This week is Hip Hop Appreciation Week. Hip Hop Appreciation Week was established in 2001 by the Bronx Borough President designating every third week in May to celebrate the culture. The declaration states that Hip Hop originated in the Bronx as a lifestyle developed with the purpose of ensuring health, love, awareness, and wealth for ourselves and our children’s children forever.
That was only fourteen years ago and Hip Hop has taken great steps forward and several steps back since then. The lack of respect for the culture is what gets me. Hip Hop created a new career path for a lot of us that would be otherwise in jail/prison, dead, or dead in a job where you’re unhappy. Some of the young newcomers are just so eager and enthusiastic that they forget why they wanted to contribute to the culture in the first place and all they see is dollar signs. Granted some of the dollar signs aren’t as big as they or some of us might think but anything is a come up coming from nothing. But where’s the humility in it all? Some get to the top and forget they were ever at the bottom when the bottom made you who you are today. All life experiences good, bad, or indifferent contribute to the person you are at that very moment. So all the Rap music I listened to over my ____years (LOL) made me who I am which is why I have the views on Rap music and Hip Hop that I have today and the same goes for Rappers, DJs, graffiti writers, breakers, producers, executives; everybody. They looked up to someone who was doing what they wanted to do, a role model in the industry. Diddy had Andre, Eminem has Dre, MC Lyte had Latifah I mean the list goes on and on.
So where are those values, humility, and appreciation now? I don’t hear it in the music. I don’t see it in the videos. I don’t see it anywhere. Now you all know I’m not talking about every Rapper out there but I’m talking about the majority. The Rappers on the radio. If you’ve been following my blogs for the eighteen months I’ve been writing than you know who I’m talking about and you know I rarely listen to the radio if at all during certain times only. So you mean to tell me you got ‘famous’ and forgot Rakim was your favorite Rapper? I can tell you right now you let Ra down. You let Nas down, you let Biggie and Pac down! You let ME down! Your city might be hype but you ain’t the (wo)man in your city. They’re just happy to see a familiar face on the small screen and by small screen I mean your cell phone. MTV, BET, VH1 none of them play music videos. Is it because the videos are too vulgar? No. No respect or appreciation for our culture.
We gets no love. Not from anyone outside of Hip Hop and clearly not from anyone within the culture. If anyone really cared or appreciated Hip Hop than you would sit these young ones down and teach them the direction they should go instead of trying to capitalize or manipulate them for your personal gain. There are some people who will milk a hot single to death or do a million dope features while their own track is garbage. Some people hang around others living vicariously through them or in their shadow completely and that only builds envy and jealousy. Hip Hop Appreciation Week was not designed to have us undercutting each other but to come together to bring our people out of poverty and hopelessness. But nobody wants to be that person because it requires you to be honest with yourself and who you are as a person. You have to humble yourself and nobody is willing to do that.