If you follow us on social media you know that we went to Washington D.C. this past weekend to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Wild Style, the first Hip Hop movie. After coming home and talking to my mother about the experience of meeting Chief Rocka Busy Bee, having Grandmaster Caz wish me a happy birthday, and getting Fab 5 Freddy’s autograph she told me none of those names rang a bell for her. Now I’m almost to the date, 1 year younger than the film itself and my mother’s a little older than all of the stars in the film. It was weird to me but then I remembered, there was no Hip Hop or Rap music on the radio. My aunt who is younger than my mother didn’t know about the film but she was quick to tell me she knew Craig Mack (R.I.P.). Despite my mother growing up in a rural area of Virginia she was still “in the mix” but if there was no Hip Hop/Rap music on the radio or on television there was no way for anyone outside of New York to know what was going on in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem, or any of the other burroughs.
Unless you had a cousin or someone to record a party or buy a tape from Herc or another DJ and mail it to you, you didn’t know about Hip Hop Culture. For some of our parents if you played the instrumental for Total’s “Can’t You See” featuring The Notorious B.I.G. they might not like how Rich Travali sampled the original James Brown record. We have been going in on the younger generation for not knowing their Hip Hop history or studying the culture when we need to send our parents back to school too! Some of these young people need to be in class with their parents and/or grandparents. Adult education is just as important as educating the youth. Hip Hop touches pretty much everything we see or do around the globe so to have one of my elders or an adult that I respect and love lack knowledge in something that effects their life makes me a little sad because I want my mom to enjoy the culture with me. Now my dad on the other hand knows what Hip Hop/Rap music he does and doesn’t like based on his own taste in music.
Being that my father is younger than my mother and has a military background it’s possible that he learned about some Hip Hop/Rap songs from the other men in his company. If you did not engage with people from other places your interactions with the culture were few and far in between if any at all! For my young people reading this, there weren’t computers in the home in the sixties. The internet was literally just being developed so it wasn’t in the hands of regular folks like us so there weren’t tablets or cell phones. Just because someone is older than you doesn’t mean they have knowledge in every aspect of life. There’s always room to learn and grow even within the culture of Hip Hop.
“For the next six hours I tried to explain to my Mom that I was gonna have to go through this about 200 more times.” – The Fresh Prince