As February comes to a close many people are preparing for Lent. I don’t usually use religious references but I think this will help drive home the point of this particular piece. Many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain luxuries or material things beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 1st, 2017, lasting for six weeks up until Easter Sunday, April 13th, 2017. Some luxuries include not eating meat, drinking only water, daily religious devotionals, prayer, and so on. Religion has always been present in Hip Hop Culture. The early years of Rap music found emcees like Rakim Allah and groups like X-Clan. Be they Muslim, NGOE, Moorish, or Jewish Rap music is no stranger to religion. However if all of us just participate in a Rap Fast it may be beneficial to the culture.
For forty to forty-six days we could take that time and really devote it to the culture. We won’t be praying to the “Hip Hop God(s)” but just say a prayer for those who came before us and laid the groundwork for the culture. Emcees for yesteryear may not have been afforded the luxuries that a lot of Rappers who came in later were able to secure. If you’re an atheist this may not be something you’d participate in but that does not stop you from engaging in the elements of Hip Hop Culture for six weeks. There is much history to be learned by our young people and that should be passed on by our elders or the old heads. Take the six weeks to obsess over vinyl instead of sneakers and feel the emotions of a crate digger either finding that holy grail or losing the “Pakoussa”. Take the time out to learn about writing with aerosol cans and practice your graffiti writing. Learn the different caps and how to use them. Teach yourself a basic dee jaying technique. You can find tutorials from Grandmaster Roc Raida himself on YouTube! In the beginning of the Hip Hop era everyone was self-taught and they had less to work with than a lot of us.
Do you know how to breakdance? Can you identify the various moves by name? There are books that you can read and documentaries you can watch. It’s not enough to just immerse yourself into the culture but you must also rid yourself of the bad stuff too. It’s about cleansing, refreshing, and being more aware or woke and you cannot do that listening to radio Rap. Reduce how much radio you listen to and know when your favorite dee jay is actually mixing on-air. Take the time out to study Hip Hop and the elements so that when Lent is over you have a better understanding and a deeper relationship with the culture resulting in us becoming more appreciative of the culture. In the grand scheme of things this will reduce the amount of bad Rap and all the isms that come with it. Lent is about sacrificing for the greater good and for Hip Hop Culture we need to sacrifice for a greater hood.