Respect in Hip Hop Culture: Art Versus Ego

Suite 101 - Respect In Hip Hop Culture

Suite 101 - Respect In Hip Hop Culture

Rappers are often synonymous with over-sized egos and bad behaviour, which seems so distanced from the forward-thinking and empowering movement that has influenced their music. Hip Hop as a genre has evolved greatly since its birth in the late 1970s, although sadly it seems that the culture is yet to mature

Humble, respectful and focused, are unfortunately terms rarely used to describe the majority of rappers in the public eye. Is it any wonder, after watching Kanye West’s latest outburst at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, that Hip Hop has such a poor reputation in not only the media but popular culture as a whole? For all of the complaints that the music world does not take Hip Hop seriously as a genre, there are far more arguments for these preconceptions. Between legal trouble and constant displays of violence and disrespect in public, rappers are frequently tarnishing the reputation of Hip Hop as a culture….

Full article available on Suite 101:
http://raphiphopmusic.suite101.com/article.cfm/respect_in_hip_hop_culture

DJ Mr President Raises the Bar for Hip Hop Lyricism

Available for download now

Available for download now

Controversial to say the least, the cover of New York Hip Hop veteran DJ Mr President’s latest mixtape Raising the Bar, Raising the Standard: Real MCs features Soulja Boy burning at the stake. In fact, the project is not so much a mixtape, but rather a statement or a proposal for change in an industry dominated far more by ringtone sales than lyrical quality and artistic integrity. Real MCs provides the wealth of wordplay and a plethora of personalities that so many projects have failed to deliver of late. Disheartened with the current state of Hip Hop lyricism, DJ Mr President aims to bring some change to the industry, feeling that improving the standard of hip hop music is his “obligation to the culture.”

“It is very discouraging to hear and see what people are considering Hip Hop today, but I’m here to tell you, 90% of what you hear on commercial radio is not Hip Hop!” he exclaims. Having grown up on Sedgwick Avenue, the birthplace of the genre, he has experienced the growth and evolution of Hip Hop first hand, unlike many DJs and rappers today, who “are not taking the time to master the art of MCing or DJing.” Even more worrying to him is that, “they are not even taking the time to research and learn about the pioneers who started it all and paved the way for them.” No wonder he was inspired to create Real MCs, when lyrically-challenged MCs and DJs “who can’t even blend two beats together” are the “face of Hip Hop.”

Speaking of his frustration, DJ Mr President explained that it was this musical incompetence that influenced him to actually do something about this void in the market, rather than just complain that the genre was deceased. “I didn’t have to look far for inspiration for this mixtape, all one has to do is turn on the radio and you will hear a guaranteed fad artist on the airways; here today, gone tomorrow,” he explains. “Everyone out there that has been failing to do their part in preserving Hip Hop gave me inspiration.”

Despite the decline in the lyrical quality, he believes that the prognosis for hip hop is perhaps not as bleak as it is often made out to be. He explains that, “there is a whole underground movement full of artists that stay true to the essence of Hip Hop,” before adding “the sad part about it is you have to go looking for it.” With a great deal of criticism surrounding the quality of music, people are beginning to turn more to talented independent or unsigned artists, who tend to display more passion and focus. “The MCs on my mixtape can lyrically demolish the so-called rappers that are getting air play on commercial radio,” says DJ Mr President. “If any MC’s deserve fame and fortune it’s the MC that stays true and continuously seeks to master his or her craft, realizing that it is an art form that warrants respect.”

Real MCs is a positive step for lyrical Hip Hop, but until DJs and the media outlets begin to take a stand regarding the quality of the music they promote, it is unlikely that we will see much more improvement. It would be naïve to think otherwise. “We need to continuously push and play artists who tell a story through their lyrics, who are creative with their word play and who relate their passion for the entire Hip Hop culture through words,” he explains, before calling for DJs to lead by example. After all, it is only really the DJs and the media that have the ability to push lyrical quality back into priority status. Supported by some of the hardest-hitting lyricists in the underground scene, DJ Mr President is at the forefront of battling the “hip hop recession.”

Highlights include lyrical contributions from Atlas,' Manny D, Wale and Hellzyea! amongst many more talented artists.

Highlights include lyrical contributions from Atlas,' Manny D, Wale and Hellzyea! amongst many more talented artists.

Raising the Bar, Raising the Standard: Real MCs is available for free download from www.djmrpresident.com now.

© 2009 Hannah O’Connor (3threat Media)

Chino’s “I’d S**t on Shakespeare” Explained

allhiphop chino xl ad

It would seem that my recent Chino XL interview is causing quite a stir over on allhiphop.com. Whilst there has been a lot of interest in the piece, perhaps partly due to the title “I’d S**t on Shakespeare,” many feel that perhaps Chino’s comments on Shakespeare were not justfied.

The controversial statement, “If Shakespeare was alive today, I’d s**t on any work he had and it would all rhyme and it would all make sense; it would be a complete story in 16 bars…,” has caused many to criticise Chino. Some people seemed to have overlooked the fact that Chino explicitly mentioned the importance of reading the works of people like Shakespeare and that he was not trying to undermine their significance. The statement in question, as he also explicitly maintained, was not referring to his own lyrical ability, but rather hip hop as a collective.

On face value, yes Chino did take on Shakespeare, but if you look a little deeper and reflect on his comments, then it becomes immeadiately clear that he is actually explaining the cultural impact of hip hop lyrics. In fact, he was completely accurate, as no matter how significant Shakespeare is in literary history, hip hop lyrics hold far more relevancy and have a far greater influence on the average allhiphop.com reader than the works of the bard. In modern society, surely it would be rather naive to believe that Shakespeare carries more weight than the lyrics of many modern artists. After all, I bet you can recite 2pac or Jay-Z lyrics, but how many of you can quote a passage from Hamlet?

(For the record: Chino can, as can I…)

Look out for The RICANstruction in the first quarter of 2010

Look out for The RICANstruction in the first quarter of 2010

Tupac Shakur: Gone But Never Forgotten

2pac pychedelic copy

Tupac Shakur is arguably the greatest rapper to have walked this planet. Perhaps not in terms of delivery, perhaps not even in terms of lyricism but when it comes to cultural impact, 2pac is second to none.

Rappers that do not cite 2pac as a huge influence are few and far between. Having famously once said he may not change the world, but guaranteed that he “will spark the mind that does,” Tupac has inspired many young artists and writers with his extensive body of work. Some of hip hop’s hardest hitting lyrics and revolutionary ideas poured from his pen.

Tupac was a great many things; he was an innovator, a poet, a rapper, an actor, an artist, a revolutionary thinker, a legend but above all he was just a man. He never professed to be a ‘gangsta’ and always was quick to admit his use of poetic license. Tupac’s music reflected the fact that the human mind is no more than a complex web of contradiction and conflicting ideals and it was for this reason that so many could relate to his words.

Tupac Shakur may have only lived a shot life but like many great men, left behind a huge legacy that will remain relevant for many years to come.

2pacalypse light design

Text & Artwork: © 2009 Han O’Connor (3threat Media)

9/11 Reflection/Tribute

I am not American. Yet the sight of United Airlines Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower of the World Trade Centre in New York City is enough to literally render me speechless and draw a tear or two. Watching the purest act of evil to occur in my lifetime, even 8 years later, it is still difficult to articulate my thoughts and feelings about it.

“What was there when we woke up this morning is now gone.” This chilling statement by a news correspondent described the two fallen towers, but for many perhaps was far more symbolic of the lost hope following the attacks.

This act of pure hatred will be forever imprinted on the memory of so many people. It is not only that act of hatred, however, that will be forever immortalised but also the heroism and selflessness displayed by so many brave individuals and the collective strength of an entire city. It was in fact the 9/11 attacks that allowed me to realise the true meaning of the words bravery and heroism.

In memory of the heroes and victims that lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy.

In memory of the heroes and victims that lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy.

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Lost Sessions Uncovered

deathrow1

Today WIDEawake Death Row has announced a track list for their forthcoming album of unreleased Snoop Dogg material, which was recorded while he was a Death Row inmate. Snoop Doggy Dogg’s The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 is due to hit stores next month.

In a recent interview with allhiphop.com’s Info, Death Row CEO Lara Lavi revealed that the album has “some fantastic gems on it that nobody’s ever heard.” Features on the release include the likes of Dr. Dre, Dogg Pound, The Lady of Rage and K-CI & JoJo of Jodeci.

The full track list for The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 is as follows:
1. Soldier Story (Intro)
2. Doggystyle (ft. Dr. Dre, George Clinton and Jewell)
3. Fallin’ Asleep on Death Row (ft. Dr. Dre)
4. Eat A D**k (ft. Dr. Dre)
5. H**z (ft. Dogg Pound)
6. O.G. (Original Version ft. Nate Dogg)
7. Keep It Real Dogg
8. One Life to Live (ft. Techniec & The Lady of Rage)
9. The Genie (ft. Bad Azz, Bo Rock)
10. Funk With Ya Brain (Interlude)
11. Caught Up
12. Put It In Ya Mouth
13. Gravy Train (ft. Bad Azz & Tray Deee)
14. Life’s Hard (Dedicated to 2pac) (ft. K-Ci & JoJo, Big Pimpin’)
15. The Root Of All Evil (Outro) (ft. Dr. Dre)
16. Quite Obvious (ft. Rappin’ 4 Tay)
17. Once Again
18. Got to do Wrong

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 will be available for purchase from October 13th.

deathrow

Chino XL – I’d S**t on Shakespeare

Chino XL - "I'd S**t on Shakespeare!"

By Han ‘Info’ O’Connor

After a short hiatus from the industry, the return of Chino XL is nearly upon us. As “twisted and mystic” as ever, the Puerto Rican rhyme slayer is ready to give Hip-Hop a piece of his mind once again. Rearmed with some of his sharpest lyrical ammunition and a free agent at last, Chino is aiming to release his next offering The RICANstruction in the first quarter of 2010. Contrary to earlier reports, the album, which he hopes will be his masterwork, will be put out through his own joint venture CPR/Universal…

Full interview only on allhiphop.com.

http://allhiphop.com/stories/features/archive/2009/09/11/21933265.aspx