Christopher Johnson, Chris Johnson, JAM discussed on All Of It


You're listening to all of it on WNYC analysis. We're going to continue our conversation about hip hop in its cultural influence by doing a little bit of a reporter. Debrief WNYC. Chris johnson. Hi, Christopher recently reported a piece called to be young conscious and wrap the sorts WNYC's the stakes new podcast, hosted by our friend KAI. Right. Chris want to take a look at the Genesis of socially and politically conscious rap where been we're going. Let's take a listen to a clip from the beginning of the episode, where Christopher explains what led him to explore this particular moment in hip hop history. Of course, there's definitely political and social consciousness in rap music today. And then when the rapid nipsy hustle was killed his death. It seemed to reignite this ongoing conversation about gun violence, especially in black and Brown communities. But this era the one that we're talking about now. This was the first big wave. Right. It felt like it was from the streets and it was dealing with what our communities were. Really going through. And so what I wanted to know was where did that consciousness in conscious? Rap come from and then where the hell did it go? Chris welcome where did it come from? Where did it go? What did it come from? Where did it go? Well, it's interesting. You know, you just had already on the great and he was talking about how he was his grandfather was part of Marcus garvey's universal negro improvement association, massive black organization. And this influenced him, I think that this is a story for a lot of rappers that they had this kind of lineage in their homes. They had grandparents grandmothers grandfathers aunts uncles who are very much influenced by black nationalism and responsibility for black communities and it was just naturally going to shake their music. Now, as you cited to report this story where did you go? Who did you decide you wanted to talk to you? How did you start? Yes. So first and foremost, I called up. Why didn't call up cool Modiin feed down like that. But I did reach out to Kumo d and every to the folks who made this song called self-destruction, which was sort of unprecedented. It was like a we are the world for those who, remember we are the world, it was like a we are the world, you and I remember it, it was like a we are the world rap music. It was sort of greats of hip hop, and people who would become great in hip hop. Music coming together making a song to try to affect change in black communities. So I start reaching out to the folks who made that like Nelson George and Carly shots. Staying carly. So if we had to pick a time a time when this sort of conscious rap really started when would that be I would put it at, and this is folks are gonna come from me, but I would put it around eighty seven eighty eight ish and put it there, partly because this is when we see, like K one from boogie down productions start to make shift Scotla rock his partner in boogie down, productions, get shot and killed in the Bronx around then and chaos one starts to kind of change his music a little bit. And it starts to become even more political. His second album by any means necessary has a picture of him on the cover posing, Malcolm X. And so this. Is when the music really, really starts to shift and then public enemy second album. It takes a nation of millions is just full force in-your-face pro black music. It's also this time and I think about cares. One about Chuck, d is that they have a certain. It's an overuse, word by the perfect gravitas. There's something about them as performers as men as citizens that I think they were perfect messengers at the time. I don't know if that's just about who they are, or what their life experiences where what do you think what do you think about them, particularly, I mean, do that it was something about who they were also think that it was about a moment. I mean, if we can just close our eyes and flashback to the eighties, not take anything away from their artistry. But I also think this was a moment of like a hardcore anti-apartheid push that was going on across the world. But especially black folks in the US we're taking this up. And also, again, like the eighties, this is Reagan. This is like this. Full-bore assault on black life in this country. And so in some ways, I think that the art couldn't help but take this stuff on and still continue to be relevant. We're talking to Christopher Johnson. He reported piece for the stakes podcast call to young conscious and rap. I wanna play a clip about dope, Jan with dope jam was dope. Jam was this concert that so this is like a right around the time when rap music is just starting to kind of take off their these series of toys that are happening in the eighties and dope, jam was one of these tours with all these big rappers on biz marquee, Dougie fresh Kumo d- was there and goes around the country in the summer in the last show is at Nassau Coliseum. And at that show. So there'd been a series of sort of been a lot of violence at rat shows around that time. And then at dope, jam a kid, actually gets killed at this dope. Jam concert, there guys going around snatching chains ching, purses and a kid. The story goes it he was defending his. Electing his girlfriend. And so he gets killed along the way. And so these artists come together after the Jan killing and say this has to stop and it's on us. We have to change this. Let's take a let's play a little bit of this, and we'll talk about more on the other side. I went looking for a test case I went looking for this time when hip hop artists answered a call to action when they use their art in their voices to push for social change. And I found that moment, so this is nineteen..

Coming up next