It Needs to Be CED: What is Real Hip Hop?


What is Real Hip Hop?

Well, there are people who complain daily about there not being ‘real’ Hip Hop and some may feel justified in stating so, BUT, it’s ALL relative! As universal as Hip Hop is, there are so many different Flavors of Hip Hop that there CAN’T be a definitive definition of the term ‘Real Hip Hop’, despite constant back and forth conversations on this very topic. You can sit 12 people in a room of similar backgrounds and ethnicities and there may never be a constant definition according to everyone in a room. It’s too subjective and based on opinion not necessarily facts….

I’m a bonafide ‘Old School’ New York Hip Hop head who grew up on the lyricism of artists like Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Ice Cube, Scarface, MC Lyte, Paris, I can go on and on about hearing the sweet science of putting words together and phrasing them in a way that would give you a history lesson in ‘How to Effectively Rap’ over beats and music and you’d be amazed how these young people were able to take something that seemed simple and made it lyrically appealing. It was pure poetry in ways that poets couldn’t understand nor explain and they never needed to. For me, growing up in an era where it was about how you wrote words to a track, they way you said it and how effective it was over that rhythm made it a skill that wasn’t afforded many songwriters, even today, couldn’t/can’t match and we labeled that Real Hip Hop.

Fast forward to today, lyrics have taken a backseat like a drunk passenger riding home in an Uber vehicle! But does what a 20 year old listening to today make it that much less ‘real’ because they are embedded in an era where it’s more about the hook and drug culture/strip club/ratchet mentality that invades the airwaves today? We can’t and shouldn’t take away from his meaning of ‘realness’ based on what the culture dictates today. As the phrase goes, it is what it is! We can’t and shouldn’t discount anyone else’s meaning of ‘Real Hip Hop’ because it doesn’t match our definition!

Just like anything else in culture throughout the years, there will and should be changes. Hip Hop is STILL the strongest, best and arguably, the most influential genre today and it’s because of different people’s perception of what ‘Real Hip Hop’ signifies to them. Despite the constant argument about Hip Hop being good, it’s lasted longer than Polka, Disco and you’d be pressed to find any other genre that has the stranglehold it has on commercialism.

So, ‘What is Real Hip Hop?’, that answer lies within each and every one of us and will be debated for years to come.

Props to VJ Ralph McDaniels and Video Music Box……

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