observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Hip Hop Nazi

The recent yet brief back and forth with one Lupe Fiasco on my blog, the swift chancellor report, last week has had my wheels turning.

As much as I realize I am fast becoming an old man in this game. I do not believe it is time to turn the reins over to arrogant youngsters under the guise of getting out of the way and being progressive.

As the saying goes 'those who don't learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat it.' Or something like that. A rapper who does not know who Tribe is one thing. To be aware of them and then decide to ignore them is foolhardy. This was the crux of the point I initially made. But as I get older and today’s Hip-Hop artists were not even born when groups like EPMD, Stetsasonic, Tribe, and De La were in their hey day there sprouts a growing divide between us and them. The new generation rightfully wants to make their own way and the older generation sensing their reign is over tries to hang on to their ownership of the culture. The result is tirades that really help no one. However, I essentially believe taking wild shots at a group like Tribe is dangerous to all on several levels. [for reference see Lupe’s interview with The Village Voice as blogged by Notes From A Different Kitchen]

Outside of the great music ATCQ has produced, as a businessman they are noteworthy for their record sales, tour grosses, the value of their publishing catalog and so on. You may not like them, but you must respect them. It is only in your best interest. And on a cultural and archival level isn’t it our duty to honor our elders lest the interlopers are allowed to write our history. As a fan and Hip-Hop egghead I ask these questions:

What would we think of a graf writer who dismissed TATS CRU?

A b-boy who dismissed Crazy Legs

A trumpeter who ignored Miles Davis

A center who never watched film of Bill Russell or George Mikan

An entrepreneur who never studied Russell Simmons

A sneaker designer who never owned or had a desire to own a pair of Jordans, shelltops, Stan Smiths, chucks or Revolutions

A producer who never bought a Primo or Dr. Dre produced album

A writer who knows nothing of James Baldwin, Herman Melville, Ralph Ellison, Isaac Asimov or Toni Morrison

A Hip-Hop video director who never saw a Hype Williams video

And on and on.

Maybe I am turning into a Hip-Hop Nazi [the evil cousin to the Jazz Nazi]. If that is the label I inherit, then so be it. (Queensbridge Tragedy is already the Arab Nazi, whatever the hell that means). I love Hip-Hop history. I love hearing stories of how it was so I can gain a better appreciation of how it is. So while young hipsters ironically think they are being cutting edge by rocking kicks that came out when I was in high school (don't forget kids Pharell is my age. Skateboarding in hip-hop is nothing new although y'all are making it your own. And The Pack looks like a cool ass 2006 Zhigge or a West Coast Lo Life Crew to me. ) I'll be the old fart capturing Ralph McDaniels’ oral history at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Now me living in a bubble of the 80's and 90's is just as silly as a 17 year old not knowing their history. The only way we move forward is if we dialogue. It's a new world out there today and if we don’t work together it will eat us alive.


Anonymous rafi said...

Spot on.

The worst part of his response about not owning any Tribe albums is is the "and I never will." Really doesn't sit well with me. Just not knowing is one thing but being willfully proudly ignorant is inexcusable.

He calls it "before his time" than gives a litany of artists he grew up with who are basically contemporaries of Tribe or who may have peaked 3 or 4 years after Tribe. It's not like we're talking about musicians from decades earlier.

By the way, in the same answer he says he's psyched about having some Chick Corea sample but ATCQ is before his time.... what the hell.

It Mek No Sense.

November 08, 2006 2:52 PM

Anonymous Artie Smash said...

Dialogue works so much better as a verb.

Nice writes, SC.

Our conversation with some little dunnies 6 years from now:
Us: You listen to hip-hop?
Them: Yeah.
Us: You heard of lupe?
Them: Who?
Us: Lupe?
Them: Nah, cousin. Sorry.

November 08, 2006 5:15 PM

Blogger Swifty said...

Artie, you mus be a fellow English major.

thanks for catching that

November 08, 2006 6:54 PM

Blogger ian said...

Lupe might be a bit confused but I wouldn't say he was "taking wild shots at a group like Tribe." I too was amazed that he hadn't heard/didn't want to hear or wasn't influenced by their music but it ain't the end of the world.

Anyway, I think I'd rather hear what someone like him, who seems to be cut from the same cloth as Tribe etc, but is "free" of that influence, comes up with fresh and new than hear some retread, throwback rap from artists who slavishly follow the native tongues, DITC, Pete Rock/Premo formula too faithfully. Of course somewhere in the middle is probably the best of all worlds but who knows?

November 09, 2006 2:12 AM


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