The dumbed down narcissistic version of reality, continually fed to us by a corporate Media and political élite which move as one, is overwhelming.
These mechanisms of power, and the direction they move in, simply reflect the agenda of an empire.
The modern day emphasis on materialism, perpetuating class division, and attempting to justify illegal war, represents the empire’s final attempt to seize the remainder of capital from those that have it, both abroad in the form of illegal war in the hunt for resources, and domestically in the form of austerity.
The MSM’s false, narrow, and deceitful explanation for 9⁄11, provided the military industrial complex and those working for it, with a justification to keep manufacturing and selling weapons, itself big business, and to then use those weapons to seize the land and resources of other nations.
The economic crash of 2008, caused by financial criminals, became the excuse to enforce upon the people class warfare in the form of austerity. With false reasons for illegal war firmly drilled into enough people’s minds, the empire has convinced people to sign up for economic slavery at home through austerity, cutting education, welfare, health provision, while attacking civil rights and liberties.
The empire so to speak, is the system of capitalism, first built from free human capital during slavery, implemented through colonialism. The so-called democracies of the of the west, developed in the United States, Britain and Europe, could not have flourished without the wealth accumulated through theft, slavery, and forced labor.
This empire has not yet been defeated. While it’s clear that its power is diminishing, as it diminishes, in a bid to keep power, the violent means used to keep control steadily worsen. Other world powers are emerging, without the same imperial ambitions as the empire, and the empire knows it.
This is the world we live in in 2016. The hallmarks of neoliberalism, war, poverty, economic servitude, and the abuse of state power wherever it manifests are common problems that are affecting all of human kind to various degrees regardless of colour, gender, and faith.
It is in everyone’s interest to shape and seek out a better world for the future.
I believe that Hip Hop, and the artform of poetry and lyricism, in their finest moments, become the most unrivalled and raw expressions of freedom and the human spirit. You can feel Hip Hop like you can feel your heartbeat. Hip Hop can speak to you and for you. Hip Hop is our life force, It lives and breathes and tells ourstory and the stories which are shunned. It tells the true stories.
True Stories: Question the impact of the MSM on society
One of the most effective ways of critiquing society, and of offering a vision of the world as it might be, or could be is Hip Hop.
Musically, people might suggest the origins are to be found in New York. The wider traditions however, of resistance, story-telling, and of learning from and remaining loyal to our ancestors, have roots in Africa which have branched out all over the world influencing and developing a universally loved artform.
In 2016, the vision of the world offered by the 1%, is supported by a MSM controlled by the same corporations the 1% represent. They push an agenda of materialism, racism, misogyny, war, and suggest that greed and money is equal to the pursuit of happiness and spiritual fulfilment.
Not everyone is buying it though. The narrative has and is being challenged-and not from where you might think. Recently, some of the most respected names in UK Hip Hop joined forces with a group of young people to help cultivate a new generation of lyricists focused on questioning the MSM and its impact on society.
True Stories, is a project and creation of Amy True, who is originally from Crawley and is one of the UK’s most loved Hip Hop artists known as both a soulful singer and for her hard hitting lyrics which pull no punches and who encourage others to Question Authority. The project recently gave a group of young people the chance to be mentored, write lyrics, and perform, alongside some of their favourite rappers including Amy herself, Logic, and also Chester P.
“From a young age I have seen how mainstream media has swayed our way of thinking, most of the time to something negative making us feel insecure, scared, and pushing us towards an agenda of a few, who do not have humanities best interest at heart.
As a mentor I believe that support and guidance is imperative to young people, allowing them to think for themselves. Many people are hurt and are also desperate to achieve something before they truly understand themselves. This can lead to bad decisions and unstable foundations.”
Speaking at one of the workshops which were funded by the Arts Council, and also at the final performance at Hackney Attic where the young people performed their written pieces to a live audience, it was clear to me that the workshops have had a real impact.
These young people were already knowledgeable about the world around them, and already understood the relationship between much of the narrative pushed from the top down by the media and politics, and its influence on the way people think.
By the same notion, they know that independent thought and lyricism also has the potential to influence people, but positively. That’s why they wanted to work with the likes of Amy True, Logic, and Chester P in the first place. These artists have used their music and the platform they have developed to call out and challenge power to its face. Furthermore, they have attracted hundreds of thousands if not more, of views and listeners on YouTube and elsewhere as a result.
It’s telling that during the workshops, and also in their performances the young people wanted to talk about and reflect pretty much every topic which they realised had been distorted or ignored.
The media’s takes on the London riots, issues around race, war, poverty, austerity, education, and draconian programs like the government’s ‘Prevent’ strategy were all subjects tackled and discussed though lyricism. When the media reflects not the truth, but a political agenda, the truth can be expected to emerge through art as a cultural and necessary response to the reality on the ground.
Beyoncé’s tribute to the Black Panthers recently, for example, while positive, is simple reflecting a reality currently lived for people in places like Ferguson. The inspiration to pay tribute to the Black Panthers, themselves an inevitable response to racism, certainly did not come from any corporate boardrooms. Radicalism is an idea currently experiencing revival and resurgence in the United States, born directly of the economic and social conditions experienced by many.
It is the same with the best of UK Hip Hop. As power persists, and the structures that support it maintain, more and more art, including Hip Hop will reflect the cultural response from communities opposed to such power-until such power diminishes.
And it is encouraging that at least some of the names revered in UK Hip Hop want to pass the torch on to the younger generation.
The performances from the young people, through both spoken word and rap culminated in a ‘True Stories’ EP. The True Stories project will continue, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing from some of the recent graduates again in the near future. They have a lot they want to say, they know how to say it and why. They know how to inform and entertain, and have been guided by some of the best. Hip Hop can speak directly to the heart and stir emotions. Ultimately, it is this human reaction, a restlessness that spurs people into action, and often causes change in the world by making people think, and not simply accept things as they are.
Hip Hop will continue to play an important role in London, so long as the political status quo remains, which for the time being shows no signs of letting up. It has always delivered truth in the face of normalised violence and political absurdity in the mainstream.
As one of the participants, Justina Efe Taylor expressed in one performance “The truth is a non-fictional story waiting to be heard”. Not many people today would disagree.
True Stories Ep is free to download on www.amytrue.bandcamp.com