This is probably the most interesting commentary on the riots in England that I've seen, primarily because you hear the voices of the artists who, collectively, are being blamed for the 'disturbances.' ("Rap responds to the riots: 'They have to take us seriously'" by Dan Hancox, The Guardian, August 12, 2011.)
The artists are so incisive, so smart, and their music is so brilliant. Professor Green, Lethal Bizzle, and Wiley. Mostly "grime" artists, not "rap." Please read, and please watch the vids. Here's a particularly terrific one, Lethal Bizzle's "Babylon's Burning the Ghetto," from 2007. Prophetic, no?
If all those pundits and talking heads in England who are blaming "rap" for the riots really knew something, or anything, about the history of rap, they would know this: after the LA Rodney King riots of 1992, rappers were widely blamed. In fact, if one had been following the rap of artists like Ice Cube, NWA or Ice-T, one could have predicted that LA was headed for a blow-up, and one could have understood the sources of the rage that boiled over in the wake of the acquittal of the officers charged with beating King. Ditto: grime, UK hip-hop and road rap, as this article makes clear.