specifically the insulting change in the genre going from Hip-Hop to it’s now mainstream alternate; the bastard brother known as Rap. I know there will be some people who are going to rebuttal with a strong, there’s no difference between Hip-Hop and Rap. Those are the people who follow the Rap trend, those who understand the Hip-Hop culture know exactly what I mean. Today, I want to clear up exactly what I mean when I say there is in fact, a difference between the culture of Hip-Hop and the trend of Rap. Let’s start from the beginning;
Exactly when and where Hip-Hop was originated will forever depend on where you grew up. I’m on the side that states Hip-Hop was birthed in the East coast, New York to be exact, yet I have no opinions as to which burrow it stems. What I do know, Hip-Hop was birthed as a way of life/ lifestyle/ a culture! It wasn’t just the music, it was the music, the rhythms and beats derived from the blues and disco, the style of dressing, the graffiti on the walls of the many depressed abandoned buildings that lined the inner-city streets who innovated the culture, it was the style of dancing that came from the heart but used every limb that moved! Hip-Hop was more than flashy materialism, women and money. Hip-Hop was a VOICE for the voiceless, a way for the oppressed to express their pain in a time where self-expression was paralleled with terrorism (i.e. self-expression from groups like the Black Panthers, Malcom X & the Nation of Islam being labeled and attacked as domestic terrorists). Hip-Hop is a culture because it was created from a people in who have had their ancestry/rituals/beliefs/self-knowledge and awareness beaten out of them and when the beatings didn’t break them most paid for self-expression with their lives. It was created during a time where the creators had just begun to experience the slightest of equalities while rebuilding after the civil unrests in which their generation survived.
Through the culture of Hip-Hop, Afro-Ethnic peoples in America began to rediscover the knowledge that had been forcibly with held from them for generations. They began to rebuild communities and redirect the narrative within those communities going from every man for himself to understanding it will take the entire community to rebuild itself. Hip-Hop gave those artistic kids who were limited to the poorest schools that lacked an artistic outlet and gave them a free canvas to self-express (the abandoned buildings, train terminals that faced their bedroom windows, subway stations they frequented that were painted a depressed grey). Hip-Hop gave those aspiring dancers who knew they’d never be accepted into Broadway or Julliard an outlet to not only break out of the American approved standards of what’s acceptable in dance, but to create their own genre based on dances from their ancestors. These were the break dancers, some studied dance (as much as they could retrieve) through community programs and watching the moves from older dances as they altered to their own styles and others just had the power of rhythm so deep within, they’d create entire routine solely from using movement to self-express the emotions they had no words to speak. Hip-Hop gave those who were struggling to bite their tongues in the face of the oppressor an outlet to speak freely without repercussion. Some were poets and others, simply rebels, who refused to bow down to inequalities without a fight. These were the Hip-Hop artists who started it all, the ones who brought the culture, that was once limited to the founding burrows, and exposed it to the world. Legends like Run Dmc, KRS1, Roxanne Shantae, Slick Rick, Nas and so many more are responsible for main streaming the culture.
Rap; (Rhythm and Poetry)
The word itself derives from the Hip-Hop culture. Afro-ethnic men would speak with a vernacular unlike anything mainstream America had heard. They spoke with fluidity and passion lacking technical enunciations and key vowels stipulated in the English language. Afro-ethnic peoples would refer the this as “rapping” to each other. If you ever seen an old Afro-ethnic movie such as The Mac or Car Wash you’ll hear them say thing like, “Come here brotha, let me rap to you for a minute.” It simply meant to speak to someone on a serious level as you wanted to discuss a serious situation while presenting facts to prove a point. So, when the musical aspect of the Hip-Hop culture hit the mainstream media waves, there was an influx of people trying to cash in on this new-found music genre. As the capitalist of the industry came in and began the process of monopolizing the Hip-Hop genre, they started letting anyone who portrayed the culture into the industry and passed them off as authentic pieces of the culture. Only, these new-found artists weren’t of the culture, they were there to turn a profit. Where Hip-Hop artists (who were of the cultural movement) pushed messages of social justice and self-knowledge and love, these new Rap artists pushed whatever message would cause enough shock value to draw an audience. These are the artists that plague the industry today as Hip-Hop has been shelved for the short term revolving door that is Rap. We can only speculate as to why Hip-Hop as a culture has been silenced and replaced with a form so detrimental to its culture that newer generations have no idea where it all started and why, nor do they understand the need to not only know but understand the difference.
To us Hip-Hop culturists, it’s disheartening to see how far gone the culture has gotten. It’s sad beyond explanation how the capitalists of the music industry systematically shut down the spreading of positivity, self-love and knowledge, celebration of Afro-ethnic ancestry and more importantly the right to self-expression all in the name of a continued agenda to oppress those they feel to be less than. Even sadder is the fact that the newer generations don’t see it. They look at the culture of Hip-Hop as outdated and unnecessary. How can a positive message be outdated? How can knowledge of self be unnecessary? A lack of understanding/state of confusion and/or with holding one’s history is the best way to control the masses. Just as the masses learning the truth about oneself and regaining knowledge stripped from them is how they’ll take away the oppressors control.
To simplify my point with comparisons, Hip-Hop births the likes of Nas, Jeezy, T.I., Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. These artists have real longevity due to their substance containing messages within their music. On the other hand, we have Rap that births the likes of Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Desiigner and the many other short-term rappers whose message consist of the stereotypical “rapper” lifestyle; money, cars, clothes, jewels, drug addiction as a trend and whatever other ignorant stigmas the record labels direct these rappers to perpetuate at the time. Know the difference you guys, especially those of you who shun the genre based on the new age rappers. Understand when you’re disrespecting the new age rappers that you MUST understand the difference between the CULTURE of HIP-HOP and the derivative genre of Rap. So, when you’re publicly spreading your disdain of the new age rappers and the “works” they produce, make sure to publicly and just as loud specify that you hate the new music and not Hip-Hop as a whole, as they are most definitely TWO SEPARATE IDENTITIES!
Hip-Hop Artists Rappers
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