Our 8 year love affair is rocky to say the least. The way I saw Hip-Hop and how it should be compared to the way it was portrayed in the media was two different things. See, Hip-Hop to me was expression and because I was/am a writer of poetry, I felt like poetic Hip-Hop was innovative. Hip-Hop was about release in a positive manner. Hip-Hop was about emotion and setting myself free with words. Yet, when I looked at Hip-Hop through the eyes of others, our views were vastly different.
According to the media, Hip-Hop had lost its way. Hip-Hop was changing for the worst and there was nothing that I could do about it. When I saw the Original Kings of Comedy for the first time in 2007, Steve Harvey referenced about how music was changing into an expression of violence and hype instead of meaningful lyrics. (Start the clip at 1:45)
After allowing Steve’s words to sink in, I realized that he was somewhat correct in his statement, so I strayed away from Hip-Hop because the music, the culture, and all associated with it came hand-in-hand with negative connotations. So I strayed away from the culture and the music and found musical solace elsewhere, in the arms of R & B. Yet, Hip-Hop was that love that I couldn’t shake because he and R & B oftentimes collarborated to make great music. Music that was fun and free. As with Jamie Foxx’s hit “Just Like Me” featuring T.I.
It was this song that made me yearn to reunite with the culture that made me feel free to express myself.
With Hip-Hop, I didn’t have to pretend, I didn’t have to front, and I didn’t to diminish myself of my feelings. I felt like I could express myself in whatever manner I wanted to, whether I was angry, sad, happy, or anything else. Hip-Hop and it’s culture taught me that I could express myself and free myself from the emotions that I was bound by. A song that really spoke to that fact was T.I.’s song “Live In The Sky” featuring Jamie Foxx
This song always spoke to me because the emotions and the expression of hurt within the lyrics and in the video shows that Hip-Hop hadn’t completely lost its way and that there were some artist who were willing and very much capable of producing songs within the culture to cultivate positivity and enrichment, as well as produce in depth, uplifting lyrics.
Even with the sprinkle of good and worth in the Hip-Hop culture, many proclaimed that Hip-Hop was and still is DEAD.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that, but Hip-Hop, in my opinion is defintely on life support, which is why, once again, Hip-Hop and I are estranged. Most of the music I hear or am exposed to today, is trash in my opinion. Constantly wrapping about p***y, money, and weed gives no validation or meaning to the Hip-Hop culture. Making songs about nobody being able to F with your clique is quite shallow. I want to know what separates you and your clique. I want to know how and why no one is F’ing with your clique. I believe Hip-Hop and its culture is about more thant what is on the surface. I believe that it is about digging deep and not taking things at face value.
Hip-Hop taught me that it’s okay to be aggressive in my expression if that’s what it takes to get my point across. It taught me that sometimes I need to talk to God about what I’m going through. It taught me that sometimes I need to use it as a positive outlet to reach lost souls and down spirits. Hip Hop taught the importance of being real and being 100 percent me all the time.
In Ludacris’ song “Runaway Love” with Mary J Blige, hip-hop was gentle and kind. He was telling the story of being overcome with brokenness and feeling like running away from it all was the answer. Then, in the end, Hip-Hop held my hand and told me to face my problems. He told me to just close my eyes to escape and dream and everything would be okay because running away was not the answer.
Sometimes with hip-hop, I want to clear my mind and talk to God. Not in the traditional since with prayer and church. Just in a sense of purging and talking to God as if he’s sitting right next to me. In Ludacris’ song “Freedom of Preach”, Hip-Hop taught me that it was okay to do just that.
This song drew Hip-Hop and I closer via religion. Hip-Hop showed me that I could talk to God and ask for forgiveness for my transgretions using him and that God would hear me just the same as if I had been in the church, on my knees, in the traditional sense of prayer.
Hip-Hop and I have a rocky relationship, but the media and their sense of what Hip-Hop is and has become can’t destroy what we’ve built. Hip-Hop isn’t how they see him, but it is how I see him and continuing to build my bond with him. Hip-Hop loves me on my sad days, he is my listening ear when I’m angry, he is a a confidece booster to mu insecurities, and he is my outlet to express and purge my feelings. I may not like some of the facets that Hip-Hop has taken on with his degrading of women and uplifting of materialistic values, but when it comes to Hip-Hop and I, he is always what I need him to be.