Volume 1 | Issue 1 February 2018
EL-HAJJ MALIK EL-SHABAZZ
SWITCH TO THE "B" SIDE
Music of the Harlem Renaissance vs. Today’s Music
by Osazele P. Iyayi
Music, during the Harlem Renaissance, was important. It was one of the ways the followers of the movement accepted Black heritage and culture in American life. During the entire movement, a lot of things happened. A whole new genre of music was created and new forms of fashion were created. To keep things simple and sweet, the Harlem Renaissance was an age of originality and genius. The music was truly beautiful because it wasn't anything cliche’. It was something, truly, never heard before. Not to sound pretentious but, it is actually the polar opposite of what we have now. The Black community is now known for rap, and not even good rap, mumble rap. Compare this to the soothing jazz music that we had during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. I don't want to sound old but, I think it is about time we were reminded of where we came from. Music is very important to me, being a musician myself. In a song, the story is very important. Music takes the listener through a different mindset, something positive. Now, music is about gang violence, drugs, killing people, and women.
The original identity of Black music is lost. I'm not saying that all rap music is bad, I am saying that at this point in time you can take a pretty accurate guess of what the lyrics of a song is going to be about just by hearing the beat. I'm also saying that music should be more positive and not just sending a bad message to the youth, coming behind us. Jazz, Old School Rap and R&B was positive. It told a story and look where we are now. We are overly concerned about how much money we spend on Jordans and how much trouble we get into; that's considered cool. I wasn't born in the time of Old School Rap, Jazz and R&B so, what if things weren’t as positive as I am told. What if older people would rather talk about how positive their time was and not address the negative forms of music. I know our rap music right now, or at least all the popular ones that are considered “hard” are bad, but we also have some good rap music. A good example would be songs by J. Cole.
Here is something that I want to tell everyone who reads this article (and this is coming from a teenager). Life is a battle of good and bad. I spent the entire beginning of this article complaining about the bad music we have right now in our communities but, let’s flip the side of the tape every once in a while.
I complained about the younger generation, but it is up to us who are going to be parents of the younger generation to teach them the difference between good and bad.
We must teach that there is a Side A and a Side B.
My advice to everyone who has a problem with our current music……
Switch to side B. Listen to J.Cole. Listen to some Logic, switch to Side B.