Unlike M&Ms crack does not melt in your mouth.
Crack is back, and the backpacker is dead, true say. Or is it? Pharrell and hipster sensationalism enabled the introduction of groups like The Clipse and their genre of rap, aptly coined “cocaine rap.” After Young Jeezy and T.I. blew up on the radio, their stories of their swift rise from corner crack dealer to to rap superstar further desensitized the drug element. Cocaine rap is highly misunderstood with most misplaced criticism aimed at the misconception that the mandate of it is the glorification of cocaine and more specifically the money making aspect of the cocaine/crack game. If you’ve never been in a position in your life to hustle drugs or something else, it’s extremely difficult to empathize with the notion of capitalizing off another person’s plight. Need a little case in point? Peep the article written in the UK’s The Guardian in 2007 which reviews The Clipse’s “Hell Hath No Fury” here. In this piece the pompous crumpet eating British journalist forces an expedition into the deeper meaning of the perverse genre of cocaine rap. He drops some crap about the need for rap to shock and awe with the extreme connotation of cocaine. Ultimately his belief that Young Jeezy and The Clipse represent some sort of ironic mockery of drugs and extremity leaves the journalist with a “weirdly heartening experience.” See my problem with this analysis is that if you haven’t hustled, thieved, spent time on the block or at least watched http://www.usdatv.com, how can you determine what motivates Jeezy or his fan-base? Fact is, the widely popular usage of cocaine themed tracks in rap is by no means a new phenomenon. From N.W.A. to Biggie to Juelz Santana and now Jeezy, cocaine has been around and for good reason.
Road trip anyone?
Since the 80′s and Reagan’s narcotic policies, crack/cocaine has infiltrated every urban center in the United States. Although things have certainly settled down since the late 80′s, crack is very much back, and more impacting then ever. Recently Congress has introduced a bill seeking to amend the Control Substances Act in an effort to “equalize” the penalties for cocaine and crack cocaine offenses. The problem with this legislation is that instead of lowering the penalty for crack related crimes, the act’s purpose purports to to toughen the penalties for cocaine related offenses. Considering the disparity in enforcement on blacks versus whites for drug related offenses, this type of legislation underlines the complexity of the issue as well as the extent to which this drug is embedded in our culture. And nowhere is crack more felt than in the hood.
The social pariah of crack cocaine is relevant to rap because it is rooted in the historical experience of African American people. Environmental racism is segregation in the same way that “Kristallnacht” was the mortar that built Auschwitz. The 90′s flooded the airwaves with conscious hip hop artists with opinions about inequality in society. These opinions were often eloquently versed by the likes of Common, Mos Def and Talib Kweli as they reinvigorated the concept of street poetry. Groups like Dead Prez have spent their career berating the status quo, most specifically about unbalanced law enforcement, the racially motivated kind.
Well you could. But that would be bad.
The flip side of this phenomenon was the overall lack of absorption of “backpacker” rap in the hood. Ironically the conscious rappers mandate to shine light on social disparity was being ignored and at times outright hated on by the hood. This “lost in translation” effect paved the way for the Master P’s, Trick Daddy’s and Jeezy’s to claim their rightful place on the pulpit. Exemplifying the ebb and flow of hip hop, there appears to be the birth of a new type of social commentary manifesting itself in rap. No longer does the need to rise above the bling have to come at the cost of street credibility, or more importantly street appreciation. The poster boys of this movement are the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco, Wale, and these Philly cat’s featured in the video below. The formula for Crackpack is pretty simple: lyrically relate to the hustler on the corner in a genuine manner, and keep your lexicon relevant and non-exclusive. Real recognizes real. At a consumer level Crackpack (I coined this, copyright pending) when delivered well is an ideal fusion of thought provoking lyrics with gangster sensibilities. When done correctly you put yourself in the conversation for the next 5 years of hip hop, stumble one bit and you get branded Wanksta status. Tis a fine line, walk it sober.
Here’s some crack for your pod: Makin Moves presents Cocaine Flow 5-Young Jeezy & Rick Ross