Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
12/13/2003 10:51:50 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions.
In 1974, the ''boogie down'' Bronx and Queens, two rival boroughs of New York City, went lyrically head to head to determine where hip-hop was born. The representatives were BDP (Boogie Down Productions), with the ''Blastmaster,'' KRS-1, as its lead emcee, and the Juice Crew, headed by MC Shan. There was beef between both crews, but they battled it out with rhymes instead of violence.
When hip-hop first emerged, it was about having fun and proving yourself using clever sentences - rhythmically put together - said smoothly over 12-inch vinyl records spun on a disc jockey's turntables. Most critics believed that hip-hop was just going to be a fad in inner cities. Little did they know that it would become a worldwide multibillion-dollar enterprise.
What most people don't understand is that there is a big difference between rap and hip-hop. Rap is the combination of emceeing and DJing, but hip-hop possesses four main elements: graffiti, break dancing, emceeing and DJing. There are subelements, too, such as the way one walks, talks and lives. As KRS-1 says, ''Rap is something you do; hip-hop is something you live.''
The Zulu Nation founded by Africa Bambaatta was a Bronx-based organization where people with completely different backgrounds could come together as one to express their love for hip-hop. Many people doubted that the Zulu Nation would work out because it mixed all types of people, such as Crips from one borough and hard-core ''punks'' from another.
But Bambaatta knew that the music would bring people together, and he has explained this vision by quoting the godfather of funk music, George Clinton, whose ''one nation under groove'' saying reinterprets a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The legendary Rock Steady Crew often performed their impressive breaking routines headed by the street-famous ''Crazy Legs,'' whose ridiculous footwork always made jaws drop. Local emcees, DJs, B-Boys and backpack kids gathered for an annual block party held by the Zulu Nation where they could showcase their talents in front of huge crowds of hip-hop fans.
This was the true essence of what hip-hop used to be, when rappers rapped for the love of the game. Unfortunately, people discovered that they could make copious amounts of money from the art form. This realization was a bonanza for shady record companies, which made rappers into corporate puppets who would do anything just to make a fast buck. One example was Vanilla Ice, a plastic prepackaged clown who represented a major setback for the acceptance of white rappers.
Many emcees had a warped vision regarding what hip-hop was really about, and they just focused on making money. Rap has been described as a game of pimps and ''hos'' in which rappers are working hard just to give huge advances to executives who don't have the slightest clue about how hip-hop is really done.
Music videos have always lent a visual aspect to rap, and when it came to old-school videos, there was no better way to let people see what rap was really about. Nowadays, rap videos are characterized by fake emcees flaunting their wealth and spitting terrible rhymes at the same time. Luxury cars, mansions, yachts, Champagne and dancing girls in bikinis are standard fare in current music videos. These videos are warping the way hip-hop should be conveyed, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find rappers who make consistently ''ill'' videos.
Some recent crews like Definitive Jux and Rhymesayers are slowly making hip-hop real again with innovative beats and rhymes that work on a different level. Emcees such as Aesop Rock, El-P, Cannibal OX, Mr. Lif, Slug, Brother Ali, Eyedea and countless others are spitting consi
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