Somewhere along the way I traded my shell-top Adidas for ballet flats. Switched my gold bamboo hoops for floral studs, and replaced my graffitti covered jansport for a Coach shoulder bag. I adored, and still adore hip-hop, but I can’t tell if I outgrew the culture, or if the culture became such a travesty I found other outlets. truthfully, I lean towards the latter. But it’s an awkward feeling for me. I dig blues, jazz, pop, even some country, but hip hop? Man I used to love her.
One of the most epic movie moments of my teenage life was going to see Brown Sugar. I got giddy seeing all my favorite artists in the intro and when Sanaa first asked the question, “when did you fall in love with hip hop?” I knew I wanted to be just like her character when I grew up. I had it all planned out, I’d work for The Source, then open my own magazine. But somewhere along the way, hip hop broke my heart. As I watched 2Chainz perform at the MTV VMA awards, hopping around like Sambo, yelling lyrics that make no sense and with a rhyme scheme that would shame any poet of the lowest intelligence, I thought to myself: Hmph, I’m almost over it. And by it, I mean my hip-hop-head days.
I loved Rawkus records above all else. Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monche, Common. Now granted, these dudes weren’t MTV VMA award show types, no. But Nas was, JAY-Z was, Eminem was. When I look at hip hop way back when even a good number of the mainstream artists were true artists.
But, they stopped being these true artists when The Roots decided they weren’t “sayin nuthin”, when Andre preferred the big screen to the studio, when Lauryn’s heart was broken. And now we’re left with promising after promising artist who, once put on, puts out. Cough Big Sean, cough Wiz Khalifa.
Now, Nicki Minaj? Granted I shake my butt to her music, but nothing about her would have bred the writer that I am today. And I am only this writer because of Kweli and his tellings of Assatta, of Lauryn and Common deciding against abortion, together, of the moment of clarity given by Jigga. But what are the future poets going to give the art of hip hop?
All my broads is foreign? Money tall like Jordan?
there’s a simile for ya!
So we’re back to 2 Chainz. Did you see it? Now when you go back and watch it compare him to the hip-hop guys on commercials like Reeses Puffs, or even the Non-smoking ads. The hyperbolic, nonsensical, idiotic charicature of hip-hop is tangible. Flashy. But sadly, and truthfully, all that glitters ain’t gold. And Gold/Platinum albums today? Well, all that sells ain’t worth five mics.