THE BEAT GOES ON – PEACEFULLY

It's all peace and love at the inaugural hiphop conference in New York...

Prominent hiphop artists and label bosses such as PUFF DADDY and RUSSELL SIMMONS have pledged to usher in a new era of political awareness following the inaugural hiphop Conference in New York this week.

Speaking a press conference to round off the summit yesterday (June 14), Def Jam founder Simmons said that a new hiphop political action committee has been formed between prominent members of the hiphop community and various civil rights groups such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People), Rap The Vote and the Nation Of Islam.

Simmons added that the Rap The Vote organisation would undergo a massive registration drive in order to get young hiphop fans out to vote during the next US Presidential elections. The committee will also raise funds for politicians sympathetic to hiphop and also establish a hiphop think tank at Columbia University where artists and executives can “engage in an ongoing dialogue with the intellectual community” on the impact of hiphop culture globally.

In a further initiative, Kevin Liles, the Def Jam President, said his company would begin a new mentoring programme for young, newly signed hiphop artists. The programme would assign a personal and professional mentor for each artist, career development coaching and education. The program will be based in a Harlem building Def Jam plan to buy soon and name Hiphop House.

New stricter monitoring of the “Parental Advisory” labels would also be introduced, it was announced.

“We are the voice of America, no matter if people want us to be or not. We are the true voice of America,” Puffy said. “We realised how much power we have, and we are prepared to use it in a positive way. We have grown from boys and girls to men and women.”

He added, says MTV, that he would urge his artists to be positive and to avoid rapping about crime and violence if such problems hadn’t really touched their lives.