"Is it the art imitating life, or life's architecture?" JuscallmeDon
I definitely came up in the Hip Hop era, that's the foundation to my story if you ask me! From the first time my homeboy Pete came to class spitting "Boyz N the Hood" by NWA, I was intrigued to say the least. I had just moved from the south suburbs of Illinois to the City of Chicago, and shit was different! Although Eazy E wasn't the first rapper I had heard, through Pete, he was the first one I really paid attention to. My people was listening to Marvin and them, so when I bought my first record, it was Kool & the Gang. Pete delivered Eazy's lines so cold, I swore those were his lyrics. From there, I discovered LL, Slick Rick, Kool Moe Dee, and Kane. I didn't return to NWA until the 100 Miles and Runnin LP. Of course since that time I've went back to the earlier albums... one of my best friends was a heavy DOC fan, so we rocked with him too, as well as Above the Law!
The pictures that they painted when they rhymed were as clear as if we had been watching a movie, and this was pretty much before video's had become the thing in rap. Around the same time, the Cosby Show had become real big, and I was in love with it like a lot of kids were. When I heard the criticism of the show, I didn't understand it. Some people felt like it was unrealistic that Blacks could be doing so well, but I knew everybody Black didn't live in poverty and have a fucked up life. Even if it had been the case, why hadn't it been an issue when we watched Arnold Schwarzenegger kill a thousand people and save the world in his movies, was that reality! I love The Cosby Show to this day because of the culture and values I was able to learn of watching the show. Why do we feel we can only have either or, instead of both or all, I don't know!
As of lately, many of us in the middle aged group have began complaining about only hearing one kind of rap, Drill Music, which supposedly started in Chicago by rappers like Chief Keef! On all coasts, hip hop has changed it's format from what it once was, and even those who were more gangster or what we called reality rappers seems to feel some kind of way about where it has gone now, citing that now everyone wants to be a killer, in the real since I might add, not just on the songs... But what did we expect when all the attention went to one particular style of rap!
From my perspective, these kids didn't have much of a choice when it came down to what style of rap they would gravitate to, and since the world follows the trend, the world has become exactly what the group The Geto Boyz said it was, a ghetto! It's not just a particular section, or neighborhood that has succumb to the lifestyle, the entire planet operates with a ghetto mentality. Don't get it twisted, I don't blame the Geto Boyz for what's happened, they are one of my favorite groups, but the raw uncut dope that they gave, as well as Pac, and NWA was too much for the world to handle. For those of us with parents, or someone we could trust to tell us right from wrong, we were able to break down the information and apply it, but for too many of us that didn't have those filters, they overdosed from the purity. What we now live in is a reality show, which just like the MTV show The Real World, which was scripted full of characters and bad actors, many in this show have went in the same direction, trading in their morals for 30 seconds of fame.
I may sound a little critical, but I'll be the first to point the blame at us, and have faith that in time things we'll become a little more diverse in the rap scene. Whether you call it Rap or Hip Hop, I feel that it's too precious for us to let it die. Just like the so called "Tree Huggers" invest and put together movements to save the planet, I believe that the OG's of the industry could put together a movement to save this thing of ours. In turn, a readjustment in Hip Hop will do more to save the planet than all the recycling movements ever created. We can never forget that real power belongs to the people, and that it's our responsibility to shape the reality that we manifest!