"Never judge a book by its cover", is what I was always told, but it seems that is exactly what's happening to Hip Hop. There are a lot of attacks that are being launched on this culture. i know i just probably pissed some of you off again by calling Hip Hop a culture, but that is what it is. I want go into the scientific , or anthropological definitions to prove my point, because if I have to do that then this is not the article for you. I just had to finally share what Hip Hop means to me and what it has done in my life. The thought hit me after I was viewing some You Tube videos, and there were good commentary, and then there was the other. the internet is full of experts and I try to respect them all, but what gives people the right to look at one piece in a puzzle and then define the whole picture. That is what I see with many of these videos, and so called experts discuss the road to hell that Hip Hop is paving. It is down right discussing that we have all these folks condemning something that they have no understanding of. The lens through which most experts come at Hip Hop is through rap. KRS-One put it best "rap is something you do Hip Hop is something you live."
Hip Hop saved my life, it gave me something to focus on and provided me with skills that I still use today. Most people only deal with rap, but that is just one of the elements of Hip Hop. Hip Hop was saving grace for me that spoke to me and my whole crew. Hip Hop groomed me and prepared me for college, and united me with life long friends. Hip Hop gave me several different activities that acted as a "Lure to mastery". Hip Hop helped me develop the confidence to be myself no matter who it offended. Hip Hop provided me with a voice, and and gave me a science of life that i could explore and live. Most of all Hip Hop freed my mind, and gave me the courage to search the world. I know that those of you that know me may not be able to see this but it is the truth.
I was blessed to be born when I was, because I can still remeber when Hip Hop first came to town, but in many ways she was always there. I could hear her in the music, I could see her swagger in Ali, I could hear her defiance, and her rebellion to the status quo in Bruce Lee's yell. I could see her pushing boundaries, and doing the impossible on Kung Fu theatre. The days of unlimited possibility, there was definately magic in the air. I really feel sorry for those who have never really experienced true Hip Hop. Who have developed a picture of the culture from the radio, and videos. You can't watch this culture you have to get up and get involved. Until you have tried the braking moves, or put rhyme together for a show or a battle. If you have never heard a verse in cipher that made you have to bounce, and left you dizzy. If you never got to help a DJ move crates, or watch a master at work. you don't know so i would advise you to SHUT UP. You see Hip Hop provided with a connection to something beyond myself. This was truly a spiritual journey that we have allowed to be stripped from generation to come. Me and my crew when I was young spent so much time parcticing and battling that we didn't have time for the bullshit that other people our age were getting involved in. We embraced Hip Hop and she embraced us back. Awakening an ancient creative spark in our souls, that convinced us that we could make something out of absolutely nothing. We put together are DJ equipment from spare parts, and extra equipment that we put our pennies together to get. We scrapped our little bit of money to get our records. We found old mics to practice on, and scrounged old cardboard to practice our moves. We bought the paint for those with skill to put up our marks. We taught ourselves the moves, how to BBox. Alot of the stuff we did was spontainous and could only come from the Divine. because we didn't have VCR, or DVDs to rewind to learn how to do the moves or how to dress, we just did it. This is how I know that those that are dogging Hip Hop are only dealing with the service. They have not looked into the depths or even tried to participate in the culture. They appear to have allowed the media to determine for them what Hip hop is.
I could take this time to go deeper into the history, and make connection with ancient cultures but I won't do that. I will leave that journey for those that are interested, look into it yourself. What is the connection between Breaking and capoeira, how about the connection between the MC and a griot, have you ever wonder what is the connection to Hip Hop and Bee Bop (type of jazz), how about the freestyle elements of jazz musicians, and the freestyle of the MC or DJ. But I digress: just remember their would be no Gye-Nyame journey if theri was no Hip Hop.
HipHop Philosopha & Shaman