Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Me & Hip Hop

Absolutely nothing compares to the feeling you get when you hear or see something new, and in its early stages. The infinite possibilities of where that new thing can go and lead to is something that can get pondered for days. These were the feelings I experiences as I started to embrace Hip Hop music. I started paying attention to the art form when I was in middle school. That was when cable TV introduced Brother and I to Joe Claire and Big Lez of BET's "Rap City." Which later lead to me subscribing to the Source magazine and learning more about the culture.

I remember being the only black person at my predominately white middle school and high school with a subscription to The Source, and chit chatting about the lasted songs with the fellas during lunch.

Music of any kind can be an escape, but for me Hip Hop music was a lesson. Kinda like a 7th period class that took place in my bedroom, after school. The music was real, and to the point. Artists were talking about day to day struggles that I would never experience in my life. And as the listener I paid attention to the stories being told. It was in this Hip Hop class that I learn about life in other cities. I learned that not everyone was growing up as privileged as I was. I learned gritty lessons about drugs, sex, violence, and hustling. 

The simplistic yet complicated approach these artists used to describe their lives, surrounding, and situations grasped my full attention, and before I knew it I was hooked. And it definitely was not all about what the artist was saying, the beat of the music also played a part in holding my attention. I was always watching BET and MTV to get my fix of the latest videos and music news.

But as the art form evolved, the music became a lot more braggadocios. It didn't seem like the craft I had grown to love, it was different. (Or maybe it was the same, and I was just growing up). Of course there were still artists that were being consistent, but they were the minority. The music didn't really call for much attentiveness from the listener and it started to loose it's appeal to me.

But within the last couple of years that old feeling has slowly started to come back. A lot of these new artists are definitely taking it back to the essence and speaking on real life topics. Topics other than money, cars, and women. The lyricism that these artists are coming with now is a welcomed changed from the "rap" music of the early and mid 2000s.

As artists continue to cross genres of music, Hip Hop will probably never go back to it's pure simplistic state (I'm thankful that I can always open my CD book and listen to Hip Hop artists of the 90s). Regardless of how Hip Hop continues to grow, change, and evolve I will ALWAYS BE A FAN. It has always been that necessary escape and an ever present teacher.

“I wish I was a rapper. There are certainly times when I wish I could just drop an album and channel all my ideas, anger, humor and energy into some music and be done with it.” - Todd Boyd

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