If you don't like, don't buy it
November 6, 2003
By DeVone Holt
Entertainment enthusiast DeVone Holt once considered himself one of hip-hop’s most supportive fans. However, after watching the culture pollute society with a barrage of unhealthy messages he now stands in opposition of the music he once adamantly defended.
The following is the third in a series of excerpts from his recently-released book Hip-Hop Slop: The Impact of a Dysfunctional Culture that challenge the many arguments used to defend the current state of hip-hop:
If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Buy It
According to super producer Dr. Dre, there was only one alternative for those who took odds with the music he made as a member of the now-defunct group N.W.A. (Niggas With Attitude). "We didn’t care what people said," he admitted. "If you don’t like, don’t buy it."
Dr. Dre and many others mistakenly believe the practical solution to quieting those who take issue with hip-hop’s dark side is to suggest that they turn a deaf ear to the culture. The reality is that hip-hop artists aren’t selling many albums to their critics to begin with, which thwarts the effectiveness of this recommendation.
With a few exceptions, hip-hop’s critics rarely purchase the music, watch the videos or closely monitor the industry, yet because of its ubiquitous presence, they find themselves surrounded by the culture that hip-hop creates.
Those critics are similar to the sorority girl who went to a college keg party. Although she refrained from drinking, she couldn’t avoid the intoxicated fraternity boys who persistently approached her to make unflattering gestures. After deciding to escape the rowdy venue, she was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver who was returning to the party after making a beer run. Although she didn’t indulge in the plentiful amount of alcohol available at the party, she still suffered from the effects it had on those around her.
Similarly, hip-hop’s critics understand that they don’t have to be tuned into the culture to feel its effects. They know that even if they avoid listening to hip-hop music, watching hip-hop videos, reading hip-hop magazines, or wearing hip-hop clothes they’re still susceptible to the unflattering attitudes, violent behavior, dangerous sexual agendas, and lewd behavior of some of those who indulge in the culture.
Many of them are rightfully concerned that although they could conceivably eliminate hip-hop from their children’s cultural diet, they can’t guarantee that their daughters won’t be the victim of some Ja Rule fan who emulates the rapper’s lyrics: "I got girls all across the sea, and I keep ‘em drugged up off that Ecstasy."
According to the "if you don’t like it, don’t buy it" philosophy, the only tactic critics can employ to address their issues with hip-hop is to avoid it. However, wise critics know that the destinies of hip-hop fans and haters are inextricably linked.
They know that avoiding the commotion in the hip-hop industry is like a first-class passenger ignoring the ruckus in the back of an airplane. Although the immediate threat isn’t in first class, passengers understand that if the people in the coach section cause the airplane to go down, they go down with it. Therefore, it behooves them to restore order in the back of the airplane, like it does critics to improve the hip-hop industry to ensure safety in every community.
DeVone Holt is the author of the new book Hip-Hop Slop: The Impact of a Dysfunctional Culture. To learn more about the book or to share your thoughts on the state of hip-hop visit www.HipHopSlop.com. DeVone Holt can be reached at Dholt@hiphopslop.com.