I have a question for all of you reading this…What is Hip-Hop or more specifically, what is Hip-Hop to you. Is it a culture, a movement or is it just a form of music like rock n’ roll and jazz. I believe that the teacher KRS-One explained it best in his song “9 Elements”, “…rap is something you do, Hip-Hop is something you live…” from the 2003 LP Kristyles. Hip-Hop is not Soulja Boy (although in the same token I am not discrediting Soulja Boy and I think he is incredible at what he does because he is expressing his artistic abilities in the best form he know how-but that isn’t Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is not excessively pimping Auto-Tune or what’s popularly known as “T-Paining” (although I will never use nor condone the use of the phrase which is a deliberate attempt to discredit the musical genius behind the popularity of the vocal pressing tool, Mr. Roger Troutman…all praises to you sir and not T-Pain) every song on the radio or an album. Ok…let me back up for a sec…I did buy Kanye West’s “808’s and Heartbreaks” LP and I have to avow that it was indeed a quite interesting experiment (Note to Kanye…we have had enough, now let’s get back to music) and I loved the artistic journey from beginning to end.
Hip-Hop is B-Boys and B-Girls breaking, freestyling and beat-boxing…Hip-Hop is turntablism and braggadocio lyricism (à la LL Cool J, Redman, Jay-Z, etc.)…Hip-Hop is “bombing” or “throwing up burners” on the train (I am NOT condoning this action. I repeat, if you get get by the police doing grafitti on the Market-Frankford El I will not come bail you out! I didn’t tell you to do it and you are not Charles Manson).
Sometimes I feel like Common Sense…I mean Common (my bad) in 1994’s “I Used To Love H.E.R.” and I can relate. Sometimes she makes me sick with the recurrent mood swings and revamping (have you noticed how many fads have come and gone since the dawn of the millenium) but I still love H.E.R. for better or for worse. This is Hip-Hop. What do you think.
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