Mike Dean vs. the Uneducated Masses: A Lesson in Hip-Hop History

Mike Dean

In an age where everybody is a simple google search away from the depths of all things knowledge, it’s amazing that we, those with instant access to smartphones and Wikipedia, still take that knowledge for granted. While ignorant has become a word used to define someone who disagrees with your political views, in reality, it simply means someone is unaware of the given facts about a particular situation. A kinder word for this would be naive, but calling somebody flat-out ignorant just sounds more American!

Of course, we’re all ignorant on a lot of things. I would even say most people are ignorant on most things, but this is ok, considering it’s not expected of everyone to know everything. The problem occurs when you take your ignorance and blast it to the world as if it were a fact, much like what people do on social media every single second.

Take for example, the Twitter user who, last night, decided to go on a rant about how she has a problem with white people enjoying music made by and for black people. According to her barrage of tweets, white people have segregated music, thus profiting and exploiting black culture through hip-hop. Because of this, it’s inherently wrong for a white person to take part in hip-hop, or really even listen to and enjoy it. Her point can be summed up in the screenshot below that she posted.

Bullshit

Bullshit

Now, I wasn’t interested in much of anything she had to say until Mike Dean got involved. When another Twitter user pointed out that Dean had contributed to much of the music she deemed so “black”, she responded with “whom?”

Dean, god bless his soul, responded by calling the girl “deplorable” and said he’s “made half of the ‘black music’ you love”. Maybe her Safari tab was broken, but any Google search would provide you with his overwhelming credentials.

From the Geto Boys to Pimp C to Kanye West to Travis Scott, Dean has been essential in popularizing the sound of the “Dirty South”, a style that’s stretched across different rap borders and genres. His production board has been part of some of hip-hop’s most famous and acclaimed projects, solidifying him as a legend before he even gives up his craft. To say that because he’s white and therefore can’t contribute to the culture of hip-hop and it’s “black music” is a disgrace to the true origin of rap: unity.

All those years ago in The Bronx, hip-hop forefathers like DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa were disciples of unity and inclusion, no matter your race, religion, or gang affiliation. It’s this very essence that’s driven rap to become a worldwide phenomenon, connecting people from all paths of life and bringing them together through the medium of music. To see it boiled down and thrown into the scuffle of racial divide is a crime to its very nature, a crime Mike Dean refuses to allow.

His significance in the genre should never be questioned, whether he be black, white, or purple. And in the grander scheme, NOBODY’S contribution to the genre should be sidelined or written off due to their skin color. As one commenter, @j_steu, put it, “Hip-hop is a platform for people to express their personal tribulations unrelated to race. Hip-hop is for the people, and for all people“.

Such a display of ignorance surrounding an art form you so feverently defend shows a complete lack of respect for those who paved the way to make hip-hop culture what it is. Maybe next time she’ll be more informed when she stabs at the neck of a hero of the game. A Google search rarely makes you any dumber.