Political Hip-Hop

by: Maya Dykes

What is political hip hop?

Political hip hop is a sub genre of hip hop that developed in the 1980's. It was inspired by 1970's political preachers such as The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron. This type of music was a way of


This type of music is what started a lot of the while east coast west rivalries that included rappers like Tupac, Biggie, NWA, Snoop Dogg and many others.


Popular songs like, "Fight The Power" and "Self Destruction" suggested the emergence of a hip hop inspired political movement. Along with more serious lyrical content, these rappers began trading in their gold chains for African medallions and their expensive designer clothing for unadorned utilitarian wear. During this period, it was more of the rap artists rather than churches or community organizations connecting with the disenfranchised urban youth.

Public Enemy - Fight The Power (Full 7 Min. Version)

Public Enemy- Fight The Power

Fight The Power is a song recorded by a hip hop group from the 80's called "Public Enemy" 1989 was another year in long struggle for equality for African Americans but a lot of things happened that were worthy of note, like this song. Big figures like the Reverend Jesse Jackson sought to lead a new generation of African-Americans that hadn't grown up with the Civil Rights Movement to help protest with him. After a while, he had realized that his traditional ways of fighting for freedom would become a failure. This popular rap group saw that nothing was working, so that's when they decided to come out with this song. It would get everyone's attention easier than long speeches and things the younger crowd wasn't interested in. This song represents what was going on mostly in an urban 80's setting. It puts a stamp on your mind of what African Americans were going through even after a century of freedom. A lot of people were ignoring the things that were going on around them, and Public Enemy was reaching out and pretty much saying, "we need to do something about this".
Grandmaster Flash - The message

Grandmaster Flash- The Message

This song is a social commentary on life in "the ghetto"- the hardship, unfairness and lows. It illustrates the warped perception one has when being raised within a ghetto environment, and the mindset that opportunity just isn't there. He's talking about there being no escape people preying on one another, telling us why people turn to crime. In this time period, a lot of African Americans were looked down on and weren't doing well, so this was just a man speaking on how he felt life was like living in a low class community. It's not like a lot of rap music now that glorifies life in the ghetto, it's unveiling the true meaning of what it's really like.
BDP, Stetsasonic, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug Fresh, Just-Ice, Heavy D, Chuck D - Self Destruction

Self Destruction - BDP, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Just-Ice, Heavy D, Chuck D.

Several popular rappers came together to make a song about stopping black on black crime.
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