Monday, December 13, 2010

In defense of Hip Hop

Sorry guys I'm sick so I haven't posted my regular monologue jokes but as soon as my health improves I shall. Instead I want to talk a little bit about hip-hop.

I'll begin with the premise that most know very little about hip-hop and the few that have an opinion on hip hop or "rap" hate it. However, those that follow hip hop or were a part of the scene like I was have a great appreciation for it. The purpose of this posting is to stand up for an artform that has been somewhat bastardized and under appreciated. It is my desire that if you are a skeptic of the artform that you would be open to it's rich history before dismissing it out right.

According to K.R.S One. Hip Hop as we know it began with in the South Bronx with Cool Herc. Before Hip Hop was the money making machine that is is now, it was the art of the poor youth in the Bronx. Kids would meet at the park or in the community centers and just dance and have fun. Kool Herc had the loudest sound system and he had "break beats" which were instrumental beats in soul or funk records. He discovered that if he had two of the same break beats, and he played them at the same time, he could go back and forth on his mixer. Thus spawning the birth of the modern day d.j!

He was Jamaican and in Jamaica, they used to have these parties were the emcee or M.C (Master of Ceremony) would act as a "Hype man" encouraging the party goers to have fun and party. He brought that format from Jamaica to New York and brought that party atmosphere. Back then, the music had different vibe. It was all about unity, partyng, having fun and peace. During this same time in the 70's, New York had a gang problem but one gang member from the "black spades" decided to focus his energy on uniting everyone through hip-hop. His name was Afrika Bambaataa. He is probably best known for his song "Planet Rock" but he was an advocate of using music and art to unite people. He started the Zulu nation which is in existence today.

As the parties became larger, the artforms became more developed. It is generally accepted that hip hop has several elements: The M.C, The Dj, Graffitti, beat-boxing and dancing or b-boying. The Bronx looked like a war zone in the 70's. The place was tore up and there was alot of white flight as many of the Whites in the Brons moved to the suburbs. In addition, building owners were burning down the buildings to get paid on the insurance money. The place was a shit hole.

Yet in the midst of this hell, these poor Black, Puertorican, and Jewish kids survived by inventing an artform that is now a world-wide phenomenom. These poor kids wrote songs, created dance moves, made music, and were the pioneers of so many things that are taken for granted today. It was through their art that they escaped their environment. Their contribution to pop culture today can't be over-emphasized.

Even the art of Keith Haring was copied from the graffiti writers that he met in New York. But like many inventors, it was the future generations that reaped the rewards of their labor.

Below is a clip of the Best hip hop movie ever made. The acting is sub-par but what the movie "Wildstyle" did is it captured an era in hip hop when the art was pure. Many in the film are now well known legends. For example "Lady Pink" opened an art Studio and her pieces have been featured on the Metropolitan Museum of American Art. Lee Quinones (The main actor in the film) has sold his artwork to Eric Clapton for hundreds of thousands of dollars. His work is also well renowned. Fab 5 Freddy was the host on Yo MTV Raps.

I hope that even the most skeptical of readers can have an appreciation for an artform that has been lost to corporate interests. I'm just asking that you guys keep an open mind.


  1. It's not that I don't like hip hop or rap just because I judge, I just don't like it when most of the stuff that they talk about is something that isn't pleasing at all and gives young kids the wrong idea like calling women whores and hoes and "to the window to the wall to the sweat drip down them balls...skeet skeet skeet" yeah...Not cool.

    I won't go into it but I have had personal experience with my Autistic brother as to why music like what I mention above is a bad influence.

    I love a lot of the hip hop dancing and the rap that isn't all up in that territory, but actually expressing something meaningful or silly or whatever.

    I think you get my point.

  2. Every form of music is eventually hijacked by people and corporations that have no love or respect for it. They jump in to make money. I preach on my site that if you keep an open mind and give the other guy's stuff a try you might find value and it just might become your stuff, too. I agree with The Adorkable Ditz, however. If music isn't life affirming it's toxic and I don't want any part of it.

  3. "I came to get down ...I came to get down ...So get out your seats and jump around ...Jump around ...Jump around ...Jump around ...Jump up Jump up and get down. came to get down, I came to get down" ---I like some rap and some hip hop but for me it's temperamental. I can't listen to it continuously or for long periods of time. Kind of like country music. -Hope you feel better soon!

  4. My grandsons play rap music in my car when I drive them around. I like the music, and the style, but not a lot of the words, as others were saying before me.

  5. I loved the old rappers from back in the day. I am so happy I got to see RUN DMC when they were still together.

  6. I've always appreciated hiphop. I think it's cool. :)

  7. I LOVE hip-hop. Love it. I thought this was a great post! I bet you'd be surprised how much of it this white girl knows. :)

  8. Ditz and Shady- I agree that unlifting music can be vile. Ditz you mentioned girls being ref. as hoes and bitches. Understand that the original hip hop was the opposite of that. The rap of today is very negative and I wouldnt consider most of it hip hop. Listen to older rap and you will hear tons of deep and uplifting messages.

    Ally- that's so cool.
    Gnetch- Glad you like hip hop
    Kelley- I dont doubt your skills.

  9. Mister Sharaf - About time you agree w me.

  10. This was very good. I think so many people either don't remember or never knew how rap evolved and what it was about originally. Rap has branched out into so many different forms today that people think that it's always been that way. Today's rap is not the same. It's not political, it's not about who has the best lyrics or beats. It's about who has the biggest rims and the girl with the biggest booty. I don't mind some of today's rap, but I wish people would separate it from what rap was truly about. You would never compare the 2 Live Crew with Big Daddy Kane because they were two completely different styles of rap. Maybe they need a different name for the genre we have today.