Sunday, October 9, 2011

Can't Stop Won't Stop

Imagine a world where Queen Latifa, Will Smith, Ghetto Boys and Public Enemy all go on tour TOGETHER. Well, that happened in 1991.SHOCKED. If only I wasn’t two years old at that time. Today that would never happen in hip hop. The different styles within hip hop have become isolated and in my opinion a lot of love has been.

On Wednesday,  I was more than excited to attended the lecture given by Can’t Stop Won’t Stop A History of the Hip Hop Generation’s author, Jeff Chang. The Uniter hosted the speaking engagement at the University of Winnipeg.

I love snapshots of history especially when it relates to something that influences my life on a daily basis. Personally I do not think that you can say hip hop originated from one spot in the world, at one point in time, with a certain group of people witnessing it. Jeff Chang disagrees to a certain extent. He spoke about the origination of hip hop. He spoke about the birth place of hip hop, the Bronx. He covered topics such as abandonment, DJs, the universal zulu nation, and what got the gangs out of the Bronx and what brought hip hop in.

The speech was long, so I’ll narrow it down to what I found most interesting. Something that relates to hip hop today, the split.

Chang spoke about the point in hip hop culture where it split. The split he refers to is when it was possible that music could move across the country and world. Hip hop used to be something you had to experience then and there. You had to be in the ballrooms, you had to be at the parties and you had to be dancing in the parks to know what hip hop was and then the record was created and it took hip hop all around the world. 

This began to create imprints around the world of what was happening in the Bronx. Hip hop was no longer a moment, it became a replica that could travel. You didn’t need to be there to experience what was happening in places like the Bronx, like Jeff Chang you could be in Hawaii at recess experiencing what those in the parks of the Bronx were making happen.

And from there it grew and changed and we've landed on today or a couple years prior to today, and hip hop has becomes a part of commodity culture. Who wins? An original lyricist, or someone who has you wearing their clothes, drinking their energy water and has been shot in the chest a handful of time? In the world we are living in now, 50 Cent wins.

As the world of hip hop music continues to evolve, I’m not sure where it's going to land next. Here are some stats to help the guess...

2000- 90 million hip hop records sold- 13% of the market
2010- 27 million hip hop records sold- 8% of the market

Chang spoke about the difference between true artists and money makers. I can agree there’s a difference between someone like 50 Cent vs Nas. And I can also say that there are artists who transcend it all..

By the end of the lecture all I heard was Jay-Z is incredibly dope.
(that’s why he can fall into both categories)

word to that.