It's a mantra that hip-hop listeners are all too familiar with. Year after year, statistics prove that the black community in America--particularly in lower-class neighborhoods--is subjected to unjust treatment from those supposedly designated to protect them. For the most part, these are the same communities that dominate the rap marketplace. It makes sense, then, that emcees would want to utilize their elevated status to take a stand against those who have continually treated them as second-class citizens. But what if antagonizing cops is actually exacerbating the problem and contributing to an endless cycle of violence?

The following article is not intended to provide answers. The scenario about to be presented is very much a chicken-or-the-egg kind of situation, so any point made here has an equal-but-opposite argument that's as valid as the first. The idea here is to get a conversation going and see how we, as hip-hop listeners, writers, and artists, can promote positive change. If this is a conversation you think is worth having, please read on.