Doc Watch: 'Dumb It Down: Exposing Hip-hop'


Via Madame Noire TV:

"Over the years, mainstream media and pop culture created a stigma that looks down upon being intelligent. In today’s society “being cool” is actually the opposite of being intelligent, and essentially certain entertainers “dumb down” their intelligence for ratings and record sales. Dumb it Down exposes the entertainment industry for forcing prominent African American celebrities to tone down their intelligence in order to maintain relevant".

Last night I stumbled upon this doc while surfing Madame Noire. Dumb it Down accesses the changing sounds of Hip-Hop, from its underground beginnings to when the genre became commercialized. It's a completely mind blowing documentary for Hip-Hop fans across the nation. It left me wanting to further discussions surrounding the direction of Hip-Hop and most importantly the decisions of White executives who control a majority of the industry. Here are the three thoughts I have after watching:

1.  Ice Ice Baby might have contributed to the death of Hip-Hop.

The 1990s hit Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice was the first Hip-Hop song to top the Billboard 100 Charts. It is often considered the song to diversify Hip-Hop, making it mainstream. However, although successful it was controversial as many believed the "success" of the song was because a White rapper stood behind the lyrics. Although the 90s is often deemed the Golden Era of Hip-Hop it's also considered Hip-Hop's greatest downfalls as artists like MC Hammer, and Vanilla Ice were labeled to bring to generic, soulless lyrics to Hip-Hop. Unfortunately, leaving behind socially conscious lyrics to gain international pop star success. Ultimately the pop bugs MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice were hit with seem to spread into today's generation of rappers. So, I hate say but it seems Ice Ice Baby contributed to the death of Hip-Hop or least the socially conscious genre I know of.


I think there's a system in place. A system that skews the identity of Hip-Hop as much as it controls the public perceptions of the Black identity. A system that heavily promotes Tom Foolery in our music and the 'dumb it down' is a heavy factor in this. Will Hip-Hop ever get back to it's roots? I don't know. The path it's going down I fear eventually the music that was core to its humble beginnings will become a trace of the past.

3. It's strange to see those who "Dumb Down" Black culture critique how Hip-Hop music is suffering.

I am a full supporter of Moguldom Studios and its brands like Bossip and Madame Noire. However, in particular for the gossip website Bossip I find it hard for representatives of these bands to critique in Dumb It Down how the music has dumb down Black culture when they too are a part of the downward trend. If we're going to attack the changing genre then we need to attack the culture surrounding the music and that includes blogs who put negativity into our Black communities. Hey, I guess dumbing it down pays right?

Head to Madame Noire TV to watch the documentary. Check out the trailer below!