What do John Bradford, Albert Einstein and Ice Cube have in common?
But in the first installment of QuestLove's Vulture.com series entitled, When the People Cheer: How Hip-Hop Failed Black America, the Roots rhythm man employs quotes from all three to make a stunning -- and controversial -- point.
Bradford once said, "There but for the grace of God go I," a quote often used to remind us to have compassion for the "less fortunate" among us. Einstein once described quantum entanglement as "spooky action at a distance," a statement that Questlove interprets as a belief that all creatures of Earth are all connected, "whether or not there's a clear line of connection." Ice Cube's contribution? "Life ain't nothing but bitches and money."
Questlove's own philosophical "quest" begins right there, at the point where the compassionate "connections" described by the previous two philosophers began to erode.
He has also grown weary of artists at the top of the hip-hop hierarchy making art that mostly celebrates being at the top of the hip-hop hierarchy -- meaningless, cynical stuff created and packaged to appeal to the masses.
"Meaninglessness takes hold because meaninglessness is addictive," he posits. A bold, brave statement.
So, will hip-hop "be back?" Or has it outlived and outgrown its usefulness, and failed the Black community in the process, as Questlove suggests?
"Time will tell. Time is always telling. Time never stops telling," Questlove writes.
By Cynthia Dagnal-Myron
Read part one of the series at this link www.vulture.com/2014/04/questlove-on-how-hip-hop-failed-black-america.html