hip hop

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Hip Hop

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I remember waking up excited as hell back in 94 because I knew i was gonna eat breakfast and pop in my "Ready to Die" tape or my "36 Chambers" and just get lost. To me those were days when Hip Hop music was at its peak. Albums had story and storyline. The artists, though usually exaggerated for marketing purposes, had real life stories to tell. These stories were vivid and drew you into their world. I was inspired. It was the time when I said to myself "stop playin around with these rhymes and take this seriously".

Even then, all the way in little Barbados (you may think we're detached and out of the way but we are very developed and up-to-date with everything, and have been for a while) I was encouraged by the energy and spirit of Hip Hop to want to be something larger than life. I was inspired to look beyond what my society mapped out as a normal path to follow. It confirmed for me that my creative spirit could not be extinguished. From then until now music has been my greatest strength (and at times my greatest weakness).

Now Hip Hop to me has become a shadow of its former self. Not to discredit the progress made in terms of commercial success and pop culture acceptance of course. However, something is missing and I'm not sure what it is. I'm not even sure if it's just that I'm from a particular era and as such I'm just a bit resistant to change. Still it weighs on me from time to time. Seems now like there is less originality and more tendency to follow an accepted pattern. A lot of MCs out there sound the same. Everyone wants to be Hov, Drake or Wayne. Where are the ones who would dare to stand out? The Busta Rhymes', the ODBs, the De La Souls and Tribe Called Quests? Seems to me like its a battle. Style vs Substance and style is winning. To the detriment of a culture? Where is the mainstream love for the other tenets of Hip hop culture? Instead of the wholesale exploitation of beautiful black women in videos, how about showcasing the talent of Graffiti writers?

It is true that all things must change and evolve but the energies we use to create our realities must not be tainted and degraded in the name of so called progress. Let those who bring genuine portions of their own truths to the game consistently be continuously blessed and let those who do not learn to understand themselves and their role.

Peace

Source by Stewart Carter

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Mitchel Turner

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I’m a journalist from Oxford specializing in hip-hop and culture.