Lately there has been a swirling controversy around old school rap versus new school hip hop. There have been several mispoken words, and false memories by the old rap artists and their fans that I find troubling. I am by no means an expert but consider myself a member of popular culture. I was alive when the rap group Sugar Hill came out and I am alive now. Then again music lasted a lot longer several years ago so just because I know about Sugar Hill that does not mean I was alive for the debut.
In any event I first became vaguely aware that there was a problem this summer while participating in a family reunion. I was responsible for the music and had planned a seventies throw back celebration. My seventies were ChakaKhan, Sister Sledge, A Taste of Honey, The Bee Gees, Earth Wind and Fire, and some others but I think my descriptions are vivid enough to indicate what type of old school party I planned. I am sorry old school rappers I had no intention of touching that time of the old school rap reign, characterized by a culture of teenage pregnancies and drive by shootings. I think the very thought of hearing over two minutes of Planet Rock was enough to make me puke. I was not a rap fan and did not even like anything remotely like rap until the early nineties where rap for me changed to HIp Hop with the advent of Digital Underground. So our old school celebration was definitely going to be pre-eighties becuaset he music I did like during the eighties was Prince and his Court: Mazerati, Sheila E, Vanity, Vanity 6, and others music that I definitely did not want to hear with family members.
As we began the second phase of the reunion which would lead into the seventies celebration we had family members sing and then the little baby dancers came on, I mean between the ages of two and eight. They requested HIP HOP and they were awesome to watch. I was so impressed. We eventually got to some line dances the Slide and the Cupid Shuffle. However after the Cupid Shuffle we began to run into some extreme generational problems. The DJ wanted to play blues and of course I said, “What are you playing? The kids were requesting Hip Hop and we were trying to get something everyone could live with. Finally we had to cede to the youngest members of the family when they nicely said play something from 2008. I suppose the DJ did not get the message because a group of at least ten little kids started jumping all over the dance floor doing flips and flops hollering 2008 2008 2008 and some even said 2009. Our reunion theme was set, we would not be hearing anything prior to 2008. Our dance floor turned from a dance floor to a stage, those young adults and children put on a show greater than any Broadway show. I’ve been to high priced fundraisers that could not rival what I saw to the tune of 2008 hip hop music. My mother told me later that a very old member of the family and I mean old told her, I sure did like that music. Is that OK? My mother said yes it’s OK to like Hip Hop.
I thought the children hollering 2008 2009 was just a thing until I was listening to talk radio and I heard the host talk about old school rap, and how good it was and how those were the good old days and he went into a long tirade on how hip hop ws so awful now. As I said in a previous paragraph old school rap for me always made me think of teenage pregnancy and drive by shootings and when I thought of pregnant teenagers it was teens at the age of twelve so I was literally flipping out when I heard someone referring to those days as the good old days. I’m thinking to myself that I know I did not listen to old school rap but I do listen to some hip hop now and have the hip hop stations as presets on the radio and if I hear anything that I don’t like or think my children should not hear [like the discussions of lollipops] I change the station. I tried to call the station to express my disbelief and set the record straight that those old school rap days were not the good old days, those were the days women did not listen to rap unless they had on long shorts, a team shirt, tennis shoes, and socks on. Honestly women who wore normal clothes did not listen to rap and we thought women who listened to that stuff were gay, and they were Queen Latifah just married a woman.
Old School Rap outside of Sugar Hill was just not a cultural revolution in my life. I will admit that it did lay a foundation for hip hop but it is not hip hop and for old school rappers to call their music Hip Hop is absolutely postivley ridiculous. It’s rap period.
The problem of rap versus hip hop was compounded for me when I went to the Dekalb County Blues and Jazz Festival for I think two days straight. It was awesome! There was music from all generes. There was even a white guy there who played the “Star Spangled Banner” like Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. Suddenly the MC of the event introduced the winner of the youth talent show. He was a Hip Hopper and too me he was awesome he was throwing in various instrumental genres, rock, soul, R&B. He was totally awesome. When it was over I screamed and hollered and clapped. I looked around I was one of a few clapping. I looked around and noticed that the people around me were just a little bit but not a lot older than me and did not like that song. I felt embarassed and sat down.
I stayed and had a good time. I stayed until after Whodini who was a pretty good DJ he bagan with reggae and hyped up the crowd and that was good. Some point prior to his coming on some rapper had come on and called his old school rap hip hop. The one thing I did know about these generes from only being a member of popular culture is rap is not hip hop. Oh Lord I thought he’s out of touch! In any event suddenly the place started to fill up with men, packs of men, more men, more men more men what “any” Southern girl will tell you that we like. Suddenly the people on stage began to rap, I felt ten years old again, I felt claustrophobic. I had to get out of there, I did not even bother to take my chair or my cooler they could have it and walked out. I was not a rap fan then and I am not an old school fan now I thought. My brain started to holler 2008 2008 2008, heck even 2009. I hurried to my car amped up Amy Winehouse singing “Put it in the Box” “Put it in the Box”, and to this day I’m mad at whoever turned the crank on the Jack in the Box that made old School Rap attempt to make a comeback at the Festival. The only thing I have to say is Put Them in the Box, crazy glue the Lid, put them in a time capsule and shoot them to outer space. HA HA
I have an older friend who was like a sister to me when I was younger she brought me a Laquer music box from Japan that plays Sukiyaki by a Taste of Honey when I was 10, bought me my first designer jeans and really was a mentor to me, she and her mother. However the name she hollers now and I know she has to be at least 47 is “Luda”. I did not even know this was a nick name for Ludicrous until she made a visit to my house, from her home in Southern California and during some discussion I don’t know what we were talking about hollered Luda, I wish I could get his phone number. Luda had better watch out her youngest child is three and her oldest 23.
I was prompted to write this because the same talk show host insists the days of old school rap were the good old days. I want to emphasize that those years were not the good old days. They were not the good old days because those were the days of HIV and AIDS. Those were not the good old days because it was normal for a twelve year old girl to get pregnant. Those were not the good old days because all we could hear on the news was information about Drive By Shootings. Those were not the Good Old Days because Crack Babies were being born at record numbers. These are the greatest and greater days. These are the Rainmaker Days. It’s Rainen. I’m make it rain in the club now.