Hip Hop and the Crack Epidemic
It was during the mid-asses that the emergence of a new assemble form of cocaine, called crack. Had been Introduced to the united States. Crack. Was highly-addictive and swept through impoverished areas of cities such as New York, Los Angels, Oakland, and Miami. In the end it caused devastating effects for black and Latino Americans. As crack cocaine was becoming a grim and rising epidemic, hip hop was evolving alongside It.
It was In the asses that crack cocaine and hip hop became the two leading fundamentals of urban street culture.It is not suggested that hip hop caused the crack epidemic, or vice versa. But, it can be argued that both fed off each other, particularly hip hop off the crack culture itself. Crack cocaine quickly gained popularity among users In the asses due to Its cheap cost, and the quick, Intense high It left. Compared to freebase cocaine, which Involved a complicated ritual involving Ether, crack cocaine had become simplistic and easier to manage. The drug was “made from powder cocaine, but because its production [did] not require the use of flammable solvents, it [was] safer to make than freebase cocaine” (Watson).It had been poverty stricken, Donnelly “Freeway Risky” Ross, who learned how to simplify the free basing process by using baking soda instead of Ether.
Ross became legendary for spreading the idea linked with the formation of “ready rock”, which allowed the drug to be smoked instantaneously (Planet Rock). In reality, crack cocaine had been a drug first used among rich, Caucasian, Americans due to Its high selling price. With the creation of “ready rock”, the drug was no longer strictly used among the wealthy.It was in the ass when crack cocaine was able to stray away from he faces it once knew, and move into inner-city, urban areas. The mass production of “ready rock” put a whole new twist on the drug game (Planet Rock). Crack cocaine soon brought violence and tragedy to the streets of America. Louis Frees (also known as B-Real, from the hip hop group Cypress Hill) explained, “You had the gang bangers killing each other.
You had the drug dealers battling for territory. It was like the wild, wild west when crack came [along]. The drug had hit during the recession of the early ass. At the time people were struggling and facing poverty, along with he fact that unemployment was at a record high. Crack became easy to come across, easy to sell, and therefore easy to make a living off of. Jobs were minimalist, so people in urban areas turned to the lifestyle of selling drugs. This idea had been explained perfectly, “You are a teenager and perhaps barely that.
You live In an inner city ghetto. You probably have dropped out of school and you have a chance to earn $1,000 a week selling crack.What do you do? You sell crack” (Plant Rock). Simple as that. “The collapse of inner city economy had created a new way of life; an economy based on drugs” (Planet Rock). Crack addict parents did not care about their children and women would prostitute themselves to pay for their own “thrill”. The drug was so powerful, it emptied the little money people had from their pockets, into those of drug dealers.
In the meantime, hip hop had started exploding in the ass and cocaine was seen as “fly; shaping the culture at the time.It was the drug dealers, bystanders, and people who smoked crack themselves that wanted their voices to be heard. Hip hop became the soundtrack of their experiences, whether it 1 OFF coming the voice of a group of people. At the time, crack cocaine dealers were ultimately funding hip hop, whether it was for the success of their career or someone else’s. Eric Wright (Easy-E) was the founding member of the rap group N. W. A.
He had used his drug money to finance his own label known as Ruthless Records. “Easy- E was a man that defined gangster rap for a generation.He invented the image and style of the gangster rapper, which was almost more important than the music itself” (Renewing). There is little question that he came from the streets, but this had en a growing comparison among the correlation of hip hop and the crack generation. “Not only did black teenagers in similar situations relate to what Easy was talking about, but white suburban kids fantasized about being in his situation” (Renewing). The crack cocaine business continued to thrive. “Freeway Rick was at the top of his game and helping to spread crack across the country’ (Planet Rock).
In the beginning, crack had only been found by the DEAD, to be isolated in seven major cities. Approximately a year after that, it was found to have spread to ore than 40 different cities across the United States; including Dallas and Des Monies, Iowa (Planet Rock). It got too point where people came from all over Just to buy the drug. “It was kind of like exporting a business almost … Or exporting a product” (Planet Rock).
Chuck Doff Public Enemy stated, “City by city, this white tornado was swirling on; Just wiping out black America.We said we had to do something to make this seem very unattractive to a young audience. ” Public Enemy’s in your face track, “Night of the Living Beachheads”, became an anti-crack epic. It was nonsense’s, among the group, that crack cocaine was appalling. “4, 5 o’clock in the morning’, wait a minute fall/ The fiends are fiends’/ Day to day to day they say no other way/ This stuff is really bad, I’m talking’ ’bout BASS” (Public Enemy). Crack kingpins were soon being taken down. The real war on drugs would be conducted against low-level drug dealers; those selling crack on the streets.
These kids were getting sentenced at a rate that was 100 times higher than those sentenced for cocaine powder (Planet Rock). President Bush wanted to crack down, so they cracked own on everybody. From this moment on, there would be people questioning the effectiveness of the War on Drugs. Calvin Corridor Broads, Jar. Also known as Snoop Dog, was caught up in this hysteria when he was busted for selling rocks at one of his usual spots. In a testimony he stated, “l didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong. I wasn’t shooting anybody.
I wasn’t raping anybody. I wasn’t robbing anybody. I was giving somebody a service for what they were paying me for. ” Snoop was part of a national trend of mass incarceration that will see 1 in 3 young black ales in America caught up in the Justice system (Planet Rock). Professor of Law, Paul Butler explained, “The young black men who were the primary creators of hip hop, are the most incarcerated group in the history of the world. ” As they turned to hip hop, the hustlers of the crack generation would document all of their experiences in rhyme.In doing so, they would change the course of popular music and culture.
In the streets, prison or death was guaranteed. Hip hop had a voice which is why many started rapping. Styles of rap dealt with people’s style of living. In 1991, Cypress Hill ad enough attraction in the music business that they were genuinely able to leave the drug business for good. “It was always trying to create awareness. This was the if it was not for the rap game, crack would still be a dominant force in their lives (Planet Rock).They say the only way to fix a lack of hope is to create opportunity, and for the crack generation, hip hop represented the best way out they were ever going to get.
A number of ex-crack dealers were breaking through to become dominant figures in the hip hop business. A new era was beginning, as children who hustled in he ass, were turning their back on dealing crack altogether. Www-Tang Clan, who were all ex-convicts, came along with the right music and became successful. They set a blueprint for hardcore hip hop of that decade (Planet Rock). Practically every rapper who has come along from the early ass and going forward either is rapping about crack cocaine, or has to make some reference to the crack trade because it’s so pervasive in the terms of their lives and the lives of the culture” (Planet Rock). One can analyze the music of hip hop artists in the ass and see the story being told within heir lyrics. “We used to fight for building blocks/ Now we fight for blocks with buildings that make a killing” Jay-G’s early days as a drug dealer funded his early rap career that brought him to the very point where he is in his life today.
His superstars allowed other rappers to shine without slinging rocks” (Landis). “First of all I want to thank my connect/ The most important person, with all due respect/ Thanks to the duffel bag, the brown paper bag/ The Nikkei shoe box for holding all this cash/ Boys in blue who put green before the badge/ The first pusher whoever made he stash” Ay-Z) Basically Jay-Z is giving a “thank you” speech in this song, acknowledging everybody and everything that helped him succeed.In conclusion, the crack generation was a catalyst for a new era in hip hop. Behind the prison sentences and killings, lies a classic story of American reinvention that took these kids form the hard streets of the ghetto, to the pinnacle of success. Who would have imagined so much would come from crack; a demon drug. These success stories are from a generation of outcasts and criminals turned to celebrities. That is the power of American culture.