By WILLIE WAZE
The words within this quote SHOULD reign as true as they did during Hip Hop’s conception, but my generation has…for lack of a better word…”shit twisted.” We aren’t fully to blame, though. After all, we were bombarded with “Hip Hop is Dead” propaganda at ages where naivety was a mainstay. Even if that shit was in fact true, what good was it to declare the shit and then try to shun those who weren’t (and I quote) “staying true” to it? In my opinion, that whole “shituation” (as I would call it) sparked mass confusion and chaos amongst the rap game and the remains are still around to this day.
When asked how I feel about Hip Hop at that moment I immediately draw a blank followed by an influx of incomplete thoughts that lead nowhere fast. I say this as a true believer in the 4 element creation (Djing, BBoying, MCing and Graffit Art) that graced us with its undeniable presence in the 70’s in an area better known as “The Boogie Down Bronx.” At this time Hip Hop was at its purest and in no way manufactured for mass consumption. However, as MCing became the focal point of the culture, it completely eclipsed the other 3 elements. For “The New Hip Hop Generation,” the internet serves as an artificial matrix for which Hip Hop will only PARTIALLY exist until the end of time. Your presence on the web can turn you into an overnight success without even having to meet anyone face to face.
This has led to the epitome of independence for artists everywhere. The need for a new MC to sign with a major label is almost non-existent, unless they are talented and just straight up lazy. Rap’s profitability has been both a blessing and a curse to Hip Hop. On one hand, you can make money easier than ever before, but on the other hand, what forces new participants from viewing Rap as just another hustle? A means of making cash all the while remaining emotionally semi-disconnected throughout the whole ride. In my opinion, Hip Hop will never die. However, it will never be as alive as it once was if we don’t find a way to bring all of its elements back in unison. This is a culture. A culture once made up of humility, honor and resource minimalism. Now made up of social networks, reality shows and the glorification of self-destructive behavior.
As a rapper of more than 10 years, I pride myself in knowing as much about my craft as I can, both past and present. However you know it’s a sad time when fellow rappers can tell me who all the people in “Love and Hip Hop” are, but can’t tell me all of the members in RUN DMC (seriously). Dudes younger than me can tell me all about Nicky Barnes, Wayne Perry and Alpo…but nothing about the history of this profession that they are trying to participate in. Yes, it truly is a peculiar time for Hip Hop and the world, but through all of the obvious BS even I can see that it isn’t all bad.
Independence is at an all-time high and the mainstream music scene has seen an increase in lyricism in recent years. If things continue at the pace they are at now I really have no idea where Hip Hop will be in the midst of its identity/mid-life crisis. All I do know is that I and my counterparts will continue to do what we can to bring back the essence. Peace.
Knowledge the Premiere coverage on WAZE & the new freestyle for his #MainstreamMayhem series:
“Where I’m Coming” single review HERE
Early Certainty 1.7 Segatendo Era Mixtape Review HERE