Picture taken from The Drum's facebook page
Picture taken from The Drum’s facebook page

What are your first thoughts and how can we define consciousness and slackness in the music industry?

Inspire Mysmile attended a debate event about the music that we listen to and how can we be more conscious of the music that we listen to now. Slackness Vs Consciousness was a panelled debate which looked into  the lyrical decline in music and the associated imagery which accompanies the genre and the lack of censorship within Dancehall / Hip Hop and RnB music.  The event was hosted by Gman Entertainer @ The Drum (Birmingham UK)

The Panel included
•Shirl Parnell – Newstyle Radio

  • King Zukie – Luv Injection Sound System
  • Ankhobia – Journalist
  • Malik MD7-Rapper and Community worker

Before the discussion started the audience was shown music videos of different genres to really get us thinking of what music can be seen as slackness and what is consciousness music. For example Bob Marley’s ‘redemption Song’ Vs Anita’s Bakers ‘Sweet Love.’  When we listen to these songs we will instantly listen to the lyrics from  ‘Redemption Song’ as it tells a conscious story, on the other hand when we listen to ‘Sweet Love’ our instant reaction is to how the lyrics are vocaled and the beats instead of being conscious to the lyrics. The point here is that we are often drawn to the production and the vocals of the artists instead of breaking down the lyrics to hear the true meanings behind each line.

What I found personally interesting was a comment from a young lady who actually said that her Gran didn’t like Bob Marley and couldn’t understand who he was and why he would always perform with his guitars, but her mother as a teen loved seeing him on tv. However some may see Bob as a prophet and inspirational.

The question here is: Has the music industry lost consciousness music to the world of slackness? Maybe, The problem is that; there isn’t anyone new continuing the legacy that Bob, Freddie and John Holt started in reggae music. In fact the only person artist who seems to be making consciousness music seem cool is Chronixx. I don’t think I’ve heard a bad comment about his music or how he performs at his concerts.

What happened to Hip-Hop?

The views on Hip Hop music seemed to be echoed last night and the audience felt like the genre is self perpetrated, or the music industry feels that way. Hip-Hop ain’t like how it used to be although, there are a few artists that have taken the genre to another level and there are some new rappers that makes us question if we can even call hip-hop, hip hop. ( If you know what I mean) It’s no longer about talent anymore but more on what and who is popular on youtube. Look at Bobby Smurder for instance ‘Hot Nigger’ was only BIG because of the beat and the little dance that follows in the video. Till this day does anybody even know what the song is about? I asked that because the only lyric everybody knows is ‘About a week ago’ like DJ’s only play that one line.

One thing that everyone agreed on is there will always be a element of slackness in music because all the industry see is money and as long as the music is coming fr0m popularity we will continue to hear slackness lyrics.

Another comment that I found interesting and was echoed as well during the debate was music festivals that take place in other countries and how the young people respond to it. Apparently young people in other countries prefer clean music than music with slander, slackness. So if this is the case why don’t young people in the UK and the US hype over good consciousness music that can be just as cool?

How can we change young people’s perspective in music?

The following were suggested;

  • Censorship for radio stations need to come back as it does work
  • Music producers, DJ’s promoters etc etc, should be more firm about the types of music that they have the power to make the tunes/ artists popular.
  • Parents should be more conscious to the music that they play or what the children play and educate them as to why they can’t listen to certain songs.

The debate ended with a few more solutions, with the message that it’s time to break the cycle, it just takes one person to say no and encourage artists to make clean music and more so music that makes sense.

I would like to hear readers thoughts, so please do share your views on what you think about Consciousness VS Slackness in the music industry.

See more information on The Drum’s Facebook page

Words By Vanessa Ryan



  1. We definitely need to be more conscious about the music we listen to. There is some truth to the saying ‘what goes in is what comes out’. So if we’re absorbing all that negativity and slackness into our minds, that’s what will manifest from us at some point in some way or another. This type of music combined with other areas of society which promote negativity (e.g TV), teaches, manipulates, transforms and conforms many of us without us being aware of it. I agree that parents should be more mindful about what their children are exposed to, as challenging as that may be, and also the importance of explaining why certain music or shows are prohibited.

    Good blog, thank you

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