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Music: Positive Hip Hop Competition

"Words have the power to kill the soul, wound the heart and destroy relationships"

-Tanya Radic

If you've been following Positive Black Images issues, you already know how I feel about the current state of hip hop. The negative messages and imagery have been undermining the psychology of a generation for the past 10+ years. Always thot provoking, never thought provoking. I get it that music, like anything else, evolves and will never stay stuck in the glory days but it's past time for a new trend in hip hop. I'm personally angling for a renaissance of Black conscious rap. Not only because there was more integrity to the music then but we are experiencing a step back in time to gross social injustice. Hip hop music can be a voice in advancing social and cultural awareness. If we've ever needed it before, we really really need it now.


In 2015 I'd like to kick off a video upload contest to get some young minds thinking about reshaping the message embedded in hip hop. At the very least, offer up an alternative to the ratchetness. My idea is to create a contest called "Change The Conversation" (though I may find a hotter name for it down the line) where rappers, and maybe singers too, upload a video of themselves performing a song with a constructive theme, or a conscious\positive theme, or a party theme that specifically omits the negativity that is current the centerpiece of hip hop. No strippers, no balling, no money spending, no killings, no guns, no crew of killas that you roll with. Profanity is allowed but no dead bodies of any type. Just clever, original spitting over a hot beat. An original beat or an instrumental that's already out; doesn't matter. Just bring heat and get judged on your creativity. Period. Minimum of 16 bars, but whole songs too.


As for the contestants' video uploads, PBI will accept all levels of video quality as longs as the audio is decent. Not perfect, but the standard quality a webcam or phone camera provides or better. Artists won't have to really go to any real expense to submit an entry for the contest because, simply put, if the rapper isn't really bringing it, the production values won't really matter anyway. The verse's message and delivery will be the key points that will be judged.

All videos will be uploaded to YouTube either directly to the Positive Black Images channel I will create or on their own pages as a response to the launch announcement on the PBI channel. That part is to be determined.

Contest entrants will have to be at least 16 years old. There will be no fees to participate. YouTube visitors can vote on the best verses and PBI will make the final decision. I'd love to see online, college and commercial radio shows get involved in this effort to bring something positive to the communities they serve.

I don't foresee PBI and this contest 'saving the day' for hip hop but it would be nice to initiate dialogue on this subject. It's really good to see artists like Kendrick, De La Soul and Chuck D., Gemstonesforlife and others creating new music that goes against the current trend but I pray they keep doing what they're doing. It's dope and it's conspicuously rare.

It's time. And I really believe people want it.

"Sometimes, it falls upon a

generation to be great. You

can be that great generation.

Let your greatness blossom."

-Nelson Mandela

V. Ray



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