Hip-Hop Is Not Violent



The Main Street Armory an entertainment venue in Rochester, NY decided to stop holding "urban" concerts following multiple acts of violence. Scott Donaldson, the owner of the venue, says, "he will no longer host Hip-Hop concerts.  According to Donaldson, there were few problems inside the venue once shows let out drawing outside agitators. Just last month, there was a shooting outside the armory. Neighbors have become tired of the late-night rowdiness.  Donaldson says he made his decision independent of any pressures from city hall, but he has been in communication with the city about safety precautions.
I had the opportunity to attend a Nas Hip-Hop concert at the Armory. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I believe this to be one of the venues positive concerts because:

1. Nas appeals to an older crowd of Hip-Hop fans

2.Nas is a positive role model for underrepresented youth coming from the same neighborhoods in which he derived


3. Hip-Hop is not violent!

I took Donaldson's decision personal as a Hip-Hop fanatic because it sends a message to Rochesterians that the music is the problem.

I want to defend Hip-Hop because it developed out of a time of  Black hardships, used as a political statement to deliver the messages of history, struggle and progression. Today it continues to be a used as a political message worldwide.

Donaldson's decision to eliminate Hip-Hop concerts scares me because I can foresee other venue owners across Rochester discriminating against the music when in all actuality their problems are with the type of people who attend these shows.

What about the youth?  I don't think it's smart to take an outlet that reaches out to underrepresented youth carrying the message of 2Pac "Keep Ya Head Up" and Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five "The Message". In all reality, I would be fooling myself to think this is the type of music presented to the youth at the armory. In fact, it's quite the opposite as most artists who perform at the venue hold a common theme Trap Music. Trap Music is a subgenre in Hip-Hop that lyrical content heavily highlights experiences in street life, poverty, violence, and hardships face in urban surroundings. Mix this with people from the fifth poorest city in the country whose no stranger to the "trap", and a Trap Artist and what do you get? People trappin, trappin, trappin, trappin all damn night. This is exactly why I don't know how to feel about Donaldson's decision.

Hip-Hop today is not  Hip-Hop of the past. The music is different, more commercialized rather than focused on artistic originality. Hype music is in and the songs popularized to youth today are filled with glamorized ideas of gun waving, coke slanging dope boyz. It's not to say that music didn't exist in Hip-Hop's past. However, it's damn sure sure not the same dope boy music of  Notorious B.I.G's  "Everyday Struggle". Then again, maybe I'm biased because this song had me feeling like Dave Grusin's "Either Way" wasn't the original.  It's not to say that the music is unrelatable. Those who live the lyrics of songs like Hard in Da Paint by Waka Flaka Flame will attend a concert just as those who think the songs makes them feel good. In Rochester, this line is never too far in-between. However, I believe there are many factors that contribute to the violence of the youth in a city where poverty rates are high and graduations rates are low. Furthermore, I don't believe discriminating against Hip-Hop is going to solve these issue at the Armory.

In discussing Donaldson's decision, I've paid close attention to the rhetoric used regarding the venue decision to stop holding Hip-Hop concerts. Throughout his media interviews, Donaldson spoke heavily about "urban" people. Personally I think if we're going to use politically correct terms like "urban" to refer to inner city violence, and youth let's just acknowledge that it's people of color involved in violence at the Armory. So, what's the best way to rid the violence? Eliminate the music that reduces the opportunities for these "kind of people" to destroy the area. Do I agree? No! Do I support violence? No! Who wants to worry about having their head blown off while attending a concert? No-one! Who has to deal with discrimination for liking Hip-Hop and attending Hip-Hop concerts? People like me. People who don't engage in the nonsense. People who just go for the music and, unfortunately, they're a couple of bad apples who ruin it for everyone.

All I ask is for people to not blame Hip-Hop, but it's incredibly hard when Trap Music has become its new identity.

To all my Hip-Hip fans one love <3.