This is a little different for those of you that have been following the blog for a minute, but I felt the need to vent a little about music so just follow me a little. It’s a little lengthy, but it’s not full of fluff. I guarantee you will go away with a new outlook on this topic.
I feel the need to write this post for those of us who love music. If you don’t feel that you can put yourself in that category, then I think that you should just skip this reading this post. I will go ahead and admit upfront that this post will be a little lengthy, Why? I feel that it is needed. Music is changing every single day, but no one want’s to change with it, why? I don’t understand it. Understand, that my perspective throughout this entire post is from the Hip-Hop point of view. For weeks now, I have been going back and forth with myself on how I wanted to approach this topic, how I wanted to title it, if I wanted to specifically talk about the Hip-Hop culture, but I felt it would be unfair to single out the Hip-Hop culture due to the integration of the culture and how much the culture has grown since it started, but what other culture in music could I talk about? I don’t know any other culture like I know culture like Hip-Hop.
A lot of people forget where it started and don’t pay homage to the forefathers of Hip-Hop which I don’t understand. If you ask the newest up and coming “rapper” in the game where Hip-Hop started I am willing to put every dollar I have to my name right now, they couldn’t tell you. Why is that? Because they don’t care. You know what, I won’t say they don’t care, I won’t blame it on them, I’ll blame it on the individual that brought them up. It’s the individual that brought them up and inspired them to rap. I was watching a documentary with KRS-ONE and he said that in 10 years what will they be saying about music today? The documentary took place in 2007 so Hip-Hop wasn’t doing too bad, but what will they be saying about Hip-Hop in 2024? I don’t even want to know? Will they even know who Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force, DJ Kool Herc, Busy Bee, & KRS-ONE, just to name a few?
A quick history lesson for you. Stay with me. The Un-official birthday of Hip-Hop is November 12, 1974. In the early years of the culture, the movement went untitled until Afrika Bambaataa, started calling it “Hip-Hop,” a term originated by Lovebug Starski. In the 1970s ten years prior to it gaining global recognition, Hip-Hop was a celebration of life gradually developing each of it’s elements to form a cultural movement. Due to its energy, dynamics, and momentum, Hip-Hop culture has become, ultimately, a key to upliftment and reformation, as well as a billion-dollar industry. From the 1980s on, the Rap industry and media have helped to make the terms “Hip-Hop” and “Rap” synonymous, leaving out the other elements included in the culture. In light of this enormous oversight, the Zulu Nation promotes the “5th element” of Hip-Hop, which is KNOWLEDGE, and actively tries to educate the masses about the history and foundational elements of the true Hip-Hop culture.
Afrika Bambaataa declared: “When we made Hip-Hop, we made it hoping it would be about peace, love, unity and having fun so that people could get away from the negativity that was plaguing our streets (gang violence, drug abuse, self hate, violence among those of African and Latino descent). Even though this negativity still happens here and there, as the culture progresses, we play a big role in conflict resolution and enforcing positivity.” Hip-Hop was made to be the Vehicle to Deliver Innumerable Lessons! Afrika Bambaataa doesn’t believe that Hip Hop heads should just have knowledge of Hip Hop. He promotes and proves that Hip-Hop can be used as a vehicle for teaching awareness, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice, equality, peace, unity, love, respect, responsibility and recreation, overcoming challenges, economics, mathematics. Science, life, truth, facts and faith.
Another big thing that is overlooked by so-called Hip-Hop heads is the Core of Hip-Hop which is the Elements. The Elements: Hip-Hop culture is defined as a movement which is expressed through various artistic mediums which we call “elements”. The main elements are known as MC’ing (Rapping), DJ’ing, WRITING (Aerosol Art), SEVERAL DANCE FORMS (which include Breaking, Up-Rocking, Popping, and Locking) and the element which holds the rest together: KNOWLEDGE. There are also other elements such as Vocal Percussion/Beat Boxing, Fashion, etc. Within the past 20 years, Hip-Hop culture has greatly influenced the entertainment world with its creative contributions in music, dance, art, poetry, and fashion. THE 5TH ELEMENT OF HIP HOP CULTURE KNOWLEDGE, CULTURE, OVERS-TANDING, FACT-OLOGY VS. BELIEFS.
Hip-Hop isn’t just music people. Hip-Hop Culture Definition is Encompassing graffiti art, MCing/rapping, DJing and b-boying, of a minority-populated urban community during the 1980s. The 1980s also saw many artists make social statements through Hip-Hop. Now let’s look at what the Hip-Hop Culture is doing for us today: Graffiti is a lost art, Rapping is still alive and well, but almost ANYBODY can do it. Compared to the 1970s and 80s you had to have a certain “swag” to do it, but that’s a different topic, but as I said also, times have changed and everybody has put their different touches on it so things have changed. With the advances in technology DJ’ing is going to the computer and it’s more “digital” and you rarely see break dancing anymore. So, with the changing of the times, the rules have changed. So should the elements change with the times? No, I don’t think so. It’s our Core Elements.
Now looking at what looking at what Hip-Hop was supposed to be and what is has become I know you are saying to yourself it’s on two different playing fields. I would say that you are right. Some would say that it would never be able to get back to what it was created for, but I would have to disagree with you. There is already “that” type of Hip-Hop here for you, but the main stream media and Major Corporations that control the Music Industry don’t want to hear it and won’t allow the radio to play it. Most of those artist are Indie or stay underground. Why? Because they get treated better and are able to take better care of their families. Lets take Screwface for instance, there is a stable of “SICK” artist that are overlooked! I have NO CLUE WHY!! Traxx is a DOPE Producer and has some heat and has produced for some Major artist. I don’t know the in’s and outs of the business so if I said anything I would be lying so I wont say anything specific.
I’m getting off topic, let get back to the topic at hand. All I’m saying is that its crazy how far how far along our genre of “music” has come. I encourage you to do your own homework and research deeper into the history of Hip-Hop. It goes deeper than just Run DMC and NWA. I mean I give props where its due, but its deeper than that. If we don’t keep these roots alive they will forever die and be forgotten. Just like the new up and coming generation don’t know anything about them now, the generation coming behind them aren’t going to know anything about them either. The cycle is just going to continue. It has to start some where. It begins with us.