Music is the purest form of communication in the universe. It builds bridges between creeds and reaches all ears indiscriminately. Above all other genres of music, one seems to rise above the rest in melody, history and appreciation. I believe in HipHop. Although young in its existence (as its origins were rooted in the mid to late 70’s), Hip Hop has climbed heights and unified thousands of people and continues to deliver rhythm and culture to the world.
I grew up with the real HipHop. The pure, unadulterated real stories of the streets. I grew up with Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Run-DMC, Mc Lyte, NWA, Salt & Peppa and various other pioneers of the beats. Unlike the re-cut, re-mixed and re-produced music of my time today, the real HipHop—my HipHop, is the voice of the streets, of the world, and of the people—my people. I believe in the music that bore a culture completely devoted to the words and melodic flows of the “hard-knock life”. HipHop to me is not just a complied group of words that “just sound good together”; it is the poetry of life through the eyes of the artist. He uses his words to paint his picture. His turntable is his canvas, his microphone is his paintbrush. It is with real HipHop that you no longer scratch the surface of the sounds and lyrics, but you are able to live and breathe the words through every aspect of your emotions. I cannot say that today what is on the radio can do the same. Although the genre of the music is classified as the same, it is only a by-product—a generic form of the raw and real that laid the bricks of the HipHop movement.
The mothers and fathers of Hip Hop are all too easily forgotten. While the youth of today bang the screw or quote any and every Lil Wayne lyric, they stumble on remembering the Sugar hill Gang where lyrics truly originated. While we are quick to use voice boxes and faders we forget there was a time when only a turntable or a human beat-box like Biz Markee or Doug E. Fresh was needed. While we flock to the overpriced, overrated clubs with simply just an in-house “DJ” with a list of already predetermined songs to play, we lose memory of when all that was needed to have a good time was a flattened cardboard box, a Sony boom box and a good pair of Adidas shell-toes. There are various times that I strain over the thought of how HipHop, the real HipHop could be forgotten. It’s almost as if a complete livelihood and past of our parents and our younger years have slipped away into a corrupted version of its former self. Suddenly we see t-shirts and websites devoted the fact that “Hip Hop is Dead” and we are left with the same cookie cutter rap videos and rap “artists” and our parents (who lived the true Hip Hop movement) shake their heads at what has become. It’s hard to comprehend that to many, Hip Hop is a dead language—a dead history, but that is the painful truth.
Hip Hop will never be dead. I believe in letting it continue to live, to thrive and to maintain its voice. I believe no matter how the times change–for better or worse–you can never take away the culture that Hip Hop has eternally bestowed upon the human race. You could never erase graffiti and B-boys and gold rope chains and neon colors and Kangol hats and popping and locking and New Jack Swing and cardboard floors and freestyle and rap battles and Yo! MTV Raps and the rhythm that literally moves the world. Hip Hop can’t die. It has too much life in it. It might have altered its outward appearance and its followers have grown up and have now had children, but there will never be another form of music that will set out a ripple of sound and life that transcends the generations indefinitely. There is a swagger that Hip Hop has, a swagger that unites languages and races alike. Hip hop is applicable in every sense of life and will continue to break the barricades of conformity and ignorance with its melodic connection to the human soul.
I believe in Hip Hop, and it is with this belief that I have been able to fall in love with the gift that it gives the world. It is because of my belief that it will never die or fall out. I believe in Hip Hop because it is truly the voice of any street, any corner, any pain or any happiness. I love Hip Hop. I believe in everything it has to offer and everything that it gives and will continue to give to the world.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.