Saturday, July 3, 2004

Black isn't back -- it never left

Define Hip Hop!- Global Black News (African American News) -- Bakari Akil II -- 11 April 2003

Very interesting, albeit brief, discussion of hip hop as a genuine culture. You may find Akil's associations between contemporary hip hop and ancient cultures tenuous, but I think they're valid -- and very insightful -- in their present, anecdotal form.

Hip-hop in its most rudimentary form consists of four major activities. KRS One defined it best when he listed those activities as "MCing", "Djing", break dancing and artistic expression through graffiti. These four activities are the major identifiers of someone being involved in hip hop culture. Now, is it its own separate culture? In my opinion, hip-hop is an extension of Black culture and has created its own subculture that is shared by many.

... being an MC can be compared to the tradition of the traveling griot that in African cultures provided historical information, like Nas and his track "I Can" or can provide news on the state of our communities, like Dead Prez and their hit "It's Bigger Than Hip Hop". They provide us with information that we might not be able to receive in mainstream arenas.

DJs provide the basic beat over which the messages are passed, but in a deeper sense can be related to the drummers of old who communicated thoughts and ideas through a complicated system of beats and pauses of the drum. ...

Break dancing is often theorized to have its origins from Capoeira which is an African Brazilian martial art...

The Egyptians wanted to leave no doubt as to whom they were and to let future societies know they existed. The graffiti artist of today is no different.

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