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... and you know who you are, but lemme call a couple of names anyway! Big Grin I'll direct this mostly to AudioGuy and Kweli4Real and Vox ... but anybody else with an answer please feel free to just jump right on in!

I'll try to keep this short, but I have a question and some background is necessary.

On the 4th of July while doing the family BBQ, there was a fight for the CD player. Mostly it was "Get that chit off my box!!!" and "Awww, Auntie, c'mon!!!" However, between my Funkadelic and Gap Band, we "compromised" with Tupac, who, I was told, I should be able to be "down" with! Eek I asked them to explain this to me, and a non-scientific run down of the whole rap/hip hop thing ensued!

As explained to me by my nephews (26 and 27 y/o) what Tupac does is more of a "reality rap" kind of thing and it's not the booty-bumping, shoot everybody, bling-bling kind of crap thats so popular today. What he talks about is real, and therefore I should be able to listen to, and even enjoy, Tupac's brand of rap.

Then they went on to figure that what happened as far as the change in style of rap/hip hop was that we, older people, had our rap with the likes of RunDMC, Sugarhill Gang, Doug E. Fresh, etc. which was more just basic entertainment and performance. Then it turned more of a social consciousness thing with the coming of the group NWA, who tried to tell of "life in the 'hood" and brought the cursing and "keeping it real" kind of aspect to it. After that, things went pretty much downhill with groups trying to copy NWA's style. Then the music industry "establishment" took it and ran with it, and here we are today!

Now, that basically made sense to me, but I would like to ask you guys, (who are closer to my age and can explain things in terms I can understand!) if you think this is pretty much now everything went and the general timeline ... or was there something else in between that they missed that might help me understand what happened? Also, is Tupac really all that? I know he's different ... he had done two songs before I realized the box had been hijacked again ... but, his songs seemed mellow enough (without listening to the words Smile) so that I wasn't screaming and threating to hurt my children! So, would you recommend that I actually sit down and listen to the guy? Or is he really just a better extention of all the others? Confused

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide me in this quest for understanding! Smile
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
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Well, my New York-area perspective may be a bit biased, but the conscious movement in hip hop didn't start with NWA. It started with Public Enemy & Boogie Down Productions. NWA, to us back then, weren't seen as positive & conscious. They were seen as negative and ignorant. "Conscious" hip hop as we saw it was more Afrocentric and militant, rather than thugged out like NWA. It was natural, not jheri-curled like NWA. It was about kings and queens, not niggas and bitches like NWA.

But in retrospect, NWA did serve a purpose, in that they hit you with a more real-brother perspective on what was really going on in the streets. Even back then, the average brother wasn't walking around with Afrocentric gear & accessories. They told what was going on from that "streets" perspective, which I guess means I shouldn't diss them now as much as we did back then.

Hip-hop, generally, was solidly conscious from 1988 to 1992, to the point where even joints that were about fun topics often at least paid some form of lip service to consciousness. I personally see four big moments in 1991/1992 happening, over maybe a 6-month stretch, that quickly moved hip-hop away from that vibe. First came a relatively weak Public Enemy album, then came a couple of really popular party hits (especially by Naughty By Nature & Kriss Kross). Those two, I would argue, weakened people's interest in the deep stuff. The third thing was the release of a pure "pop" rap group, Arrested Development, that brought staunch Afrocentrism in rap a mainstream sound that may have further alienated hip-hop heads. Finally, the riots in LA in 1992 put the West Coast brand of "consciousness" over the top. Afrocentric hip-hop really seemed ineffective as a means of expressing what the hip-hop nation was thinking anymore. A lot of people saw "F*ck Tha Police" as more meaningful to the struggle than rhymes by Public Enemy about Christopher Columbus stealing from the Indians. So from that point, it became all about gangstas and partying. Scarily, often the two concepts were portrayed as one and the same.
First off, let me say that I ain't old, am only 41. Further, I agree with Vox, NWA was not consciousness rap. That was Public Enemy, KRS-1 and Boogie Down Productions, X-Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, and Brand Nubian. Others that I occasionally listen to that are a part of this tradition would include The Coup, Dead Prez, Paris, Zion I, Talib Kweli, to name a few.

Again, it is not a matter of age. IMHO, most of the stuff out there now is simply garbage.
Maybe I'm really dating myself, but don't forget about "The Message" in 1982 from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five MC's!! tfro Wasn't that the first rap to talk about what was happening in the world as opposed to just what was happening at the party?

"It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under" fro
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Again, it is not a matter of age. IMHO, most of the stuff out there now is simply garbage.


Hot, stinkin', unoriginal, non-thinking, real loud garbage.

Not that you needed my help or anything.

Tupac is not on old school level by any means. He has some nice (if you can call it that) rap songs that uplift, Brenda's Gotta Baby, Dear Mama. Then he turns around and (c)raps about "every other city we go, every other video, no matter where I go I see the same hoes". What a trip.
Okay Vox ...

See, I was on the West Coast during this time ... and I listened (and partyied all night long) to the old school stuff. I think I stopped listening when NWA came along ... because it wasn't like the Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash and them ... and I know virtually nothing about Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions, except for hearing their name in passing.

However, this "conscious hip hop" as you say, was more about kings and queens ... do you mean as in African heritage or something like that? And how is militant different than thugged out? Having my best friend being a born and bred New Yorker has taught me that there was a big difference in the way/what we learned and the way y'all did. Two different mindsets completely. Smile But, what would you say was the message to you? And when you say Afrocentric ... please break that down for me? Smile

Thanks.

Oh, and I almost forgot ...

There, there, kresge ... it's okay ... we're all friends here! And you don't have to be old if you don't want to be! Big Grin

And MBM ... yes, songs like The Message and Bedtime Story and many others did have a message and a consciousness, but it was expressed in non-violent, non-cursing, non-sexual means. More rap than hip hop, I would say. They, I believe, were still part of the old school, wouldn't you say? Confused
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Okay Vox ...

See, I was on the West Coast during this time ... and I listened (and partyied all night long) to the old school stuff. I think I stopped listening when NWA came along ... because it wasn't like the Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash and them ... and I know virtually nothing about Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions, except for hearing their name in passing.


That kind of indicates on big difference between out there and over here, back then. On the east coast, the "old school" sound, I guess we should say the OLD old school style, of Grandmaster Flash, Whodini, Curtis Blow, & Afrika Bambaataa gave way to a more underground, sample heavy sound that started in 1986, typified by Rakim, BDP, & in '87 with Big Daddy Kane. It seems that West Coast rappers stayed with the "old-old school" vibe all the way up until NWA. In New York, the only places you could hear "Super Sonic" by JJ Fad was on white radio stations. But judging from the reference Ahmad gives to that song in his "Back in the Day" song (a great cut, by the way), you guys out there saw "Super Sonic" as real hip-hop. So I can imagine what a jarring experience it must've been to go from that kind of stuff straight to NWA. Here, by 86 or so, the big electronic beats, big synthesizers, and more or less simple rhyme flow of Kurtis Blow & Run DMC gave way to a more gritty, dark sound and more complicated rhymes. By the time they really started getting hard core, there was much more of a progression already laid out.

But the Afrocentric messages of PE, X-Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, BDP, & even Tribe Called Quest were more or less political in nature. The styles they wore followed suit as well. Check out this thread: http://africanamerica.org/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/844605126/m/6576068611/r/7166000811#7166000811

Faheem presents us with examples of some of what was going on lyrically back then. Hopefully that'll help answer your questions about the pro-black nature of the music back then.

And hold up, Kresge, I'm younger than you! So yeah, EbonyRose, who you callin' old?
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
... and you know who you are, but lemme call a couple of names anyway! Big Grin I'll direct this mostly to AudioGuy and Kweli4Real and Vox ... but anybody else with an answer please feel free to just jump right on in!
Why you gotta call a brother out??!! Wink

quote:
I'll try to keep this short...
Ooops

quote:
On the 4th of July while doing the family BBQ, there was a fight for the CD player. Mostly it was "Get that chit off my box!!!" and "Awww, Auntie, c'mon!!!" However, between my Funkadelic and Gap Band, we "compromised" with Tupac, who, I was told, I should be able to be "down" with...
Tupac was a very complex character, he was the son of a Panther and a child of his generation. He seemed to be at war with himself constantly, caught between continuing the legacy of the Panthers and living a "thug life". Although I was not a big fan of his, I had a great deal of respect for his abilities - I don't see Tupac as a "compromise" at all if you are from the "old school" there is no real reason for you to like him. JMHO.

quote:
As explained to me by my nephews (26 and 27 y/o) what Tupac does is more of a "reality rap" kind of thing...
How would they know??
quote:
...and it's not the booty-bumping, shoot everybody, bling-bling kind of crap thats so popular today.
Tupac was very much like that in his "real" life. He talked about "bitches and Ho's" as much as anybody else.

quote:
...Then it turned more of a social consciousness thing??? with the coming of the group NWA, who tried to tell of "life in the 'hood" and brought the cursing and "keeping it real" kind of aspect to it.
NWA was about selling records not social conscienceness. What ever would sell the most records is what they talked about. Social conscienceness came about from groups like Public Enemy and Boogiedown Productions - that was conscienceness!!! JMO.
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Okay guys ...

This has really helped me out! I think I'm getting it ... even though I've never even heard of half of the groups that Vox has mentioned! Eek

Back in the day for me, (and on the West Coast in general, I suppose) it really was all about the party and dancing, so, yeah, I believe we held on to our asthetic rap a little longer than there on the East Coast. Those who subscribed to NWA when they came on the scene definitely crossed a line ... sort of like, them on one side and Curtis Blow on the other!

As far as Tupac goes ... I always have had the same thoughts about him as AudioGuy just said. He always seemed just "thrown into the mix" with all the other ones ... but, he's so revered, that I thought perhaps I had just missed something.

I will ask to impose just a little more on y'all and if you would just give me the names of a couple of the early songs by NWA or Public Enemy or one of the others that I might be able to listen to and get an idea of what was going on, I think it would help me to bring it all home and see the difference in what I know as rap and what eventually turned into hip hop. I still play my "old" old school rap, as Vox has so elequently put it ... and I'm proud of it! At least I'm not ashamed to sing along with the words! Big Grin

quote:
And hold up, Kresge, I'm younger than you! So yeah, EbonyRose, who you callin' old?


All I'm sayin' is ... I'm older than you both, but I knew who to ask for the answers that would help me understand, didn't I? Razz Big Grin cabbage
Yes, that may very well be true in this day, MBM, I'm not sure.

Where I'm from, the rap music of Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Curtis Blow, etc. was never hip hop! Hip hop was what rap morphed into, and took on a life of it's own. However, in other parts of the country it seems as if it was fused together and no clear lines were drawn to differentiate. But, in today's lingo, I'm not sure what the proper terminology is! Roll Eyes
My dad loves Tupac and he is 46 if that says anything. but Tupac does tend to send double messages and i am saying that being a person who grew up listening to him (I'm only 23), but i love his music. He wrote a book a poetry well actually his mother published a collection of his poetry that was really good, and some of the poems talk about the same thing-him sending double messages like talking about revolution and then talking about the hot Bit@h he phucked-ebony rose maybe you should check that out as far as his music goes i don't think you would like the bulk of it but maybe a few select songs.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
This is a side point, but isn't rap the form of music that is produced by the Hip Hop culture?
I personally am torn when it comes to calling hip hop a culture...

To me a culture is something that is lived in a certain way, by a certain definitive group. Hip hop is far to broad to fit in my definition. I remember hearing a discussion about hip hop and it's cultural aspects and one of the people said that I was not living hip hop and therefore could not understand. I promptly reminded him that I was listening to hip hop before he was born (literally) and he was not qualified to determine the degree to which I was influenced by hip hop, I digress.

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that cultures define themselves, they are not defined by commercial entities - such as rec. cos., tv stations, etc. Hip hop at one time did define itself, but that is no longer the case. JMHO.
quote:
Originally posted by AudioGuy:
Hip hop at one time did define itself, but that is no longer the case. JMHO.


Why do you say that is no longer the case, AudioGuy?

My thought would be that hip hop actually is a culture, due to the fact that people are living it in practically ever corner of the globe. The dress, the music, the attitude, the mentality ... it's everywhere!

But you say it use to be, but isn't anymore? Why?
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Why do you say that is no longer the case, AudioGuy?
When "gangsta rap" came to the fore, hip hop ceased to define itself... from that point on, it was defined by the record labels.

quote:
My thought would be that hip hop actually is a culture, due to the fact that people are living it in practically ever corner of the globe. The dress, the music, the attitude, the mentality ... it's everywhere!
Just because people watch BET, does not mean that they are culturally aware... yes, they may look the part, but they know nothing of it's origin... for something to be a culture, those who are a part of it, at least know something of it's history (or they should)...

quote:
But you say it use to be, but isn't anymore? Why?
Because it is no longer self-defined and self-determined...

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