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Hiphop was always a cultural collage, a combination of elements, eclectic and innovative. Birthed on the heels of the Black Nationalist movements of the 60’s and 70’s, it too had a ‘by any means necessary’ mentality as the art form was constructed out of the scraps of inner city life. Hiphop is a collaboration of sounds, sights, movement, feelings, the taste of sweat and the smell of Krylon paint. Hiphop didn’t produce its own raw materials. We co-opted them from other uses and found new applications for them. In the way we rocked whatever it was we made it our own. Why should our approach to politics be any different?

In the beginning, rap had very limited resources and was largely ignored by the music industry. As a business it was unorganized and lacked sophistication. Hiphop as a cultural movement was embryonic. Politically, we are in a very similar position to what the pioneers of this art form were in at the beginning. We are facing the same situations in entering the political arena that rap’s early entrepreneurs faced when entering corporate America. We must remember the methods used to create this culture, a culture that now dominates so many facets of the mainstream, and use those methods to bring the political process under our subjection. We must also learn from the mistakes made during the mainstreaming process, namely a failure of many Hiphop entrepreneurs to make the creation of institutions their highest priority.

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Study the history of how Hiphop took over pop culture and let this inform our blueprints for political empowerment, making sure we retain control of the movement and are not co-opted by the political mainstream the way rap has been corrupted by the market demands. The best thing that we can do is to follow our Hiphop roots and ‘sample’ from all fields of political thought and not become locked into any one agenda or dogmatic way of thinking. Just as samples of bits and pieces of musical compositions formed the foundations of a great deal of our music, so to should be the basis of our empowerment strategies. We should diligently examine and analyze the power movements of world history and a broad range of political systems and philosophies, taking the best from everything to create a Hip Hop political paradigm.

And a great thing about ideas is that you don’t have to clear the sample.

-‘DX 21’ DASUN ALLAH

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