In this 38th year of hip-hop culture’s existence, it is important to sustain its foundations and retell the true story of hip-hop’s factual meaning. KRS-One states that “hip-hop is something you live and rap is something you do.”
It seems that when heads speak of hip-hop, the first thing that comes to mind is rap music. According to Dr. Hasan T. Johnson, a Fresno State professor and hip-hop scholar, many young students in his class only have knowledge of hip-hop as a music genre and some think hip-hop started with Tupac Amaru Shakur, NWA and Dr. Dre.
Hip-hop, according to many intelligent scholars who earned their Ph.D.’s in the school of hard knocks, say that hip-hop is one of the last human skills—a phrase coined by KRS-One. How might that be, you ask? Hip-hop is a spiritual force and in coming articles we hope to entice ya’ readers with this knowledge of self to gain a better understanding of what hip-hop culture signifies and purpose.
As hip-hop continues to touch every society on this planet, you must learn that hip-hop is many nations under one universal groove as told by the godfather of hip-hop, Afrika Bambaataa. In saying that hip-hop is a spiritual force, I am saying that hip-hop unifies all people like a faith because hip-hop has no boundaries and no seclusion. A problem might arise by different interpretations but, as the elders and creators of this lifestyle mention, hip-hop is the voice of the street or, like some communist might say, it is the voice and expression of the proletariat.
For a better standing of what reality is, hip-hop should not be confused with a religion or a belief because hip-hop deals with the facts connecting communities in dance, art, word and sound. Next month, we will interview Dr. Johnson, who teaches a hip-hop course at Fresno State, to further expand on this topic of hip-hop and spirituality.
A good friend of mine, Quese IMC, an indigenous Seminole emcee told me that his generation of young Seminole people can easily relate to hip-hop because of its spiritual freedom. He feels this after having mastered the art of emceeing, giving him the ability to tell his people’s story using the art of rapping.
Other communities use different elements to show off their skills, for example, break dancing. Here in Fresno, there are many talented heads like Mikey Ice, a BBoy legend, and crews like Soul Momentum, Climax and Wizardz, to name just a few, who truly get off busting out ill moves, and what a beautiful sight to see uprocking, six stepping, windmills, 1990s and other incredible break dancing moves.
Graf is another expression that has gone corporate, and we will speak with Crayone TWS, a graffiti legend from the Bay Area, about bridging the gap and bringing the essence back or sustaining that essence of being an outlaw.
We rarely hear of the struggle of independent underground emcees and hip-hoppers toward making positive change and moves in the community. In coming articles, we will be bringing ya some awareness.
I will name a few and bring light of the everyday grind of hip-hop’s underground scene here in Fresno with the likes of Ms. Butherwords, Shon J, Optimus Prime and the infamous DJ Soulflower, aka Fresno’s hip-hop ambassador. We will highlight the struggles of having a space to celebrate hip-hop culture and of making it as an independent artist like Planet Asia, who has put Fresno on the national map.
Future writings will address the preservation of hip-hop with national figures and keep hip-hoppers up on game on what’s really good in the hood. Stay tuned and support your local artists like Shon J, who will be dropping a new album soon.