Sunday, January 7, 2007

Hip-Hop Is Dead And All Shall Be Held Accountable!


Hip-Hop is dead! That's a pretty bold and powerful statement. No wonder someone as creative, innovative and cutting edge as Nas would use it as the title to his newly released and highly anticipated Def Jam debut this past Tuesday (Dec. 19). It speaks volumes about the free falling descent the music and culture as a whole have faced for the last decade now! It seems as if ever since the early 90's, Hip-Hop has been dying a slow grinding torturous death (with a few brief spells of relief here and there especially in the late 90's once the God forsaken "Jiggy" era was obliterated, by the emergence of Jay-Z, DMX, Canibus, a pre Reggaton Norega, Big Pun, Eminem & other hungry lyrical heavyweight MC's aching to be #1) to the point where it may never be able to recover or be revived!

Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, The Treacherous Three, Cold Crush Brothers, Kurtis Blow, Run-DMC, etc. If only a few or none of these names sound or look familiar to you, but you claim to be a hip-hop fan, 9 times out of 10 you're probably the reason hip-hop died! These are just a small handful of the true school pioneers who paved the way for many young rap fans favorite artist to enjoy being the multimillion dollar top 10 artist whose played on BET & MTV 20 times a day. The real and more important reason I personally feel Hip-Hop died is because more artist started to saturate the game who cared more about getting rich, then getting respect as a great MC.! I wonder if most new artist today in the game even know what being an MC truly means (Master of Ceremonies).

I had the privilege and honor of seeing some of the greatest ever to bless a mic, command the stage over the last 3 months! (As some of you may have noticed from the pics sprinkled throughout my profile) First was Big Daddy Kane at Roselands in Sept. and to anyone who saw his performance at VH1's Hip-Hop honors last year in 05, it was more of the same classic, hot, explosive, creative & fresh to def type of flava! King Asiatic proved why Noboy's Equal with an assortment of classic old school gems and current lyrical freestyles that are just as crisp, sharp and on point now, as when Kane was "Warmin it up" back in 89! The next show I saw was E.P.M.D. (stands for Eric & Parrish Making Dollars, can't assume everyone remembers the funky duo from Long Isalnd, NY) at B.B. Kings Bar & Grill and for anyone who doesn't understnad the magnitude of this, the group has been disbanded for almost 8 years! They came together for this one night on October 14th and brought 3 out of the 4 members of the Hit/Def Squad with them (Redman, Keith Murray & even Das Efx came out of the sewer to join the festivities, they were just minus K-Solo) and excuse my expression, but the boys from Brentwood L.I. TORE THE BITCH DOWN! I've still to this day (maybe with the exception of Tribe, or Nice n Smooth) have never seen a duo with more flawless chemistry in Hip-Hop than Eric & Parrish. Flows Fluid, Beats Headbangin, & all Songs, straight classics! And don't get me started on their D.J., Scratch, the man is incredible with tricks for days on the wheels of steel. Who else could scratch and mix Big Daddy's Kane's Ain't no half steppin line "Friday the 13th I'm a play Jason" with an actaul Jason mask on? CRAZY!

Next was Rakim Allah for Thanksgiving weekend also at B.B. Kings, The Microphone Fiend in the flesh (my personal #1 MC of all time). For any true Hip-Hop fan from back in the day (meaning 1980-1990) if you can imagine seeing live the man who created the 7 MC theory while getting Paid N Full, told cats to Follow the Leader while unleashing Lyrics of Fury, then Let the Rhythm Hit'em In the Ghetto, just to tell them Don't Sweat the Technique cause he had the Juice, you know it was a legendary night to remember! But I must say all those great Emcees and performances couldn't quite compete with lessons from the Teacher from B.D.P., when I saw the Blastmaster KRS-ONE at S.O.B.'s in early December! INCREDIBLE,, UNBELIEVABLE AND INSPIRATIONAL! The man actually performed a freestyle to a classical instrumental piece, AND RIPPED IT!!!! That's what being a true creative lyrically gifted MC is all about! Master of Ceremonies is the ultimate showman who commands the attention, respect and appreciation of the captivated crowd. Like a magician, comedian or other showman, they mesmerize your attention span and hold it hostage. Leaving you hanging on their every movement and gesture, while your curiousity begs to be enticed more. To the point that you can't help but to keep watching until the act reaches it's climatic finale!

So I ask where are the hungry MC's of today daring to be great, or giving their all to be the top MC's or great Lyricists of their time? I think OC said it best on his classic underground joint "Times Up". "Of course we gotta pay rent so money connects, but uh I'd rather be broke and have a whole lot of respect!" Now I'm not suggesting to people that artist have to be broke or sell no records inorder to be respected, but the point I think O was trying to make is that his value system as an artist realized that being respected as an MC, was more valuable than being a multiplatinum artist! Hot record sales come & go like the rising of the tides (one day you're hot, the next day you're yesterday's news, just ask Puffy!), but it's true respect that lasts a lifetime! That's why artist like Rakim, or KRS-ONE or Kool G. Rap are still mentioned to this day in the same reverence as a Notorious B.I.G. or a 2 Pac, Jay or Nas, because people never lost respect for their artistry and they were always appreciated for the classic and timeless contributions they gave to the music and culture. When KRS put on "South Bronx in his SOB's performance a few weeks ago, that place erupted with so much excitiment and fervor, you would have sworn it was 1986 instead of 2006. Honestly how many artist out now can you name with a hot record, could get that much excitement from people with their hit song 20 years from now? Hell how many of these artist can manage that type of hype 20 months from now? If you can honestly name more than 5 than God bless you, because I couldn't think of one right now.

In today's musical world of the MC, Sex has replaced Skills, Bling has substituted for Style and Creativity, Record Sales overtook Classic Albums, & Million Dollars Video's are in the place of Legendary & Captivating Live Performances! If you were to take any top 10 artist in Hip-Hop and compare their latest (or best for that matter) album or lyrical skills to those of top 10 respected MC's from back in the day (Rakim, KRS-ONE, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, Slick Rick, Chuck D. etc.) or even top artist from the 90's like Nas Biggie, Pac, Jay (in his prime 96-99), Common, Big Pun, Big L, Jadakiss etc. ask yourself can today's artist (50 Cent, T.I., Young Jeezy, Jim Jones, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Slim Thug, etc.) really compare? Hell half the cats I mentioned from that 90's list who are still around today don't even comapare to themselves now what they were back then, so I know these new jacks don't stand a chance. (Can you honestly say that Jay-Z "Show me what you got, little mama" from Kingdom Come" can compete with the Jay-Z the hungry Friend or Foe hustler from "Reasonable Doubt"?) I didn't think so.

Another reason for Hip-Hop's demise I feel, is if you notice on that 90's list of MC's I mentioned atleast half of them are deceased now (Biggie, Pac, Pun & Big L)! That leaves an awfully big void that would be difficult for any artform to replace. Imagine the NBA without Iverson, Shaq, Kobe and Lebron! Just all 4 gone in the span of 2-4 years. Yeah the league would move on, but those are mighty big shoes to fill, and the void would have a huge impact for years to come. Take also into effect that 3 out of those 4 artist now deceased were from the East Coast, and I think you can also trace as to how East Coast MC's and East Coast Hip-Hop in particular has been in a funk the last few yrs now (that and the demise of artist like DMX, Norega, Canibus & Jadakiss who all showed such promise in the late 90's, but never quite fulfilled their potential to it's fullest!)

The bottom line is there's been a huge void that nobody has been really stepping up to the plate to fulfill. That's why you can have artist coming out the woodwork now saying I'm the best at this, or I'm the King of this or the King of that region, or I'm the Greatest ever, even though they have really done shit to prove it! Remember one doesn't become great simply by claiming it, you gotta earn it by proving it and deeming yourself worthy. Truly great MC's (or people in general) don't have to go around calling themselves great, they just show it by example! You think Michael Jordan ever had to walk around saying I'm the best player ever? Probably not, but most people to this day believe he is anyway, because his game, highlight reel of accomplishments and 6 NBA championships told you so all by themselves!

So my last closing arguement is this: Now that you know the truth about who killed Hip-Hop, how and why, what are you going to do about it? Continue to watch TV shows or listen to radio stations (they know who they are) who promote & support artist that don't give a damn about uplifting the art and culture with creativity and originality? Or take a stand to make sure that the movement that started out as a diversion for former gang memebers in the streets of the Bronx to participate in something musical & constructive to stay out of trouble, to the multimillion dollar artform and international culture we call Hip-Hop today, is preserved, respected and protected by and for those who understand what it means! Remember if you choose to support the former, than you're admitting to being a willing participate in the murder of one of the most powerful and prolific artforms of the 21st century! Are you willing & ready to accept that type of accountabiltity?



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree, being real on the mic with passion is hip hop 4me, but instead all we're left with is artists full of gimics and puppet acts, with producers and record labels as the masters. Thats not real, money as a motivation to rap doesnt qualify for good music! Thats why every artist you mentioned on your page, IS hiphop and I completely agree bro, keep it going , and hopefully the masses understand the same.