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Kidz In The Hall present…Hi, I’m The Rapper

naledge.jpgYesterday, I stopped by Power 92 in Chicago to do an interview with my man DJ Pharris and drop off the Kidz In The Hall song ”Go ILL” (see yesterday’s blog entry for song link) The response was real positive and I think it is the type of song that accurately depicts the lifestyle that a lot of kids in Chicago, or any urban setting for that matter, can relate to.

However, a lot of the callers that called in to show support seemed to ignore the music when wanting to ask me questions. Most were almost intrigued and curious as to why I got into rapping if I have an Ivy League degree.

While I love the positive attention my education brings, sometimes I feel like people neglect how much I love hip-hop. I definitely understand that most emcees don’t glorify the fact that they may have attended and/or graduated college but why would hip-hop fans be so scared of a college educated hip-hop star?

If you listen to the words that I write and the songs that we make, I don’t think that you’ll find them any more political than Common, any less cocky that the Clipse, nor any less danceable than anything on 106 and Park, but somehow I guess the fact that I could possibly give my resume to a corporation and get a job outside of music must confuse people who think that hip-hop can only come from “the hood.”

What people don’t see is that we don’t choose what we love, it just hits us. Point blank, I love music, and no other genre allows me to express myself the way I see fit. I AM hip-hop and if you love real shit, whether you can relate directly to my story or not, you will love our music for giving you insight into our lives in a very musical and real way.

What offends me more than anything is that labels and rap fans alike take artists who talk about dealing crack in our community as commonplace and “real” and make them the archetype for what a rapper should be. To think or accept that one style of rap is the only kind that is authentic, to me, is saying that we aren’t smart enough to digest anything else. As members of the hip-hop community, we should all be offended by it. And it’s an even bigger slap in the face to a rap listener that a lot of artists glorify this life even though they have never lived it. We need to open our eyes and accept that it is a new day.

We are from an internet generation that has branded hip-hop globally; to think that we won’t see more and more diverse biographies (see: Lupe, Eminem, Pitbull, etc….) from talented hip-hop artists is absurd. I am from a two-parent home, I was valedictorian in high school, I enjoy my fair share of Polo and Lacoste and, yes, I graduated from an Ivy League school. BUT, I am also Black from the inner city and have experienced racism, death, and struggle firsthand.

For hip-hop to grow, we need balance and all I am doing is finding more and more ways to rap about the everyday life that I feel me and my friends shared growing up. I do this in hopes that I can paint a familiar picture for a lot of the hip-hop fans out there who haven’t had an artist like me in the past to relate to, while still bringing great hip-hop back into the forefront where it belongs. And to me, that is more “real” than pretending to be something I’m not.

Me and Rhymefest had a conversation about the fact that a lot of rappers out right now are “Poverty Pimping” – meaning they are glorifying and projecting a lifestyle for the street for the sake of their own individual wealth with no regard for their community. Sure we have vices and superficial wants/needs. But at the expense of our community? I feel it is my obligation and responsibility to balance my realities about sex, relationships, wanting nice clothes or wanting to drive a nice car with the realities of poverty, struggle, and life as a young Black male in America. I will not neglect my roots, my people, or my city to appease those who would rather drown their fears, hang-ups or frustrations w/ jewels, money and fake realities.

Hello, my name is Naledge: the new breed of hip-hop emcee. Please take this ride with me.

PS: Hip-Hop is Alive!

Check out “Wheelz Fall Off (’06 til…)” from the debut album School Was My Hustle Video coming soon!

Kidz In The Hall “Wheelz Fall Off (’06 til…)”

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