movement believes they should be rewarded for their hard work, by paying lower taxes and keeping more of their money? Conservatives would gain so many votes.
How about this gem from Birdman? “Your work ethic has to be to the ceiling. You’re gonna get out of this what you’re putting into it.” And while the conservative movement struggles with ways to balance social values with a conservative ethos, aren’t there “values” related issues on which we can cooperate?
Take Jay-Z’s great song “Mama I made it”:
“I told you one day I’d get you a home /I didn’t know it could possibly be in Rome/ Told me don’t wait on nobody get your own/ So with me myself and my microphone I made it. … Mama I made it.”
Is it not completely hypocritical to attack these lyrics or values? How many welfare cases have become millionaires because of hip-hop? How many honest businessmen used to be criminals because of hip-hop?
Sean “Diddy” Combs, whose father was killed when he was 33, was a criminal. Yet he says: “This is my plan. When I’m in the studio making a hit record, I’m not trying to make a hit record; I’m making one. This is what I studied. This is why I stay up twenty hours a day.” His children will have great opportunities in America – and that’s the American way. True conservative values.
LL Cool J, the rare Republican in hip-hop, said, “Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep trying.” If one reads the comments from conservatives on recent FrontPage hip-hop related articles, we are destined to fail yet again amongst the young and amongst pop culture because our minds are closed. Conservatives aren’t trying – they know it all. It’s unfortunate.
A classic hip-hop song, one I remember hearing ad naseum in the Bronx in the 1980s, featured a rapper named Special Ed rapping, “I’m talented, yes I’m gifted/ Never boosted, never shoplifted/ I got the cash, but money ain’t nothing.” I remember hearing countless people understand the importance of making money and doing good things in the world. Even if one is unconventional, he should seek to make big things happen. Closing out hip-hop completely is simply absurd and a definite way to close out major segments of America. It’s a major mistake.
Every day before I go to work, I listen to Jay-Z’s “My 1st Song,” as it inspires me to work hard and always challenge myself for more:
I’m just, tryin to stay above water y’know/ Just stay busy, stay workin/ Puff told me like, the key to this joint/ The key to staying, on top of things/ is treat everything like it’s your first project, knahmsayin? Like it’s your first day like back when you was an intern/ Like, that’s how you try to treat things like, just stay hungry/ Treat my first like my last, and my last like my first/ And my thirst is the same as - when I came/ It’s my joy and my tears and my laughter it brings to me/ It’s my ev-ery-thing/ Treat my first like my last, and my last like my first/ And my thirst like the first song I sang.
My PR firm has grown because we will not be outworked – no one will ever try harder than us.
President Obama will go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever. One of the reasons is that he has made an enemy out of anyone domestically who disagrees with him. The many conservatives who have issues with hip-hop should make more of an effort to understand the movement and why it appeals to so many who are outside of the norm. Don’t make them your enemies, especially since Hispanics keep growing in America.
The world has changed. There’s a multi-racial President in the White House. It’s not all the same as it used to be. Conservatives should start figuring out how to move on and capture more youth, minority, and Hispanic votes, or they can forget winning an election for the near future.
The challenge, as Jay-Z put it in “A Dream,” is “Remind yourself. Nobody built like you, you design yourself.” The GOP needs to open the tent to people who understand the reality of America in 2014 and beyond.
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