Feature image by Señor Codo
I wanted to write this for the people who look at me weird when I talk about the group Gangstarr. With the recent passing of Hip Hop legend Guru, I remember talking to some young people about the music, and they looked at me like they had no idea. I remember having a blank look on my face, and then I had to catch myself and come back to earth. The young people who are listening to Hip Hop (or what most people call Rap) have no clue about the history and the culture of Hip Hop. They only see the money, the cars, the clothes, the many women that we all see in the videos. I think that most of us, the people my age or older who are considered “The Hip Hop Generation” have not done a good job in carrying on the tradition, teaching the new breed about why Hip Hop is more than just music. It is a lifestyle. It is a movement.
At the church I go to I have two little brothers. I won’t give out their names, but they look at me as a big brother. I call them my brothers, and I look out for them. One of my little brothers is a huge fan of Lil Wayne. I remember that Lil Wayne goes around calling himself “The Greatest Rapper Alive” so now you got a new generation of rap fans who really think that Lil Wayne deserves that title. I personally don’t think that he is the Greatest Rapper Alive. I stick to my statement, because I’m so Hip Hop, and I’ve been in the culture that I believe that there are so many emcees that are way better than Wayne. I tell him this, but I also give him names of people I listen to. He likes some of the rappers I talk about, but I think his flavor is still Weezy, and that’s okay with me. I don’t want to change his mind, I just want him to see and hear the many things that other emcees or rappers say, and that there’s more than just the typical.
This is how far we’ve gotten in this thing we call Hip Hop. Now my little brother can understand why I don’t like some of the music that comes out now. Him and my other little brother tell me about other artists. If you tell other people who are fans of these artists that you think they’re super weak, they call you a “Hater.” This doesn’t make sense to me, because I’m from a time where you could call somebody trash, and it was cool. I even remember one of my friends telling me that KRS-ONE threw someone off stage, just because at the time, he thought that person was whack. Later on he apologized for it. Think about how far we’ve come. As a Hip Hop artist you shouldn’t have to apologize, because you speak from the heart on a lot of things.
Now I feel like a rapper saying, “Now let’s get back to these emcees.” I always wanted to say that. Well, since I’m a rapper myself (Megastarr) I do like some of the artist that are out now. I Like B.O.B., Drake, Charles Hamilton, Anton Genius, and some other artists that live here in Chicago. There are artists that are trying to make it out there, but can they? I say that because you never hear the music, and that’s another problem with the whole hip hop divide. What is that problem? The Radio.
My beef that I have with the radio is this: they only play what the program directors want them to. I not only hear the B.O.B. song with Bruno Mars a lot on urban stations, but I hear the Black Eyed Peas too, which trips me out because I never thought they would play Black Eyed Peas like that. Even with that it seems like the radio is either flooded with songs from Lil Wayne, Drake, Jeezy, or anybody who fits today’s mold of “Hot Rappers.” When I was growing up and really started getting into Hip Hop, there was a balance with the music. I could hear an OutKast song, Ice Cube, then Eightball & MJG. There was a mix, but now you really don’t hear that unless you have satellite radio or Internet Radio.
I truly believe that in the end there has to be some changes that go on with the music of Hip Hop. I think more people need to be exposed to more than just what you hear on the station run by Clear Channel. I would love for young people to be exposed to the music I hear on the daily, just like I’m exposed to listening to the music that I hear everyday on FM radio. I don’t think we can be mad if the youth doesn’t know the history of Hip Hop. It is up to us to teach them. Hip Hop has always been about Edutainment. That was the name of a KRS-ONE’s album. We have to Educate as well as Entertain. Do we live up to it? Well have to wait and see…