Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Somebody asked me today, how do you tell the difference between Hip Hop and Rap. For a moment the mind wanders, and everything slows down as you picture all influence these two words have had on your life. Then you jump back into real time and realize, rap can be Hip Hop, but rap is not always Hip Hop. Some one out there is blowing a gasket or 10; please, for a second, just bare witness to some truth. Hip Hop, by Wikipedia, "is an artistic sub-culture that originated in the 1970s in the inner city African American community of New York City; DJ Afrika Bambaataa outlined the four pillars of Hip-Hop Culture: MCing, DJing, B-boying/B-girling, and graffiti writing". Sounds pretty straight forward. So then a rap song is a hip hop song, cause rapping is MCing, right? Simply put, no!
When someone says its as hip hop song, they mean it encompasses the essence of hip hop, usually meaning it someone reflects from the Old School. Its something for the people that carries with it, meaning and substance. Its inspiring and moving. Somehow, it also the artist to touch the soul of perfect strangers, grab hold, and never let go; even when you can't hear it, u still feel it. Not just anyone can be Hip Hop. But any person who's read a Dr. Seuss hard back can rap, given a beat to ride, or for some southern rappers, walk on. To say a bunch of nonsense is not Hip Hop, its nonsense. People don't seem to realize the influence that hip hop has had on a two generations. We're talking about something that started in the 70's and still generates payola around the world in 2010, 40 years of life unobstructed! Ill-driven or a little deterred, maybe, but lifeless, never. Hip Hop can work in any music genre. As a matter of fact, it has already laid with just about every popular genre, leaving a bastard child because its definitely a rolling stone.
Rap is just a genre of music, like R&b, or Soul, or Rock (but then again rock is a sub-culture).
So is Hip hop dead? Have you turned on your television in the last 40 years? Did you not witness Obama brushing the dirt of his shoulder? Do you realize the amount of over seas tours the occur a year; some artist never return. Black people have a tendency to place an invisible chain on Hip Hop so we have something of our own. The problem with that is hip hop breaks all barriers and is accepted with open arms and allowed to flourish, infinitely contagious. There is no cure, but many have tried to develop one. See Bill O'Reily. These people don't know Hip Hop. For them its all talk, no experience. Their listening is handicapped by their disdain for the culture and just plain old hate. Besides the haters, their are the lazy and disrespectful. Who have turned rap into nothing but a street hustle. They put down the drugs and gunz (actually they kept both) and exchanged them for a microphone and youtube. See, Hip Hop is a movement, a people, a lifestyle, but rap is just a hustle for 80% of the people in it. But that 20% is still enough. Enough to influence other countries. Now Hip Hop is revived in things like Anime. Its a beautiful thing to know that Hip Hop never died, and to know rap could never kill it.
Eminem, Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady.. Whatever you prefer to call him suit him just fine because they are all apart of his character in life. Usually with most artists, their alias is a representation of some experience or just a really cool way they like to be referred to on stage. This is not the case with Marshall. His many "aliases" are actually parts of his personality that he's separated and even equates or blames for the mayhem he's gotten himself into. So how do we tell which person we are dealing with, if ever we were to run into Marshall. How do we address him? Its actually pretty easy to spot.
- Eminem is the artist. Eminem is the lyricists, the person you see on stage, the guy in the studio. He's the laid back, street persona with the du rags or skully, and wife beaters in chill mode. He's the person on the album and magazine covers. He's the person who's words create the imagery that you can connect with so well through your speakers or headset. So basically, if Marshall has a pen, call him Eminem.
- Slim Shady is the crazy. That's the best way to put it. Slim Shady is the guy that gets Marshall in trouble. He's the one that got Marshall in trouble with Kim. He's the one that makes Marshall do drugs. Slim definitely makes appearances on every album. So if you're listening to a song and its a little annoying, extremely crazy, stuck in your mind, but definitely not something you'd repeat in public, you've just listened to Slim Shady. You don't approach Slim Shady. You Don't ask for an autograph. Don't even make eye contact. Duck and run for cover. I heard Slim once beat a bum then left him nine grand ($9K).
- Marshall is the boy, the man, the emotions, the experiences, the feeling, and the memories. He's the person. He's where all the inspiration comes from. He's the persona that's lived it all and seen it all and uses Eminem to put it into words. He's the one that has the love for Kim, and worships his daughter Hailey and misses Proof and his Cousin who committed suicide very early in his life. Marshall is like you and me. He has his good days and his bad days. He's the one that went through a successful recovery for himself and those who love him( fans included). You may not even notice Marshall. You would probably walk pass Marshall on the street, do a quick double back and mutter something to yourself like "That white boy looks just like Eminem"
How do you know when your time is done? How do you know when it's time? An achieved degree brings the exhilarating feeling of a new horizon to venture out upon. But once you settle on a new conquest, it's not as exhilarating a feeling to know the path chosen may not have been best. Time vested is not always time wasted, but it's definitely always time lost. A real fear of moving on, is when you unintentionally go from "meh" to intolerable. This begins a cycle that could have been avoided, but only out of the fear of discouragement or greater discouragement. So how do you avoid this. For some people, for most people, practice is the way. This new generation is said to be unsettled over time, and thrives on an ever changing career. So, maybe its time to accept this gift and curse. Time to practice some new moves. What do you think?
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