15 February 2008
Is Hip Hop Dead???
I can still recall the first hip hop album I listened to. It was Reasonable Doubt by Jay Z. I remember how I instantly fell in love with the lyrics. I hadn’t heard anything like it before, primarily because I only listened to R&B and some watered down rap music. The lyrics were hard hitting. They meant something. I could his hunger through the speakers as he rapped his song entitled “Can I Live” which said “Well we hustle out of a sense of, hopelessness/Sort of a desperation/Through that desperation, we 'come addicted/Sorta like the fiends we accustomed to servin” (3-6). I also remember how my older brother looked at me like I was an idiot because I was listening to an album that had come out in 1996, in 2001. He didn’t quite understand the difference between rap and hip hop music; but I saw the difference right away. Hip hop means something. Rap is just a good beat to dance to. On that day, I fell in love with hip hop. It seems as if I was introduced into the entire hip hop culture at the same time. I began to listen to a lot more of the music and pay a lot more attention to the fashion and history of this culture. It was like the music was the gateway to the culture. That’s why when Nas said that hip hop was dead, I totally understood what he meant. The lyrics of one of Nas’s singles say “Everybody sound the same, commercialize the game / Reminiscin' when it wasn't all business / They forgot where it started / So we all gather here for the dearly departed.” Nas took the statement even further by naming his entire album “Hip Hop Is Dead”. This small statement stirred up a lot of controversy. Although his claim was long awaited by some, it had come as a surprise to others. Some perceived it as just another one of the many shots to the up and coming (more specifically southern) rappers. Others took it as a warning to the entire industry. However, a few people took the statement...
Cited: Christian, Margena A. “ Has Hip Hop Taken A Beatdown or Is It Just Growing Up”. JET. 9 April 2007: 54-56, 58-59
Dyson, Michael Eric. “Is Hip Hop Dead? ‘Hip Hop Is Alive…and Vital” Ebony. June
2007: p 60
Jay Z. “Can I Live”. Reasonable Doubt. Roc-A-Fella Records. 25 June 1996
Powell, Kevin. “Is Hip Hop Dead? ‘Hip Hop Culture Had Been Murdered”. Ebony. 2007
June: p 61
West, Kanye. “Everything I Am”. Graduation. Roc-A-Fella Records. 11 Sep. 2007
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