HipHop44

#HipHop44 is today, August 11th, the 44th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop. Hip-hop has become one of the most profitable and consumed genres of music with more people consuming hip-hop and r&b then even rock music. It’s so crazy to see so many people listening to hip-hop now and really what I mean by that is it’s really crazy to see young white kids listening to Tupac, Biggie, 21 Savage, and many other rapper’s day in and day out. When I think of hip-hop, it’s something that was created to tell the story of black people and our circumstances. It tells our interactions with police officers, it tells the story of the effect of drugs on our communities, but rap songs can also be a love story. It’s where artists can talk about their rela/situationships easily, using vernacular that their main audience will understand. But somewhere along the way our stories have become everyone else’s stories and have been put on a worldwide stage where they are all consumable. But I think my question, well my dilemma with hip-hop now being the main genre of music everyone wants to listen to is that this genre was created by black people, but has been co-opted by white artists with less love and respect being given towards black people or our culture. The influx of white people consuming hip-hop has not changed how white people view black people. It does not make them more sympathetic when they hear of another black man being killed at the hands of a police officer. It does not make them more empathetic of our communities, not having access to healthy food, or having to sell drugs to provide for our families. We are still seen as drug dealers, hood rats, ghetto, radicals, a danger to society.

 

One for us

All my niggas in the whole wide world
All my niggas in the whole wide world
Made this song to make it all y'all's turn
For us, this shit is for us

-Solange “A Seat at the Table”

 

I wasn’t able to listen to hip-hop when I was a child. It was not music my mom allowed for me to listen to by myself or otherwise because growing up she always said, “you’re too young for that. You wouldn’t understand.” I didn’t believe her of course, I wanted to be grown, hell I thought I was and fought her all the time when I was able to listen to a song by Snoop Dogg and would bob my head to the beat of the music. She would look at me and smirk saying, “you don’t know what he’s talking about” and I would reply, “yes I do!” But I really didn’t, at least not in the way I knew. My father died when I was 18, Halloween morning, 3 weeks before my 19 birthday. When I lost him is when I fell in love with hip-hop music because it was then that hip-hop truly resonated with me and I’ve been in love ever since. I can still remember the first time I fell into the words and I felt like I was speaking back to myself.

 

See I be riding, just riding alone
With my daddy on my mind
Like you gotta be kidding
How the hell you ain't here

-Lil Wayne, “Hustler Musik”

 

I listen to hip-hop every day now, in some way shape or form, maybe for a couple of minutes or for a couple of hours. And I still feel the same way that I felt when I heard that verse as if the music and the artist are speaking back to me. I love hip-hop and I love that more people are loving hip-hop as well. I just hope more people realize the history and story behind hip-hop.