An Open Letter From Mos Def About Amadou Diallo, 1999


Although more than a decade old, Mos Def’s call to consciousness for the Hip Hop community is still incredibly relevant, maybe even more so than today. The Hip Hop community has been surprisingly silent on the current issues of gun violence and racial profiling. However, recent trends in Hip Hop have strayed away from conscious artists such as Mos Def. A considerably complex rhetorical situation presents itself when the genre’s current leading artists have positioned themselves so tightly within the gangster/thug personae that speaking out on such issues posses a “branding” risk. What is often overlooked is that while it has become normal to attack Hip Hop artists for similar concerns, little attention is paid to the “demand” side of Hip Hop production. Hip Hop heads like myself do have Agency! The question then becomes how to use that agency to support artists who will –at least sometimes– promote positive messages. Hit the link to read Mos Def’s letter.


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