As a child of the 90’s I was drawn into hip-hop culture at a young age. For me it was all about a feeling about unity, free thought and love. One of my first tapes was De La Soul is Dead and by the time I was 13 I knew all the lyrics to every one of their songs. It was fun and happy. They had some jokes but most of it had a positive vibe. I had already discovered Leaders of the New School, A Tribe Called Quest and got into Black Star (Talib Kweli and Mos Def) then along came, who I think is the greatest hip-hop group of all time, The Roots.
I used to enter freestyle battles, go to hip-hop clubs and concerts but then it all came crashing down. At some point the message of hip-hop changed and I lost the connection. I was disheartened when I saw some of my hip-hop heroes go on tour for Kool cigarettes. At this point I had been intro electronic dance music for awhile so at least I had something to fall back on.
Now several years later here I am again forced to listen to hip-hop music by mainstream society and let me tell you I am disappointed.
I swore when I was a kid that by the time we reach 2010 racism would have been a thing of the past and all humanity were to come together and celebrate life in unity, love and respect. Instead I feel more segregated than ever. Segregated and let down by something that I used to love so much.
I love The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and he always makes me laugh but behind that laughter is sadness. My heroes who I thought were going to lead a musical revolution, The Roots, are now just a band for laughs on a syndicated mainstream show? They do say that laughter is the best medicine and I need it because life is full of melancholy.
So my point is, what happened to hip-hop? I saw an article on World Star Hip-Hop a few months ago that was written from the point of view of an anonymous record label executive who wanted the public to know that in the 80s he and others made a deal with private jails to fade out all the positive hip-hop and focus on the negative stuff. Well whatever the case I think we as a species and hip-hop have taken several steps backwards on our path to righteousness. When will it all end?