It’s Hip-Hop Appreciation Week? It’s Hip-Hop Appreciation Week and I had no clue? I damn near snatched my own hip-hop lovers ‘r us card when I clicked on Miles Marshall Lewis’ latest piece for Ebony. I figured I should write an ode to hip-hop a la Sid Shaw in Brown Sugar. Maybe I’d as few folks when they fell in love or channel Erykah Badu and sing “Love of My Life” or “The Healer/Hip-Hop” all passionate and off key.

I chuckled a bit when MML started discussing the celebratory events schedule for this week. “But as hardcore hip-hop aficionados know,” he wrote, “these sort of old-school cultural events tend to be overpopulated with aging, grey-haired B-boys who never listen to any rap music post-Tupac and Biggie.” These old-heads actually sounded a lot like some of the “I only rock with the real real hip-hop” folks in my crew.  I was reminded one of many poems that I’ve written about genre, the culture.

We make love to your corpse

When we should be plotting your rebirth

Why did I choose “plotting” instead of “celebrating?”

While my friends and I stay on the blogs looking for the next song, we spend a ton of time talking about how hip-hop ain’t what it used to be. We say it as if we were there at the founding. We act like were at house parties or participating in ciphers during the Golden Era, knowing damn well we were in daycare.

In a lot of ways respecting — and reminiscing for the folks who were there from the beginning — has turned into romanticizing. When we romanticize, it’s hard to fully enjoy all of the great things happening now. It’s difficult to see the potential of the future. While I would have loved to fully experience Yo-Yo, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and Salt-N-Peppa, I’m happy that Missy, Kim, Foxy, Da Brat, Left Eye, and L-Boogie are part of my coming of age story. I’m also happy that I know where to find Invincible, Jean Grae,

Rocky Rivera, Rapsody and Josie Stingray. Seeing Nicki make moves and thinking one day more women MCs can make it to the mainstream allows for some hope.

So, I’ve decided to go back to my Brown Sugar hype with this. “To Hip-Hop, I used to love you. I still do. I always will.”


What do you love about the current state of Hip-Hop?

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