Posted by: toddzilla | January 12, 2007

Request #2 Hip-Hop Without Borders and Marriage and Faith-EDITED


NOTE: I edited this post after thinking it over.  I was not happy with how my thoughts came out on the marriage aspect, so I deleted that section.  Sometimes, you just can’t write what you’re thinking adequately.  So to those who read the unedited post, I apologize.  It was not a good or true representation of my thoughts or feelings…

Wow, this is a tough one and a long post.  It is based on my observations and my poor ability to put them on paper…

Hip-Hop’s roots lie in telling the stories of growing up in the inner city.  It is a wonderful artform that, if truly aprreciated and utilized, gives insight into lifestyles that cannot be fully achieved without living in it.  Much like Dickens’ Oliver Twist or Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”.  The old-school DJ’s and later, their MC’s combined poetry with African/Urban beats to tell their story.  Soon, the goal of inner city life grew from a paying gig to a pimping gig and the fat gold chains of the 80’s and the Gangsta rap of the early 90’s started the downward spiral of Hip-Hop’s journey.  Then P-Diddy-Daddy-Puffy stabbed it and twisted the knife in Hip-Hop’s back.  He took the art from testimony to rhyming over old music tracks (Jimmy Page and Sting both fell for this with Sting actually performing on stage with P-Diddley!).  Now its just a glorification of making money and maintaining street cred by shooting any fool that dares disrespect you…even though nothing has been done to earn respect in the first place.  Of course this isn’t all encompassing, just the mainstream, cookie cutter, MTV songs and videos that all run together with platinum chains and grills, Caprice’s on 24″ dubs, hoochies and a lot of blurred out t-shirts.

But enough about that…how does this culture that was spawned in the black inner city neighborhoods influence rich, suburban white folks so much?  Sure, one of the pre-eminent rap groups of the 80’s was the Beastie Boys (my personal starting point into rap), but that’s not enough…why do we emulate it so much?  Well, its what I call the black=cool phenomenom.  For example, if a white guy rolled up into school with one pant leg pulled up, he would have been laughed out of town, but let LL Cool J do it…Same goes with bald heads, for white guys its an alternative to comb-overs.  To black guys, well its DMX…cool.  Same goes with cowboy hats, pickup trucks, and old jalopy Caprice Classics.  So in the eternal struggle to be cool, white guys have tried to adopt the demeanor and styles of the Hip-Hop culture.  Very few can nail it down…VERY FEW.

As for faith…well, Hip-Hop’s origins were great for faith!  It helped others to experience life under the poverty line and hopefully it would instill empathy among others.  Empathy being a key starting point to gaining understanding about the plights of others and what they did with their lives under those circumstances…If they could make it, then that testimony would help build others’ faith as it relates to their own difficult circumstances.  Now, however, the push for independence and the need for everyone to respect you has lead young folks to base their decisions off of their own perspective too much.  Any constructive criticism is seen as “dissing” them and is dimissed or cause for retaliation.  The cookie-cutter nature of mainstream Hip-Hop has led to conformist followings.  “I’m ghetto if I wear my hat with the bill (uncomfortably) straight.”  If faith isn’t a part of the culture, then conformity hinders the trek to learn more about faith…yeah, I know thats a stretch…I think I’m running out of points and I’m sure you’re low on interest by this point…this topic has fried my brain.

Well there it is…please point out your thoughts and agreements/disagreements!  Let me know your experiences and where I’m wrong.

Some suggested listenings for those who want to experience more Hip-Hop:

-Sugar Hill Gang 

-Run DMC

-Eric B & Rakim

-Tribe Called Quest-one of the last groups to use their own grooves

-De La Soul

Now compare those to these (gangsta era):


-Dr. Dre “The Chronic”

-Snoop Dogg “Doggiestyle”

And finally to these (cookie cutter era):

-P-Diddy or Puff Daddy or whatever

-anybody on MTV now…3-6 Mafia, Ying-Yang Twins, Pharell, Fat Joe, Eastsidaz (I’m drawing a blank now)

Some new stuff that may be taking its own direction:


-Ludacris…he’s getting there

-Lupe Fiasco (maybe…I haven’t really listened to him)


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