Touré vs. Stanley Crouch…And the Winner is!

After last years overflow of televised debates about rap (BET’s Hip Hop vs. America series and Oprah’s townhall meeting, etc.) I can say I’m pretty tired of the back-and-forth about rap’s pros and , uhem, cons… Though I’m always drawn back in by a little jousting via the pen. So, last week, I was definitely sucked into the essay battle over at The Daily Beast between writers Touré and Stanley Crouch about the merits—or lack thereof—of rap music. Crouch, hearing about Jay-Z and other hip-hoppers possibly being a part of Barack’s inauguration, rehashed his almost 20 year argument that the music is nothing but minstrelsy and a criminal influence that needs to be done away with, going so far as to give his own statement that “hip-hop is dead” saying:

“We are approaching a time of no mo hos. No mo bitches. No mo black nigger motherfuckers. The denigrated appear to be losing a taste for the hatred, the pornography, the violence.”

While Touré, in response, made the argument that, once again, black boomers, in their one-sized criticism of hip-hop music and it generation, refuse to see the more constructive and complex hip-hop music that is out there saying:

"It’s easy to point at a segment of any culture, especially the basest part, and represent all young white women any more than the buffoons Crouch points at represent all of hip-hop.”

Between the two arguments, I would have to say Touré won (if there were a winner to pick). His point that, while rap is filled with ill behavior and lyrics, there is currently—I’d even say more so than in a long time— a lot of “mature and classy” hip-hop not being observed by hip-hop hatin’ boomers like Crouch. Though Touré’s final point that hip-hop and its generation is a certain way because the older generation wasn’t there is kind of a cop out, an argument I’ve heard numerous times before and have taken with a grain salt. On the one hand, I do believe certain dysfunctional behavior, especially when it comes to violence and treatment of the opposite sex, is a result of no guidance from the elders. Black music that celebrates violence and misogyny is only the result of ignorance, laziness, greed, and no will to bite the hand that feeds. And that’s not a lack of common sense. That’s just a denial of it.