When it comes to the hip hop revolution, Riots have long been seen as the manifestation of the voice of the unheard, a forceful response to deep-seated social injustices that have been ignored or downplayed by those in power.

In the context of hip-hop, a genre that has been closely associated with the African-American experience and struggle for equality, riots have taken on a special significance as a form of collective expression and resistance.

From the Watts riots in 1965 to the Los Angeles riots in 1992 and the more recent protests in Ferguson and Minneapolis, riots have been a recurring theme in hip-hop, serving as a source of inspiration, reflection, and critique. While some may view riots as mere acts of violence and destruction, hip-hop artists have often embraced them as a necessary means of making their voices heard and demanding change.

Indeed, the roots of hip-hop can be traced back to a riot or blackout in the South Bronx in 1977, when communities of color were faced with widespread poverty, unemployment, and police brutality. It was in this context that hip-hop emerged as a creative and empowering outlet for young people to express their frustrations and aspirations, using music, dance, and graffiti as a way of reclaiming their identity and challenging the status quo.

Over the years, hip hop revolutions has continued to draw on the energy and urgency of riots, incorporating their themes and imagery into its lyrics, beats, and visuals. From Public Enemy’s incendiary anthem “Fight the Power” to Kendrick Lamar’s haunting meditation on police violence in “Alright,” hip-hop has been a powerful tool for amplifying the voices of the unheard and giving a voice to those who have been silenced by systemic oppression.

In this sense, riots have been an integral and vital part of the essence of what hip-hop means to its creators and fans: a means of speaking truth to power, of challenging the dominant narratives that seek to erase or marginalize the experiences of communities of color, and of asserting the right to be heard and seen on one’s own terms.

Of course, this is not to say that riots are always justified or effective, or that they should be celebrated uncritically. Riots can be chaotic, unpredictable, and dangerous, and they can also be co-opted or exploited by outside forces for their own purposes. Moreover, riots can also obscure or overshadow the important work of organizing, mobilizing, and building sustainable social movements that can effect lasting change.

Nevertheless, as long as the structural inequalities and injustices that give rise to riots persist, hip hop revolutions will continue to draw on the power and urgency of these expressions of collective anger and frustration. For many, riots represent the last resort of a community that has been ignored, marginalized, or brutalized for too long, a cry for help that cannot be silenced or ignored. In this sense, hip-hop and riots are not just interconnected, but deeply intertwined, part of a broader cultural and political landscape that reflects the struggles and aspirations of millions of people around the world. View my episode below on Riots that created the hip hop revolution and subscribe to my youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@RiddimAndPoetry