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  Afro Roots

hip-hop (10K)Lost Roots
By Jasmine McGee

Krs-1, Dead Prez, Run DMC, Jurassic 5 and Mos Def, some of the Godfathers of hip-hop. What happened to the days of true hip-hop? I'm talking about the days, when people rapped about political and social issues. Hip- hop in our present society is filled with overused clichés. Rappers usually talk about getting money, women, or murder, it's rare to hear social challenges addressed.

Some of the daily issues faced in today's society are being presented in the music, but a solution isn't presented as well. Its one thing to talk about the problem, but it's more effective to intellectually address the problems with solutions. Most of the teenagers in society haven't really studied the history of the music they love so much called "hip-hop". Coming from an artistic family, my musical roots go back to the old school days.

My mother has raised me on the purity of old school R&B, jazz, and hip-hop. I remember when I was in elementary school; I would be riding with my mom on the way to school. She would turn on the radio to the old school station and quiz my knowledge on the voices I heard. I would spit them out without any hesitation. My musical foundation began with learning to appreciate and understand the old school. Shortly while after, I took the liberty of learning the history of hip-hop.

A Jamaican DJ known as Kool Herc started hip-hop in the early 70's. He moved to New York and began throwing parties. Soon thereafter another pioneer by the named of Afrika Bambaataa came onto the hip-hop scene. He wanted hip-hop to be a positive revolution and created "Zulu Nation". The members of Zulu Nation consisted of socially and politically aware rappers, b-boys (break dancers), graffiti artists, and others involved in hip-hop culture.

Still till this day, Zulu Nation represents the true meaning of hip-hop. There is a lot of hip-hop artist out there that addresses the social issues, but they aren't in the public eye much. Artists like Dead Prez, Jurassic 5, Mos Def, Alchemist, and Talib Kweli, just to name a few, are considered real hip-hop. Their music isn't commercialized like a majority of the artist out nowadays.

Rappers such as Lil Wayne, 50 cent, Birdman, Mike Jones, and Yung joc are considered commercial hip-hop. They continuously rap about money, woman, and gang life, but don't talk about logical solutions to the problems they face.

A lot of the key points I am touching base o, can be heard in one of Dead Prez' Songs entitled "Hip Hop". This song confronts the downfalls of the hip-hop images and the negative images of women being exploited and how racism still exists in society, but people are blind to it. Dead Prez are a few of the rappers that aren't afraid to speak their mind on what happens in society. Yes, like many other rappers they talk about the struggles in life, but they intellectually analyze them.

The art form of true hip-hop has faded out of the limelight and is considered underground hip-hop. If more people knew and understood the history of hip-hop, I feel that would change what is shown in the media. Society has been accustomed to commercial hip-hop and needs to explore the possibilities that there is something else out there.

If you want to hear about the struggle, and find a solution, then check out the underground hip-hop scene. If you want to feed your intellectual urban senses, then artists like Dead Prez, Jurassic 5, Prodigy, 9th Wonder, Asheru, and Mos Def should fill up your ipod

© Apr. 2009 By Afromerica || [TOP]


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