Rap music has become to the 80's & 90's what Rock music was to the 50's, an explosive force which will forever change the course of American pop culture. Infused with the energy, passion and realism of urban youth, pop culture has been transformed into an increasingly hip-hop/rap oriented creature. Even more unique than the realism that rap brings to pop culture is the hard hitting social, educational and inspirational message that rap artists have brought to the public. It can confidently be said that when it comes to keeping kids in school and away from drugs and violence the voices of rappers Chuck-D and KRS-ONE are undoubtedly more effective than catchy slogans such as "Just Say No."
Although rap music is providing the opportunity to redirect youth and bring economic resources to various communities in need, it is under attack. Despite being extremely detached from the urban realities that provide the context for rap, right-wing organizations and zealots like the PMRC and Tipper Gore, Jack Thompson and Jesse Helms are sparking efforts to ban or censor the very thing that is bringing hope, economic opportunity and a renewed sense of community to many of our youth. By doing this, these opponents of rap are attempting to usurp an honored and treasured feature of American citizenship; the guarantee of freedom of expression provided by the First Amendment.
In order to combat these uninformed, baseless attacks, several music industry members, students, fans and artists have united to form the GROUP for RAP INDUSTRY PROTECTION (GRIP). Based in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, the hottest and fastest growing rap market in the country, GRIP is acting both nationally and locally to advocate the fair treatment of rap in the music industry and the legal arena, while hailing the positive characteristics and achievements of rap music, which so often go ignored by the media. With the support of organizations like THE SOURCE, ROCK & ROLL CONFIDENTIAL, several local and national rap acts, as well as DJs and radio stations, GRIP has established a niche for itself that has gone previously unfilled as the rap community has continually grown.
GRIP functions as both the "sword and shield" of the rap music industry. Moreover, GRIP serves as an information clearinghouse and a mobilizing force for national and local developments which could potentially impact the rap music industry. By keeping the public informed and monitoring the actions of individuals and organizations who effect the rap music industry socially, politically or within the media, GRIP can continue to protect and shield the rights and interest of our artists and entertainers.
Secondly, GRIP is taking affirmative steps to help reshape the public image of rap. This will be done by organizing lecture series and panel discussions and by soliciting articles from artists, and academic or legal experts associated with rap for publication. By facilitating responsible dialogue, GRIP aids in the promotion of many constructive (but neglected) roles played by rap music in our society.
Rap music is not the only victim of the growing and disturbing censorship movement. The National Endowment for the Arts, as a result of its support of the work of Robert Mapplethorpe and many other nontraditional artists, has come under, heavy attack as a result of Congressional pressure resulting in the protest resignation of 9 of its 14 board members. Selected rock musicians as well as various film and television programs which have suffered from those pressures applied by certain intolerant factions of society. The attack on rap is only the beginning: rap music could be the "first domino to fall" among the various arts, but it certainly wouldn't be the last. Join us in protecting one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed by the US Constitution-the right to freedom of expression.
TO CONTACT GRIP WRITE OR CALL:
P.O. BOX 4856
BERKELEY, CA 94704-0856