Monday, July 23, 2007

Beats and Rhymes

No iPods here!

I’ve been a fan of hip-hop for most of my life. I wrote this a few months back in the heat of the ‘Don Imus/Hip-Hop is responsible for society’s demise’ hoopla. In the words of Ne-Yo I guess I needed to clear some mental space. Well, after viewing Miss Info’s blog entry earlier this week, I knew I needed to post it. Reading her reflection on an impromtu performance at NYC’s SOBs convinced me to share my feelings in a public manner. This may seem to have nothing to do with style but honestly what genre of music has had a more powerful affect on fashion than hip-hop in this century?

Everyone, everyone - I mean everybody has something to say about hip-hop
lately. Imus, Oprah even my cousin Rufus from Selma, Alabama. (Yes, I really have a cousin named Rufus.) All of this talk actually got me to thinking about the reasons I still love hip-hop. Yeah, I'm just as annoyed and disappointed with many of the happenings in our current state of the artform as most of y'all. And no, this isn't some outpouring about my dysfunctional relationship with the music. That's
been done - to death. I just wanted to share with someone why after all this
time, all these ups and downs, I can't sit still when I hear a song like Redman's Time for Some Action. (If that song isn’t a sho’ nuff’ head nodder, I don’t know what is.)

My brother, who is several years my senior, introduced me to hip-hop. Not by choice either. Back in the early 80s, he really wanted nothing to do with me. But as an aspiring dj whose bedroom was right next to his younger sister's, he had no choice but to allow me to hear everything he was feeling at the time. Let's Dance to the Drummer's Beat is technically not even hip-hop but man that song always makes me think of it because my big bro played it ALL the time back in the day when he was just starting to dj. (It’s all about the break beats.) Our father loved jazz and blues and strongly encouraged my brother and me to appreciate music but had little to no respect for hip-hop initially because he thought "Those kids aren't even playing instruments, they're just talking over other people's songs!" I also think he felt it was a fad that would quickly pass us all by. Well, when my brother and his best friend Will saved their money to buy a set of turntables and a mixer, things changed a bit. See, whenever my father noticed a sincere interest in his children, he supported it. It definitely didn't happen overnight, but in his own way, my brother got our father (I've yet to meet anyone as opinionated and headstrong as he was.) to give hip-hop a chance. My dad saw that my brother spent virtually all his allowance and money from part-time jobs here and there on records and practically all his free-time mixing. I honestly don't think he came to like the music before he passed away but in my heart, I know he learned to respect it. Ain't that a beautiful thing?

HAPPY BORN DAY BENJAMIN - 7.27! (And I love you like cooked food too.)

1 comment:

benetton_the_dj said...

this will always be MY favorite (of course)!