Words by Jimmy Valentime
The link above is a snippet from a song I am planning on releasing called “A Soldiers Tears.” This song was inspired by me listening to Minutes to Midnight by Linkin Park. Largely that album is inspired by the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina and I had a certain appreciation for mainstream musicians addressing what’s going on in the world.
I also wrote the song because of the lack of material on the subject. Even though I don’t expect every rapper to become like Public Enemy, the lack of music about the war is eerie. As a performer, I understand that rapping is a very personal thing; you rap about the struggle you have or the struggle you wish you had.
Still, up until recently, Hip-hop always had songs that touch on what went on in the larger society. Today, mainstream hip hop is so narcissistic that is has gotten to the point that rappers can’t step outside themselves and think about what is going on in the world.
There are still some gilimers of hope, last summer, I saw Rhymefest perform “Bullet Without A Target,” which is about Iraq. I enjoyed the performance so much, that I bought his album. Also, Luda alluded to the frustration a lot of people feel in his song “Slap.” Except for those few exceptions, the music industry has forgotten about the war, much like the rest of society.
The war is fought on a daily basis but has been collectively erased from our conscience. Unlike with Vietnam there is no counterculture reflecting the anger within society about the war.
The war is something hip-hop should have an opinion on. Minorities constitute a larger population in the military than they do in society. The armed forces purposely scout out of poor and bad neighborhoods in an attempt to recruit the underprivileged. (I still remember dismissing my high school recruiter as a teenager.)
This article and song are not to attack the war in Iraq but rather to ask you to take a few minutes and think about all the people who have lost their lives in the pursuit of freedomâ€¦. their freedom and our freedom.
To hear more music from Jimmy, check out www.myspace.com/jimmyvalentime
CRS (Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Pharrell) – U.S. Placers
Omar Cruz ft. Ya Boy – We Rydaz [Remix]
Kanye West – Stronger (Snippet)
Kanye West – Can’t Tell Me Nothing (Dirty Version)
Cyssero ft. The Game – Feels Good
Three 6 Mafia – Like Money
Rhymefest – Angry Black Man On An Elevator (prod by Lil Jon)