September 22, 2007

Hip Hop – Our Past Haunts Us – Rap Music

Hip Hop surely isn’t dead, but it’s got mental problems to it’s core.

I recently read a statistic that shocked me (no it wasn’t the amount of records Kanye West sold)

Instead it was the amount of sales that “Public Enemy’s – It Takes A Nation To Hold Us Back” sold in one particular week last year.

Come to find out it was about 400 copies.

Run DMC “Raising Hell” sold about 100 copies that same week.

Lets put them numbers into perspective.

Pink Floyd’s classic album “The Wall” sells about 10,000 copies a week.

Hip hop fans obviously don’t respect their history. Hence the reason “Hip Hop Is Dead”, released by Nas, late last year, was not praised for what it was.

It could have been a turning point in Hip Hop, if rappers like 50 Cent wouldn’t have came out and discredited the album immediately.

If rappers like Ludacris wouldn’t have read the title, and immediately made a t-shirt claiming “Hip Hop Isn’t Dead, It Lives In the South”, if people would have listened to the actual album.

A perfect example of judging a book by it’s cover.

If hip hop fans and rappers alike would have put the album into their mp3 players. They could have got a nice history lesson from one of the most intellectual rappers in hip hop.

Yet in hip hop we seem to disrespect our history, that is to say, we might say Big Daddy Kane and Rakim are pioneers but don’t know why.

All we know is that Eminem and Jay Z give credit to them on their albums.

We apparently aren’t smart enough to realize that these rappers wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the pioneers.

We talk about wanting a shift in hip hop, but can’t identify when the pivot point was that hip hop became what it is today.

We might say that “Paid In Full” is one of the greatest albums ever made, but couldn’t tell someone who doesn’t listen to hip hop why.

So we resort to critiquing mainstream hip hop every chance we get.

If we really want change in hip hop then we need to understand how it changed in the first place.

I think it’s quite simple to describe.

We all want hip hop to be something that we can be proud of, something we can respect, something we can cherish, and most important something we can apply to our own lives.

Instead of spending all the time debating why hip hop is not reaching all of these goals. How about we spend time explaining why it does or has in the past.

I think that will cure our mental problems.

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