Check 1-2, 1-2…Dear Hip-Hop, These 12 songs are 4 You!

Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z recently came together to make yet another classic Hip-Hop track titled “I wanna Rock” (remix). Jay-Z’s entire verse is an ode to some of the influences in the rap game. It got me to thinking: what are other songs that are Ode’s to Hip-Hop/ music that I have to make note of….here’s the list:

(**there are two or three songs that the lovely people at youtube.com decided to make “Embedding disabled by request”…therefore you might have to click the link and watch them on youtube instead of this blog- thanks capitalism, you’ve done wonders for Hip-Hop)

To kick things off, I’d like to call on Erykah Badu, who is arguably the nicest female Emcee in history, but happens to be defined as an R&B/ neo-soul artist. I love this video, as it depicts Hip-Hop’s entire time line. From the block with donkey ropes and Addidas to the current world of corporate Hip-Hop, where white audiences reign supreme. The video is full of cameos: MC Lyte, Kool Herc, Chuck D, Common, and the legendary b-boy breaker Crazy Legs…check 1-2-1-2..check it out.

And while we’re on the topic of Badu, you gotta throw this one in there Erykah Badu’s “The Healer”…just because she dedicates it to J. Dilla, the late great producer…and she says “Hip-Hop…its bigger than the government.” And it is.

R.I.P Dilla

This next 1, might have flown under a couple of folks radars…but this is special to me: I used to this on repeat when I was about 10 or 11 years old…and at that time, you had to listen to the whole song, and rewind the tape in order to listen to it agian.

R.I.P. Freeky Tah

Eric Sermon’s “Just Like Music” This is a refreshing track, made by a legendary emcee and is a great example of the power of sample; using the legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye’s vocals.

R.I.P. Marvin Gaye

Afrika Bambaataa’s track…it’s a prerequisite to breing a hip-hop head… you don’t know this. Hip-Hop Don’t know you!

Dead Prez’s Hip-Hop…this is the power of Hip-Hop in terms of revolt against media control. This is motivation music; when this song comes on in my headphones, I have to hold myself back from doing push-ups…cause doing push-ups on the metro train is a little too gangsta for the majority of society.

Speaking of gangsta, you can’t more gangsta than NWA.The group’s resurgence in the late 90’s brought about this track…it wasn’t an ode to hip-hop as much it was “chin-check” of the so-called gangsta rappers of the day. Just a lil something to say “Hello”, and let the word know who started this Gansta shit: West side!!!

R.I.P. Easy- E.

Keeping it in the hood… One of my favorite’s and probably one of the most underated tracks in the history of Ode’s to Hip-Hop, not only was this song slept on by many, but I even slept on the video was looked over too! with appearances from Bun-B, Devin the Dude, and Scarface; Cleveland artist Ray Cash’s “Bumpin my Music” had to make the list…

Since we’re in the South now, we have to mention Outkast. They are the greatest Hip-Hop duo in the history of mankind. period. And with their artistry combined with Slick Rick’s aura, the song “art of story telling” is an ode to Hip-Hop’s basic purpose… a way for people without a voice to rhythmically tell their own story.

With the amount of life the last artists have put into the game, its hard to imagine Hip-Hop ever needing a tombstone…But Queens emcee Nasir Jones begged to differ. Nas’ “Hip-Hop is Dead” wasn’t an ode to Hip-Hop, it was more of an obituary… But it has it’s place on the list, for: if you love something, you should forever be critical of it.

Seemingly in response to Nas’ claim that Hip-Hop had met its death date, a slew of young artist popped up with lyrical insight and a breath of new life into Hip-Hop. One of the most notable new artist on the scene is kid from Chicago by the name of Lupe. This track is not only a dedication to slain rapper from New Orleans, Soldier Slim, but a dedication to many young men and women who find life in beat breaks, fresh hooks, and clever punch-lines.

Lupe Fiasco’s “Hip- Hop save my life.”

And last but not least… the all time classic: Naughty By Nature’s “Hip Hop Horay”…the original dedication to Hip-Hop.

Hope yall enjoyed this… R.I.P. to BIG and 2PAC, a number of other artist…And in the words of Eric B. and Rakim:

“what happened to peace?…oh yeah: PEACE!”

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6 East Coast Rap Songs 4 the Hard Times

 

East Coast Rap

East Coast rap is the most graphic musical example of “the struggle” of Black America since the invention of the Blues. period.

Here is a short list of some of the songs I let rock during the hard times…

Ghostface Killah’s “All That I got is You”

classic line:  “check it: 15 of us in a 3 bedroom apartment/ roaches everywhere/ cousins and aunts was there/ 2 at the foot, 2 at the head/I didn’t like to sleep with Jon-Jon/ he peed in bed.”

KRS-1’s “Love’s Gonna get’cha”

classic line: “I got 3 pairs of pants, and with brother I share/ so there in school- Im made a fool: with 1 1/2 pairs of pants you ain’t cool!”

Jay-Z’s “Anything”

Classic Line: “from the stoop, to the big dudes stopping us from playing hoops/ and us getting mad, throwing rocks off the roof”

Freeway’s  “what we do”

classic line: “if my heat stop working/ then my heat start working/…IMMA ROB ME A PERSON!”

Notorius B.I.G.’s “Everyday Struggle”

classic line: “I know how it feels to wake up fucked up/ Pockets broke as hell, another rock to sell/ People look at you like you’re the user /Selling drugs to all the losers mad Buddha abuser.”

DMX’s “Slippin”

Classic line(S): *This is one of my top 5 favorite songs of all time, therefore its hard for me to choose just a couple of lyrics- this whole song is exemplifies inner city juvenile struggle to a tee…but if there are any lines that stand out, these two would be them:

“I’m ready for the world or at least I thought I was/ Baggin’ niggas when I caught a buzz/ For thinking about how short I was”

” Sayin’ to myself that could’ve been yo ass on the TV/ Believe me it could be done something’s got to give/ It’s got to change cause I’ve got a son/ I’ve got to do the right thing for shorty/ And that means no more getting high drinking forties”

Photo Essay: A Walk Down MLK Ave. in South East D.C. on MLK Day 2010

He fought for Love. He fought for peace. He fought to uplifting Christ. And he fought to take down racism… But in the end Dr. King knew it was all about the allotment of resources in America.

His famous, “I Have a Dream” Speech, could have easily went down in history as the “Bounced Check ” speech. He spoke of America’s failure to include African-American’s into the greater society post-slavery. He acknowledged African-American’s role in the disenfranchisement, as many passively accepted what was given.

And now, 42 years after Dr. King’s assassination we have been given a National holiday in celebration of his birthday, and a Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in every major US city.

Every Martin Luther King Jr. Ave I have ever been fortunate enough to bare witness to runs through the most economically downtrodden part of the city.

I decided to take a walk down Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in the Nation’s Capitol, and this is what I saw…

Dr. King's Ave. in South East Washington DC

Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in South East Washington D.C. is a main artery through a predominantly African-American community. The area is in the transitional phase; the dilapidated structures of yesteryear still loom as a reminder of the 1968 riots after King’s death, the influence of crack cocaine in the 1980’s, and the economic turmoil that has plagued many Black communities since their creation- and through the current recession America is facing.

vacant housebuilding frame.Historically Black Community: For Sale

And like Every Black community in America, there were check cashing stores, liquor stores, heaps of trash in the street and graffiti on the walls

check cashing storeLiquor store. Good Hope.trash heapStanton Crew

But right next to the graffiti was something that started to open my eyes to the depth of the spirit present in the Anacostia community….

Islam on the riseSheik

Islam was far from the only religion present, in fact the number of Baptist churches was comparable to the amount of corner stores…Baptist church signUnion Temple

Fittingly enough, while attempting to take a shot of the church, another dominant force in the community conveniently intervened in my photo…

Cops and God.

But the governing bodies are also taking initiatives to aid the community…

A Government Savior?the plan...

dept. of Housing.

I don’t doubt the necessity for government aid in the Black community, but nothing trumps knowledge of self and knowledge of the land in which you reside. And in the community of South East Washington, D.C. there are numerous reminders of how fertile those grounds are, and how deep Black roots run through here said grounds.

Malcolm X centerFrederick Douglass' houseClara Muhammad schoolThurgood MarshallBlack owned Fish spotPeaceBlack familyBig Chair

And most of all… the words and image of Dr. King himself

MLK mural

On January 15th 2010 Dr. King would have been 81 years of age. To his memory, I give my respect.