“Killer Mike, I’m a junior in high school and I’m an artist. I just wanna ask why should I know who KRS One is? “
There’s a stunned look on my face. Um yeah, okay… so what the fuck do you say to that? Huh? Any one got an answer?
The question came at the Hip Hop social lounge in New Jersey- you know the sixth borough- home to Redman, Joe Budden, Chino XL, Treach, and The Fugees. I mean If New York is hip-hop’s Mecca, surely N-E-W Jerz is in the running to be Medina. I expect this sort of thing south of the Mason Dixon but not here, not on the east coast.
Biggamike, Avengerxl, T.P.A.R …BOL do any of you have an answer? I need an answer.
Why don’t the lil’ homies know their hip-hop history? Why ain’t they heard the classics- you know the albums that were the blueprint to this rap shit!
Actually, I know why (sigh). We ain’t teaching, we just been preaching to them. We tell them how good hip-hop was but they never catch us playing it.
At some point way before skinny jeans and autotune, hip-hop went soft. We suckered out. Yeah us! The folk that fought the power, warned of self-destruction and stated “we all in the same gang.” We stopped supporting the music and movement that got us through the crack-slanging, starter-jacket—robbing, jacking- for-Jordans-era. I don’t know if it was the shiny suits, the collared shirt hard bottom shoe hip-hop clubs, the hip-hop goes corporate agenda, or the new age Emo rapper prototypes, but we have forgotten how dope the music that shaped us is. With all this focus on retro why don’t we play the dope ass, timeless records that shaped us? I mean if the trend is now the 80s and 90s, when are we gonna play the music for these little swag mannequins?
The south has reverted back to square dance rap and mush-mouth chants, New York has followed and the west in spite of having an arsenal of dope emcees seems to be the victim of relentless swagger jacking by the rest of hip hop.
Two things continuously imitated are 40 water’s coined phrases and the blood/crip gang culture that has infested Newark and the east coast. Maybe if the youth heard us playing the Menace to Society soundtrack Death Certificate or EFIL4ZAGGIN they would know what they doing ain’t nothing new and banging can only lead to disappointment and death. Even in the realm of “positive rap” we have a lack of informed and enthusiastic fans. Maybe if all those sonic supporters of the lil’ homie Charles Hamilton knew that Luther “Luke Skywalker” Campbell risked his freedom and his business in order to protect his first amendment rights by refusing to alter his content they would have been a little more respect when the two rappers butted heads.
I know I’m ranting but I’m pissed. Fuck this “it’s all about me, I’m the star. I’m super swagged out and I’m hotter than hot and that’s hot cuz I’m hot” shit. Our babies think we all dressed like fresh prince and listened to Hammer, Vanilla ice and R&B only. They do not know great rap pre-Pac and Biggie. I giggle when I think of the Biggie and Rakim rhymes Wayne reintroduced to the hip-hop audience and hardly anyone made it a point to dig up the original records and play them.
The young don’t know and the old have become too lazy. It’s so much easier for the grown to hate the young and thrash their moment when they could be turning the lil’ homies on to classics. If they like J. Cole, play Tribe for them. If they like Boosie, play UGK. While you are staying current with the lil homies and keeping up with whomever is hot on radio this year, make sure you school a young’n.
When I go to expensive rock concerts to see over the hill rock gods rocking out I always see middle aged white men with their sons, wearing classic rock tees and singing the words together. They pass the love of those bands and that music on to the next generation. It’s time we do the same.
I will be giving a young intern Death Certificate and EFIL4ZAGGIN because he’s from Gary where those albums were), word to Freddie Gibbs (a youngster ya’ll should support!).
I guess what I’m saying is we who were blessed to be 80s babies and 90s niggas should be playing the music that shaped us and not trying to be so hip we forget the hop! Please send me some suggestions on what records you think are timeless and we should still be playing for the youth. It’s Bigga!