Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hip Hop 101 (summer school class)

Hip Hop is dead........

I would've figured that phrase ran its course by now. No Dice. Every time some cat praises Soulja Boy for his musical accomplishments, 18,000 out-of-work myspace rappers sound off in unison that he's the reason they gets no shine. As if their lack of skill isn't the culprit. Or their complacent, arrogant anonymity is working in their favor. Too many indians, in my opinion. Might be time to clean house, Trail of Tears-style. & coming in a close second to the deceased Hip Hop propaganda, is the sentiment that it needs to be saved. Which, to me, is equally as confusing. How? From who(m)?

See, at first, Hip Hop had no ties to the secular world. It was celebration music, only available only to card-carrying members, that eventually picked up steam & became scantily rebellious as it partied the night away in abandoned buildings & city parks. Once that introductory crowd had gotten comfortable with its care-free, disco-inspired roots, we began to see that we had a voice. Not only one for house party call & response, but one to be reckoned with on a social level. Yes, motherfuckers started hearing us. Then, it became obvious to all with eyes & ears that we weren't going nowhere.

In a gradual, modest change of direction, it became war music. Something to fight the powers that be to. Like so many poets/radicals before us, we rallied against our oppressors & battled The Machine to be recognized, as a people. Just as Martin would have continued to do if he hadn't been assassinated mid-struggle.

As we began to gain momentum, we became hungrier, demanding more fuel for the movement. We couldn't just fight the power, endlessly, without some sort of entertainment between fist-pumping & chest-pounding. & we'd had enough of their stories; by now, it was time for our own. Tales from the hood. Around the way stories that we could relate to, in our language. The language of Hip Hop.

After so much entertainment, though, we needed a dose of reality. In retrospect, we essentially chose to keep it real, as opposed to keeping it right. Be it positive or negative, our narratives carried on with the traditions of African folklore, creating legends & myths, angels & demons, to keep us occupied & away from the very same realities we existed in. &, at the same time educating each other about our perceptions & experiences.

Now, we find ourselves in the midst of renaissance. Passing of the torch. Changing of the guards. Today's Hip Hop is spearheaded by change, not unlike the change brought forth with the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama. The revolution has revolved, & the circles are now straight lines, pushing forward. Evolution. Adaption. The time for us to remain the same never existed; we'd just created our own optical illusions with redundancy.

The next stages of Hip Hop will undoubtedly be challenging, if only for the fact that transformation isn't easily digested. It means leaving behind stuff we've learned, people we've met, all things familiar. Its time for a leap of faith, in hopes that the youth are truly our future, in Hip Hop & beyond. Whether or not we agree with the philosophies, accept the costumes or subscribe to the new belief system is a moot point. Very soon, tomorrow will be today & since we can't beat 'em, we might as well join 'em. Now, the old(er) heads who were there at Hip Hop's inception can sit back & reap the benefits of a crop well planted.

I take this shit seriously. Long Live Hip Hop.

4 comments:

Phlip said...

What bothers me is the lack of work ethic or pride in quality shown by those who take the forefront of the forthcoming.
I apply this to the Soulja Boys of the world -- who seems to want to qualify that he is not ignorant simply because he has made money, product be damned -- as well as the MySpace rappers who seem bent on friend requesting everyone in the world and blowing up their comments/bulletins with wack songs about how much the industry sucks...
I remember the days where albums were ACTUALLY anticipated for the quality of the music and not the "beef" said rapper might happen to be in. I watch with hopes for the best because I love this shit, but at 30, I watch with the eye of a bitter-ass old man when I see the way some of this shit is panning out sometimes.

Curtis75Black said...

Hip Hop will never Die !! I believe what Nas was trying to say and his Stans should've followed was 'Mainstream Hip Hopis dead' - the current crop, even down to his peers, the emcees still capable to do it are being ambused and left by the wayside for the childish games in our culture. The real music with purpose, feeling and soul are kicked to the curb for the 'Happy-go-lucky !! Real emcees with something to say are being banned from our culture because of age, era, region and all sorts of BS that doesn't matter to our music, if it's hot. Magazines aren't pushing real acts, aren't giving proper due, due to Ad space and money generated so they proceed to sell their soul for the same interview with 50 cent they just gave the world 6 months ago. We blame the CEO's for their lack of knowlege instead of blaming ourselves for the lack of buying what we like, constantly on the 'excuse' tip.

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