Allow me entertain you with my definition of Hip Hop. I wish I could say Quest was one of my favourite groups back in the 90s, but that would be a lie. I wasn’t even mature enough to understand their lyrics, talk less of understanding their message, sure I might have bopped my head here and there to the beats of the 90s (thanks to my Aunt) but I don’t really remember loving it for it, but rather because I liked everything my Aunt did (this is a good thing btw).
I do however, remember walking home from school under the heat of Nigeria’s Sun in the early 2000s and hearing Diddy’s “I need a Girl” blasting through Car Stereos and also on the weekends when my Aunt and I had mini cleaning parties where we’d dance to Kool & the Gang‘s “Get down on it”, or lip sync to Shaggy‘s “It Wasn’t Me”.
Span 15 years later, I appreciate Hip Hop for what it was with the raw talents of artists like Quest, though they’ve now disbanded, their music is still tight. Up until recently I wasn’t feeling their sound, perhaps it was their lack of over powering beats, or maybe it was the fact that they actually made me think of something other than how many “bars” they had –no, that’s not it. I think it was their constant portrayal of their reality without the need to embellish that threw me off, but now I know better. Hip Hop need not be plastered with arrogant and self-righteous lyrics about how many females the Emcee penetrates per night or the labels on their collar, because realistically speaking too much money ain’t enough many and no matter how many females you bag, there’s more to life/music than that.
Their Low End Theory album did it for me – lyrical excellence. Where facts of life, culture and reality aren’t embellished, but appreciated for what it is and put into context to spark conversation and provoke thoughts. Artists like Tribe, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Eminem, Ice Cube, TLC, Naughty by Nature, and many others portrayed this genre of music in a way that exceeds Gang culture.
Let’s for one sec. forget what music channels and popular “Hip Hop/Rap” artists today perpetuate as “Real”, and hop on YouTube, and get on that old skool vibe with Tribe.
This post is not to discredit the hard work and dedication of our Hip Hop artists of today, but rather to appreciate some of the pioneers of the Genre.
– Peace & Love –