What In The World Happened to Hip-Hop?

Me w/Tracy Lee, Howard Homecoming 2010

Me w/Tracy Lee, Howard Homecoming 2010

The other day I was listening to my husbands high school reunion CD and while I happily bopped my head to the likes of Queen Latifah’s Ladies First and De La Soul’s Me, Myself and I- I had to ask myself- what in the world happened to hip-hop? I will show my age when I say this but here it goes- the first album (album, not CD) that I ever purchased was Run D MC’s sucker MC- I listened to that record until I knew every lyric and nuance of the song… Fast forward to my days at Howard U- the music of Notoroius BIG, and hell even the west coasts’ Snoop was in heavy rotation. You see the thing about this music is that it was lyrical- and told stories of people much like me who grew up with very little but were able to make it- by any means necessary; for me that meant having parents that sent me to magnet schools outside of my hood- they ensured I learned to the play the violin and when I got a little older and it became clear that I could outrun my male cousin- I had track. In any case; the music told stories of female empowerment, encouraged safe sex and yes sometimes it was gritty and raw, but more often than not it was music with a message. I remember when my HU friend Tracy Lee created the simple yet powerful Party Time and everyone would rush to the dance floor not only because we loved Tracy, but because he created music that made you wanna dance. Fast forward to today and I have to say beyond Kendrick Lamar- I have very little use for most of the music that is labeled *hip-hop* these days. Most of it is likely only taking strippers to the poll versus prompting anyone to run to the dance floor. I will readily admit- I often have to google half the shit that’s said in music nowadays…. If it weren’t for Lamar, I would chalk my general distaste for the genre to me just getting old- but hip-hop and it’s originators have grown up yet somehow the way that was paved for this generation hasn’t produced anyone who can generally claim the crown as the King/Queen of hip-hop. I won’t give up hope- perhaps the next BIG is in the studio spitting fire and preparing to take over the crown.

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