Monday, August 14, 2006

HIP HOP and today's children

Okay before I get started I should say I am Pro- HIP HOP. I love everything about the culture and what it represents. Everything from the music, to the need to put spinners on a mini-van. I think that what Hip-Hop has done for us as a society is to join us together on levels we probably would have never thought of before.

First let me start off by saying telling what my definition of Hip Hop is. Although I have heard lots of people give me their opinion, I still find that some people don't realize the true meaning.

Hip Hop means the whole movement of the culture. When you talk about rap, rap is only a part of the hip hop culture. The MCing, the DJing is only a part of the hip hop culture.The dressing the languages are only part of the hip hop culture.The break dancing the b-boys, b-girls...how you act, walk, look, talk are again only part of hip hop culture... and the music is colorless.. Hip Hop music is made from Black, Brown, Yellow, Red, White.. whatever music that gives you the grunt.. that funk.. that groove or that beat.. It's all part of hip hop...

True hip-hop heads understand that hip-hop isn't just about music; it's a culture, a way of life, a language, a fashion, a set of values, and a unique perspective. Hip-hop is an economy; it's the ability to take the inner-city negative cash flow system of hustling, pushing, pimping, and banging, and turn it into a multi-million—or possibly even billion—dollar business. Hip-hop encompasses groups like Public Enemy using rap to address racism, oppression, and poverty, and then their leader "Chuck D" turning it into a new political movement getting urban young adults active in ways reminiscent of the days of the civil rights movement.

When I see kids imitating the current day artist, whether they be athletes or entertainers, I smile. I remember being a kid and wanting to have the same looks as The Sugar Hill Gang, Whodini, UTFO , Kool Mo Dee, Kurtis Blow. The list could go on forever. The funny thing to me is that for me as a kid growing up in the inner city, I could somehow connect to these people. I listened to their music and it was HOT!!! I saw them on the covers of albums and thought WOW! From head to toe they were cool and everything that came from their mouths was what I wanted to be able to say and do.
I remember being on the #92 metro bus on 8th and H street NE the very first time I heard The Sugar Hill Gang bellow out "Rapper's Delight". Little did I know, but this was my first introduction to the Hip Hop culture and my life would forever be changed from the type of music I grew up listening to what I was being exposed to now.

In the mist of a very intense conversation with one of my siblings over the weekend, again it was triggered that today's parents are angry because their children chose to emulate what they see and hear on the radio, video games or on TV.
We as parents, I feel only want what is best for our children and with what they are exposed to these days there is no way that the MTV's , BET's or VH1's choice of viewing is what we want our children exposed to.
So we tell our children that they can not look like the TIs, not like the Lil' Waynes, not like the Allen Iversons or the Carmelo Anthonys. Why do they want to wear their pants off of their asses? What the hell is so "cool" about that? It's sloppy and you look "ghetto"!!!!


I watched hip-hop evolve from underground house parties in the basements of my friends' houses to the first Run DMC video on cable television to today's rap millionaires like Sean "Puffy" Combs, Master P, Suge Knight, and Russell Simmons. These rich African-American men are more than just rappers; as a matter of fact Russell Simmons doesn't even rap. Russell Simmons has been behind the scenes of hip-hop—developing it from rap artists and groups like L.L. Cool J. and Kurtis Blow to films like Krush Groove and Tougher Than Leather to clothing lines like Phat Farm. Russell Simmons, a true pioneer of the culture, opened the door so that others in the movement like Sean Combs could start his own Bad Boy record label and develop his own clothing line, Sean John.
These innovators are the architects of culture, starting from the streets of the city and now influencing suburban and even small rural towns. They took the hustle of the street and turned it into a Wall Street economy. As a parent, it doesn't matter if you're in a church or the grocery store, city or suburb; it doesn't matter if your kids are Latino, Asian, or Irish—hip-hop is influencing your situation. The kids you work with may not love hip-hop, but they're being influenced by it. If your kids are wearing oversized jeans with the tops of their boxers showing, oversized athletic jerseys, tennis shoes like Air Force Ones, or long chains around their necks, this is hip-hop. White girls on a youth group bus braiding their hair in the style of an Ethiopian queen, that's hip-hop. There are things around you that daily scream at you, "long live hip-hop!" It's important if you want to understand the culture teens live in today, to understand hiphop and understand it as culture, not just a music form.


to be continued...

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