I truly believe that the culture that is known as “Hip Hop” must return to its original roots.
The Hip Hop Culture originated in West Africa from the Ashanti Tribe in which the tribe would have oral tradition in storytelling. This was passed down to generations even to the slaves who remembered their roots. In the twentieth century, this tradition became a form of storytelling in poetry through music with jazz musicians and later with recordings which is known as sampling. This was introduced in the streets of New York City and in the late 60’s and 70’s. Four young men that called themselves “The Last Poets” had started this trend and sold one million copies without airplay. Hip Hop was considered underground and major radio stations would not allow airplay to any Hip Hop artists.
The origin of Hip Hop used the same method of the West African forefathers and famous orators such as Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson. It created a sound that sent messages about the importance of education, self-determination, social consciousness, building communities, and relationships. This trend grew and developed among more artists such as Gil Scott –Heron, Public Enemy, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Afrika Bambataa, and many more. This music gave people the drive to educate themselves and gave them a purpose.
In recent years the Hip Hop culture became main stream and became a billion dollar industry. The music industry conglomerates created a negative image of Hip Hop and formed now “Gangster Rap”. In creating this negative image the younger generation mimicked these artists that portrayed gangsters in which gangs in our streets throughout America through glorifying these false portraits of gangsters, degrading women that is causing little girls to believe that it is all right to dress half naked and expose themselves. Our young men and young women feel that the only way to succeed in life is to become a drug dealer and bring drugs in our neighborhoods; this behavior is killing our younger generation.
Now these music industry conglomerates have made a profit in marketing this false image, in retailing clothes which has formed a threat to society when individuals wear these garments. In most cities, if you are wearing these garments you are stopped because you are posing a threat. This false image is killing our youth and this harmful threat to the generations to come. It is a threat with the lyrics that is used that infiltrating the minds and souls of our youth that is causing them to destroy themselves. In giving the perfect beat and sound, and using harmful lyrics these artists are causing young people to cause self hatred and destroying neighborhoods and communities that were built from blood, sweat and tears.
The scripture says, “My people are destroyed from the lack of knowledge.” I believe that those who love the Hip Hop Culture and who represent Hip Hop must return to its original roots and bring back the lyrics of self-determination, the need of education, how we must build communities, demonstrate love in our relationships, show our little girls and young ladies how to conduct themselves and that they don’t have to expose themselves to be beautiful, and that the beauty lies within themselves. I believe that college campuses would be full instead of prison camps.
In the past five years, the early generations of Hip Hop has made a huge return to start the tradition of bringing back the roots of orator tradition in storytelling, inasmuch in showing this new Hip Hop generation that a positive image must be represented in Hip Hop in high-esteem as originated. Many of the forefathers of Hip Hop are having concerts with sold out crowds and proceeds are going to many charitable groups. Many are serving in ministry such as Rev Run from Run DMC, Kurtis Blow and others. I believe that those Hip Hop artists who sold themselves to the devil for the mighty dollar would make a turn for righteousness and they should hold themselves responsible for which lyrics they created to “live large” at the cost for someone who lost their life because of the violence on our streets just because they believe what they are rapping about are true, but they are only fooling themselves. Especially these music industry conglomerates who are invented this negative image that is costing the loss of lives. I would love to see Hip Hop as a prodigal’s son to come home to a beautiful feast and everyone will become winners.