I won’t hold you. I didn’t think writing about Hip-Hop was needed anymore. I thought that this platform much like the hype around the blog era was meant to fizzle out and die. But with so many rapper deaths, unnecessary antics, clout chasing and the obvious attack on black people making money through true art and culture; How could I stop now? Now more than ever is the perfect time to speak. So we’re doing just that. BehindTheRhyme.com is back to make a louder statement than ever before.
With that being said, much like “Petty” and “Classic” we have now used, abused, oversaturated and underwhelmed the word, “Culture” and the madness has to stop right here. A lot of what people are calling “Culture” is nothing more than corporate fueled black exploitation and it’s mixing the message on what hip-hop is. So let’s be clear and detail it out right now.
Hip-Hop was built on 5 Elements:
- Breakin’ (Dance)
- DJ’ing (DEE-JAY)
- Graffiti (Taggin’/Art),
- Emcee’ing (Rap and Party Rocking on the mic)
- Knowledge (Knowing yourself and Educating yourself on the world you’re in)
That’s the core of Hip-Hop Culture. There is no debating that. The 6th element would be rooted in style of dress and fashion but when we say that, We talking Adidas, Cross Colors, Karl Kani, Dapper Dan and even though Jim Jones feels differently, Phat Farm, Sean John and Rocawear. Why? Because the people who created them were raised by the culture of Hip-Hop. I know I left some brands out, because I wore British Knights as a kid. But you understand where I’m coming from with this.
With Rap Music now being in the forefront of the Billion Dollar Music Industry, we have too many people assigning culture to a lot of the wrong shit. Kendrick Lamar spoke on it in “The Heart 5” and I’m going to write it out for you and detail it in a different way.
Rap Music Business is creating rap music for the purpose of selling the good (your project) or service (you live show) and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you hop in cypher circles, grab the mic at a party or you just writing and recording for the love of expression and art; You’re repping hip-hop culture exclusively. Can you get money rapping and still rep the culture? Absolutely! But if you are only rapping because you see and want money; You’re not repping the culture.
Drug Use and Abuse ain’t Hip-Hop Culture: That’s Rap Music Business and Drug Culture. Its rap music business because artist are funded by labels to push a message of drug use and make it palatable with 808’s and melodies. Specifically talking about smoking weed here; Even Stoner Culture isn’t Hip-Hop Culture. No disrespect, it just isn’t. People in hip-hop are stoners, but you don’t have to be a stoner to be apart of hip-hop culture. Your knowledge of cannabis doesn’t make you a hip-hop head; Your knowledge of Canibus does. All this pills, lean, coke, crack, Fet and even every alcohol pushed for your dollar and mass consumption is not hip-hop culture. People in hip-hop have become moguls and have ventured into other industries and that’s okay. Remember I told you this; Everything willing to fund hip-hop ain’t hip-hop.
Wanting to be on Rolling Loud is Rap Music Business. Wanting to throw a Block Party to raise funds for a new store in the hood is Hip-Hop Culture. Rap music business is a tax write-off. Hip-Hop culture is done for the love and possibly with no paperwork.
Why am I making these distinctions? Because true culture should not be for sale. I know we are watching different from what I’m saying right now, but it’s the truth. Yeah, we are seeing our people being bought out, sold and even giving away “Culture” for cheap or for a price that they want to help them sleep at night, but it’s not right. I think we all wanted Hip-Hop to dominate and be this big beautiful thing, but the money and the greed has changed so much. Rappers are dying or killing people. People are using hate for attention. There’s criminal activity and addiction taking place and people are calling that Culture. Why is the destruction of the Black American being masked as culture?
On a more light hearted note; People think buying all the retro Jordans makes them apart of the Culture. We live in a world where an album drops at midnight, but if you tweet its Classic by 12:08 and you got the biggest following, you are considered a leader in the culture? Huh!? Are we for real with that?
Rap Music Business is ageism, sexism and exploitation for relevancy to a global audience. Hip-Hop Culture is timeless, genderless expression for the heart and the mind from yourself to the people of the culture.
Finally, We let too many white people google their way into hip-hop culture. Buying the exclusive vinyls, knowing all the Wu-Tang members and being “Pro Underground” doesn’t make you part of “The Culture”. That’s honestly no matter what color you are, but we let white people get so many passes for that. You’re not in the culture cause you read about it and you don’t think you should say the N word even if the rap song says it and you love the song. There is no Hip-Hop SAT test. You live culture. You don’t buy or study your way in. Me buy 20 tacos every Tuesday and owning a Frankie J album wouldn’t make me apart of Mexican Culture. Even if I knew all the words to the Spanish version of No Es Amore, I still wouldn’t be apart of their culture. I would be patron and supporter of their culture. That’s it. And I’m cool with that.
It’s starts with buying and googling the way in and then they’ll flip it into some crazy shit like inviting young black men on their radio show and tell them they’re not worthy of being in hip-hop and need to study because they never heard of Boot Camp Click. First of all white male who was invited here; Who are you to tell anybody black that they are not apart of something that Black People spearheaded in creation along with Latinos? And that ain’t for people like MC Serch, Eminem or Steve Rifkind. Because they haven’t been trying to play the role of “Hip-Hop Card Taker”. All of their contributions to hip-hop are cemented without the bullshit too. Just an observation.
Let’s get back to culture, man. We say we love it. Let’s really act like it. Let’s also start policing it. The true culture ain’t for sale or on clearance. Stop helping them sellout our culture. Even the ones that look just like us. Love.