How I Fell In Love With H.E.R.
"People talk about Hip-Hop like it's some giant livin in the hillside comin down to visit the townspeople. We are Hip Hop." - Mos Def
You know you’ve heard this story before yet you’re compelled to listen to it again. You’re certain you know the plot so well that you can accurately predict its ending. Bing! That seems to be the theme of today’s Hip Hop assertions. But, before you activate your depressive “Hip Hop sucks” persona, savor the good news because it‘s not what you think it is. Once upon a time everyone who was lucky enough to walk beside Hip Hop in the alley, sit next to Her in class and hear Her sensational whisper in both ears, cherished the culture like a tall glass of ice-cold water in the summer. Good or bad, memories are all we have left from that era.
Pick any music fan 18 and older and inquire about their earliest memory of Rap music. That simple question is likely to elicit claims of being in tune with some of the most prolific MC’s from the 90’s era.
“I grew up listening to Eric B & Rakim” and “Das EFX and EPMD was the shit back then”. There are many things wrong with such structured responses, but I’m only interested in one. The fact that it’s structured. You can perceive me as utterly self-righteous if you wish, but I don’t have to please the next person by modifying the truth about my choice in Hip Hop or lack of one. (Back then, Lt. Gen. Radio dictated to music listeners most of the time).
Although, A Tribe Called Quest’s masterpiece Low End Theory is blasting through my stereo as I write this, I only became acquainted with their unique music in the late 90’s. Naughty By Nature, Heavy D and the Boys, and Fresh Prince controlled the airwaves in ‘my time’. I remember standing in front of our box-like black and white TV watching rap videos for hours. It was much more pleasurable mainly because I had no sense of urgency as a child. I always wondered why everyone else was in such a hurry. Fools! They went about every task with the ferocity of 100-meter sprinters at the Olympics, and missed out on the plush entertainment right in front of their ears and eyes. More essential than that sense of relaxation, was the sonic inducement Hip Hop imbibed in me. The drums reached out from the speakers, grabbed my head and bopped it rhythmically; the lyrics, though 'meaningless', possessed an infectious melody that weaved itself into my 10 year old mind forever, and the dress code was shiny and hip in my child’s eye view(keep in mind that this was way before Jesus Piece made a forceful ascension to our necks).
I still love Her but now that ‘they” have taught Her to be more materialistic, She’d rather ride in an H2 Hummer than walk beside me in the alley. She doesn’t like to sit next to me in class anymore, because she prefers a more exclusive seat at the awards show. Much more significantly, her sensational whispers have been contorted into borrowed lines and gibberish. Oh how I miss Her.
Video of The Day:
The Corner(Live Performance) - Common (*props to P.F.P.)
Throwback Joint of The Day: