Let me first acknowledge the supreme creative force of the universe. All manifestations of this divine spark is the beginning, of which HIP HOP is another expression.
HIP HOP, in its perfect state, is an idea. A shared idea, which those in HIP HOP instinctively respond to as HIP HOP.
If we break up the component parts of The WORD we call HIP HOP we get
HIP: “Means to know it’s a form of intelligence to be Hip means to be update and relevant”. This goes back to HIP HOP being an idea. A shared idea that we, who are HIP HOP, KNOW.
HOP: “is a form of movement. You can’t just observe a hop; you gotta hop up and do it.” This speaks to the expression of HIP HOP.
Knowledge and Expression are the fundamental keys to experiencing HIP HOP. I like to say, “If it’s not intelligent or not moving us any where it’s not HIP HOP”…
WE, as a people called Hiphoppas, carry a legacy that is ancient. Rap or expression of the spoken word has always been with us. We can look at the African Griot on down to the Last Poets to evidence the power of the Spoken Word in the form of Rap/emceeing.
We have always had those who could use the spoken word in a way to reach the community. The word was used to inspire all kinds of emotions. Some pleasant and peaceful, like Lauren Hill’s “Sweetest Thing”. Other works in history are more violent and militant like Francis Scott Key’s “A star spangled banner”. And some deal with relationships like Sheakspear’s “A Taming of the Shrew”..
All are expressions of the Spoken Word but only “Sweetest Thing” is HIP HOP. This is because HIP HOP is not measured by what you do but how you do it.
This not only speaks to expression of the spoken word called Rap but equally to the other basic elements of HIP HOP. Much too often we stay focused on Rap exclusively as HIP HOP when only the hip hop expression of Rap is a component part of HIP HOP (note small h for adj and capital H for noun/idea).
The complete list of the basic elements of HIP HOP are:
The Knowledge element I have listed as last but we could easily consider this first.
The Amen Ra of HIP HOP aka Africa Bamabatta came into the Knowledge of HIP HOP after a trip to South Africa where he was inspired by a Zulu Chief to create a movement powerful enough to unify our people. At this time the divisiveness of gang culture was ravaging the South Bronx much like every major city at that time. Through Bam’s work back at home in The Bronx New York, HIP HOP was given texture by unifying all the cultural expressions our community had to offer. But the Knowledge or IDEA of something better than what was being offered to our people is what spurned Africa Bambatta to move or HOP to create what is HIP.
“Street Knowledge is the accumulation of HIP HOP’s cultural self awareness.” KRS ONE’s Gospel of HIPHOP pg122
Self Awareness is what enables the Hiphoppa to see themselves as HIP HOP. To see themselves as something uniquely and distinctly different from others. HIP HOP seeks to incorporate unlimited understanding and expression in order for HIP HOP to grow and move..
I received an education regarding what was HIP HOP and what was not HIP HOP in 1995 while on the road in Cleveland, Ohio looking for a “HIP HOP” party. I was told that we could go to a “gangsta” party or go to a “HIP HOP” party. That is when I first realized that HIP HOP was distinctly different than Gangsta culture. Though there has been a merger of the two, “Gangsta” as a culture is not HIP HOP. The knowledge and expression of gangsterism can be delivered in a HIP HOP form but the two are not synonymous. To reiterate, HIP HOP is not what you do but how you do it.
HIP HOP is how we as hiphoppas were able to live life during the last 30-40 years… All Praises Due to the CREATOR for allowing us to tap into The Great HE/SHE. This tapping in is what gives us access to HIP HOP… This is what is meant by the current slang term “going in”… To go into ones self to release the god force energy in its form called HIP HOP.
HIP HOP, as it is expressed, equates to what the 5% Nation of Gods and Earth’s call Culture Freedom. Culture Freedom is what occurs when a people are able to independently create. When they have the ability to freely express the god force from within. Conversely, since 1990/91 most of what has been sold as HIP HOP is not.
It is the corporate package, the” Rapping”. It is RAP music. This RAP music is the cover on a book and you know you are never supposed to judge a book by its cover.
The Recorded Music Industry is and has always been in the business of selling NOTHING. Record Labels sell plastic. This plastic has no functional use whatsoever. It adds nothing to society. The music recorded on the plastic is there to promote the product.
The music is “intellectual property” the value of which is determined by “publishing rights” and not the mechanical sale/distribution of the record itself. You don’t need the plastic in order to sing the song. This is clearly understood by studying the fall of the major Record Labels due to the digital revolution. The sale of recorded music is predicated on Marketing and Promotions or what can be called brain washing.
More money is spent on marketing and promotion budgets than on Artist Development, which for the most part is a lost art form.
In this type of paradigm mediocrity is elevated because it is cheap to create thus having more resources to grease relationships at the MEDIA outlets. The masses or” market” can only support that which it is aware of. Music or art that can possibly educate the market is filtered or blocked from mainstream access.
The messages we are getting from the Corporate Rap Music business are meant to perpetuate and reinforce the value/moral structure of the group that controls these corporate instruments. These individuals are not Hip Hop. They are not from the neighborhoods that create HIP HOP and surely do not work for the best interest of HIP HOP or its community.
The corporate institution’s #1 and only focus is profit and greater profit with the least amount of investment is ideal. The profits that come from CAPITALIZING off of the community do not get recycled back into that COMMUNITY.
The power of RAP music, as a tool for our oppression, lies in the manipulation of beat and rhythm. Having simple phrases repeated over and over on top of monotonous drum loops assist in hypnotizing the masses. Thus, “The 85%” are dancers to a beat not of their own drum. We, as an uneducated market, are being manipulated and lead to our own demise. The tools of our enslavement look sound and act so familiar that it makes identifying the source of our oppression much more difficult. We become slave catcher, task master, overseer and whip cracker but never plantation owner and definitely not freedom fighter. The system will never free its slaves. When the slaves decide to revolt we look to our oppressor for consent. Since this is a war for your mind, The Revolution is one of reclaiming ones own mind then possibly we can reclaim HIP HOP.
Verse from “Crack and the Electric Chair”
I move through a cypher let me demonstrate, God starts at 7 then we make an 8.
To build what is righteous the devil knows his fate, at 9 we born again so the cypher elevates.
The key is the knowledge it’s wise to go to college but understanding is the best part and why we pay homage thru the culture of HIP HOP we remain free to express ourselves with power and share equality.
God starts at 7 then we make an 8
To build what is righteous the devil knows his fate
At 9 we born again so the so the cypher elevates. Pardon self if this too much to contemplate.
It’s all simple math not the kind you learn in class
Cash don’t make the man, the man makes the cash.
It’s just a little jewel my OG used to drop
‘Bout the time I found out Jewish people owned my block….
In addition to the above please consider the following lyrics of Hakim’s “Drop a Jewel”:
Since niggas like jewels I’m gon’ drop a jewel
Jews make the money
Niggas make like fools
The blind lead the blind, we all blinded by the shine
Badboys die like Biggie to live life like Shyne.
I aint gotta dis 50, 50 dissed himself,
Supportin George Bush like he aint got knowledge of himself.
Knowledge is wealth so I keep that thing upon the shelf.
Jacob makes ya freeze but the FED’s make ya melt.
Everybody want the belt, who wants the crown in New York?
Too many Puff Daddy niggas, that’s why the world is clowning New York.
They call me Negus The Most High, my Niggas be The Most High
We stay burnin’ Bush like Mt. Sinai.
Soldiers don’t cry and Gangsta don’t die
But when rappers get killed they go to the place where people lie.
85 uncivilized, 10% capitalize, 5 others realize HIP HOP is in disguise.
Part hustler, part drag queen the way we pimp the black Queen
The rap game full of bitches like a King Magazine.
Clips and magazines will make ya Caddy lean
That shit your father sniff will make ya Daddy lean.
Katrina’s act of God left niggas out to rob
Aint it deep how Willie Lynch be rollin’ like the mob.
Time to get up out that fog and put down that blunt.
You gotta protect what is yours and take what you want.
Now a day’s people don’t want the real HIP HOP.
They rather hear that shit meant to kill HIPHOP.
Who deal around the clock? Who’s ill will the glock? 10 years done past and you still on the block??
You still selling rock, servin fiends’ non stop?? You worst than a snitch, you deal for the cops!!! Niggas lay traps then scream trap or die, like all we got is that or we can stay black and die.
Or you can relax it wit the lie but the facts won’t lie.
Another rapper die everybody ask why..
Take some chump change, get yourself a chump chain, go juice some little crew and have’em pump Kane.
Or you can G off with the Rap but you gotta master that.Don’t try to drop no science you better of pumping Crack..
This excert written by Hakim Green is the foreward of Philip A. Muhammad’s book “WIllie Lynch’s Newest Slave”