Do you know what is missing in the hip-hop culture in 2013? Culture? Individualism? Understanding? A conscious? Sure all of these, but we can lump them into one statement, knowledge of self. I’m not talking about the Muslim, 5%, account but rather the knowledge of one’s surroundings. What made me fall in love with rap music, wasn’t the harsh language or the womanizing, which ironically is it’s huge draw today. No, the soul of the music drew me in. The heart that is poured out over the tracks. Songs about struggle, rising up, being taken serious, refusal to stand for the injustices being done everywhere. These songs are fewer and further apart these days. Not to say they don’t exist, they do, but they have gone from being album focal points to fillers. Conscious artists get upset because they get labeled “conscious”, and the masses stop paying attention, so they distance themselves. Still other rappers take the cop out, “I rap about the streets and try to give hope to the children”. Please, how are you giving hope? You rent $100k cars for videos, rent chains, rent models, rent houses and even clothing. You portray lifestyles which you know nothing about. You create unrealistic goals for children to hold up to. You create crooks. The average American family cannot afford a pair of $100 sneakers every week for kids. So the kids resort to illegal means to maintain the image of what is success. You aren’t successful unless you have the newest Jordan shoes. If anything rappers are “Perpetuating Hopelessness” and glorifying ignorance. I miss the days of rappers like Common who wouldn’t just sprinkle a song about Civil Rights activist Assata Shakur on an album but he made it a statement. However, you bring up Common to anyone these days and all you hear about is the Badu period or his “acting” gigs. It’s a shame.