Like any other love affair, my love of hiphop has been complex. There have been times over the years when I wanted to call it quits. Times when hiphop insulted me and took aim at my self-esteem. But there have also been times when my best friend was 16bars. Times when hiphop has been there for me when no one else was. Times when hip hop empowered me and taught me things to which I would have otherwise been left ignorant.

I don't presume to present a history of hiphop or explain the facts of how this genre has impacted society. Rather with this blog I will simply share my thoughts about how hiphop has and continues to affect my life and the world around me as I see it. This is a reflection on my journey through life with hiphop by my side...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

From the Joy of Memory Lane to the Frustration of Today's Reality

I know that Hip Hop is alive and well, but this mess that I often find on my radio is killing me!
I'm not hating on the likes of Nicki Manaj and Cali Swag District. But can somebody please explain to me why this type of nonsense seems to dominate the airwaves. I mean seriously, I'm not necessarily asking for Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, or Jean Grae. Well, yeah, I sorta am!  But, I can't even hear JayZ, Kanye, or Ludacris on a regular basis. I mean thank goodness for Drake. And I'm not even sure that given more choices I'd like him.

Allow me step a little higher on my soapbox if you will.

Let's start with learning to "Dougie." I get it, these silly songs have their place. But sometimes I need more than a nonsensical hook to keep my attention. Yes, I loved "Whoop, There It Is", but in 1993 we also laid back and sipped "Gin and Juice" with Snoop. We heard the "Rebirth of Slick" with Digable Planets. And Tupac both inspired us to keep our heads up and supplied us with the party in "I Get Around", while still schooling young women.

Hate to sound sleazy, but tease me,
I don't want it if it's that easy.

Do the record labels really think that there is only room for this one cartoon character of a version hip-hoptress. Are the conspiracy theorists right...are the gatekeepers that concerned with keeping rappers with something to say out of the mainstream media? Or are we to blame for not showing with our wallets that we are interested in something other than that which focuses primarily on sex, drugs, murder, and the degredation of women.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that some diversity in today's Hip Hop would be a beautiful thing.

Jean Grae - Don't Rush Me
Listen, there's nothing like knowin' yourself
Like the way I know that smokin's kind of broken my health
Like the way I know my flow don't make appropriate wealth
I can't change that
But funny I'm sayin' that when it's money I'm aimed at
I give a fuck if you frame that or quote it (shit)
I meant what I said cuz I wrote it, point noted

Invincible - Sledgehammer

Its a state of emergency. Its a state of emergence see.

Note: The next two artist are not what would choose to listen too...but are a valid part of all that is HipHop.

Lil' Mama - A Milli Freestyle

call me snow white...ate a bad apple
i sneeze [achoo!] vomit on the track spiteful
flow so mean call it grumpy with a rifle

Nicki Minaj - Your Love

Anyway I think I met him sometime before
In a different life or where I recall
I mean he was Adam, I think I was Eve
But my vision ends with the apple on the tree

Saturday, September 11, 2010

1st Memories of Hip Hop

I can't tell you how old I was but I'm guessing I was around 7 years old when I first met Hip Hop. I also can't tell you exactly which song it was that introduced us. But I know it was one of the following:

"Planet Rock" - Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force
"The Message" - Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
"Rapper's Delight" - Sugarhill Gang

Now that I think about it...it had to be "Planet Rock." This is musical representation of my love for Hip Hop. Even today, 28 years after it's release it sounds futuristic and innovative. To me it's like this song gave you permission to express yourself in a new way.

"No work or play, our world is free
Be what you be - be"

Thank you to Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force for being my first.