"Lord don't take my heart, Lord don't take my soul, Lord don't let them take Hip Hop like they took Rock and Roll" --David Banner, Elvis
For the past few years, I've often marveled at how influential Hip Hop has been in this stage play I call my life. Hip hop taught me how to speak, how to dress, who are my friends and family were and who my enemies were. It influenced just about every thought, idea, and emotion I had ever since I picked up the 2nd Fat Boys tape Christmas of '85. Hip Hop was my religion, MC's were gods, verses were biblical, parties and clubs were church, and conversations with other Hip Hop heads were prayers. Hip Hop was my politics, growing up in the burbs kept me protected from the horrors of the inner city and the violence of the streets. However, Hip Hop gave me a first hand look at how some of my people were living and being treated by the government that was trying to convince us on the nightly news that they actually cared. I vividly remember movies like Rappin, Breakin I, II, Crush Groove, Belly, Above The Rim, Boyz N The Hood, Menace II Society, New Jack City, Juice, Friday, House Party, Beat Street, and Wild Style. All gave a visual from the perspective of Hip Hop, and it literally blew my mind grabbed my soul and possessed me. I can remember walking into my first school dance, 6th grade in Fredericksburg, VA. I was introduced to Gogo, and more Hip Hop than I knew existed. I was taught how to dance, I was taught how to dress, I was taught hip hop slang. I loved it all, I ate it all up and tried to become the personification of Hip Hop. I had at least 50 pairs of Nikes, tried to find the dopest Cross Colours, or Get Used jeans, or tie dye outfit, or Timbs, or Starter Jacket...if it was Hip Hop, I wanted it. All of this because of a culture that included music, art, sports, fashion, and love inspired by people that looked like me. A culture that literally defined me and my world until late 2000's when I feel it started to be given away. From the mid 90's Hip Hop was literally the dominate culture, no other culture existed without some form of influence from Hip Hop. It was a gift and curse! The gift was the world was privy to "me", the curse was the outsiders didn't see me, they saw dollar signs. It slowly became exploited, so much so, that the newcomers to the culture started selling it for 15 mins of fame and a quick paycheck. Now it's being given away from 5 mins of fame and even smaller paychecks. My culture is being stolen, reminiscent of how the culture of Kemet was stolen.
Kemet, the original Egypt our original culture. A culture based on music, science, sports, spirituality, love, and fashion. Music was played during sporting events, schooling, spiritual events, and just day to day activities. Kemet, meaning Black Land was literally a land of my people that were just as affected by the music of their day as I was to the music of my day. The culture taught the people how to think, how to dress, how to love...it told stories, it was used to celebrate life and death, it prepared warriors for war, and brides for marriage. The prophets of the day were the ones that possessed the understanding of the culture through the music, science, and spirituality and they disseminated that understanding through lyrics, and arts. The culture defined the times, so much so, that other civilizations came to Kemet to learn about the culture in effort to create their own. As those civilizations grew stronger, they slowly stole the culture from Kemet, used it to create their own and eventually stole the people.
Most music, sports, and religions from around the world can be traced back to Kemet and it's culture. Once the culture was successfully stolen, the people perished. I'm really hoping that we don't allow Hip Hop to be completely stolen, because history proves that once the culture is gone, the people soon follow.