Reconnect. Reeducate. Retain. Rebuild. Today is the first day of Hip Hop History Month for 2017 and these are the things we need to do in order to bridge the gap between the current generation and the Hip Hop heads that came before them. Every year I write these pieces directly addressing the culture and what we can do to maintain the integrity of the culture and through our regular pieces I try to discuss issues that pose a threat to the culture. We have to reconnect with the youth through mentoring and supporting their dreams and reinforcing their self-worth, simply respect them as a young person. Reconnecting goes both ways young Hip Hop heads! Don’t discredit Rappers who’ve made Hip Hop History because you’re trying to follow in their footsteps. Respecting your elders is a learned “social norm” that was lost when a lot of fathers went to jail and a lot of mothers may have been on drugs. Listening instead of talking can go a long way on both sides. Listen to what the other side has to say and when you listen don’t listen with the intent to respond. Listen for the intent of understanding.
Once the generation gap has closed and the rapport has been reestablished that allows for each side to inform and educate each other about their favorite artists or those who command a certain level of respect and why we don’t disrespect certain emcees regardless of their shortcomings (unless there are crimes of a sexual nature or an unjust homicide). We’ve dealt with DMX and his personal issues from the beginning and we hold X in the highest regard because of his contributions to the culture which is why the DMX slander is very minimal. Take time out to listen to certain artists but don’t rush to judgment either. Once we’ve been reeducated we must retain what we’ve learned. Young Hip Hop heads you must remember lyrics, be able to recall the title of Biggie’s first album, and just have common Hip Hop knowledge! Find out who Nore was before Drink Champs. Find out who Flavor Flav was before VH1. Find out who LL Cool J was before CSI. Even Bow Wow was the man at one point, respect it!
After we’ve retained the knowledge we can rebuild the culture as a whole, together. Once we start bridging the gap the culture will begin to rebuild itself immediately. We cannot allow outside forces like the industry and social media dictate to us what Hip Hop Culture really is. They didn’t create the culture, we did forty-four years ago. We cannot put our energy into every tweet Trump posts, we cannot be sad for every bombing as if our country is guilt free, and we cannot become outraged every time a young new rapper says something if they don’t have the knowledge! You can’t expect your child to know how to wash dishes if he’s been eating off of paper plates his entire life. Throwing out forty-five songs on an album is the same as releasing a bunch of singles or a mixtape right before a project drops. Over saturation kills the game because Hip Hop music is supposed to leave the listener salivating for more. Hip Hop music is still relatively young but I’m salivating for more of the culture.
“It was all about peace and harmony at that point. And then crack came out.” –Marley Marl (Hip Hop History #4)