Traditional hip-hop lyrics about guns, women and homophobia are about to face a new competitor in the race for young Americans’ hearts and minds.
Princeton religious professor Cornel West has released an album designed to counter rap’s negative image, with major names like KRS-One and Levert participating.
“We need to respectfully challenge [rappers] on the issues of misogyny and homophobia,” says West.
“You can hear that on the album, too. Quit bashing gay brothers and lesbian sisters. Quit this domestic violence.”
The album, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelation, is West’s attempt to use hip-hop as a positive social force, he says.
The album features the professor’s lectures delivered with musical support from Andre 3000, Gerald Levert, Jill Scott, Killer Mike and KRS-One. Topics covered include the war in Iraq, homophobia, corporate power and September 11th.
The first two singles set to be released are Dear Mr. Man, featuring Prince, and incendiary Bushonomics, with Talib Kweli.
“We know that misogyny is shot through the culture,” West told USA Today<>.
“It’s in country. It’s in rhythm and blues. It’s in the White House, and it’s on Wall Street. So you can’t just single out the hip-hop artists and have them bearing the burden for the whole culture.
“On the other hand, Snoop Dogg is just as accountable as anybody else.”
Cornel West is currently advising presidential hopeful Barack Obama.