I thought I’d start this off by quoting from my favorite hip-hop songs of all time. I’m sure we all know that song, #but I want you to go back to it and listen carefully to Common’s rap there – in fact, I’ll give you the links for both the lyrics and to listen to the song. Now, I’ve got a question for you…and I also want you to ask yourself and those around you this very same question: What is YOUR role in the culture? Just take a minute, think about this…. What is “having a role in the culture”? I often meet people who believe that “loving” Hip Hop or being Hip Hop means that one has to rap, break, deejay, tag, make beats or any of the physical elements and extended elements associated with Hip Hop. What many don’t get is that Hiphop is a mentality, a state of being and also a train of thought AND Hip Hop is our KULTURE What is This implies that one doesn’t actually have to partake in the “physical elements” (lack of a better word) to BE Hip Hop or to LIVE Hip Hop.
I can tell you that it begins with your knowledge and perspective of yourself and of those in your cipher (those around you). That, however, I’d say beings you’re your perspective of the world, your world and our world – remember, there is the world as it is; the world as you see it and the world as we collectively see it. This allows you to acknowledge and understand the environment and/or society in which you are in and form a relationship with it, in other words, a means to relate to it and see it as your environment and society and also our environment and society. This may work the other way round, or even backwards for some people, we are a collective of individuals after. Nevertheless, the point is this: when you take ownership of something you immediately are protective over it and also want the best for it (in some cases, from it). If it can be nurtured, you want to see it blossom and prosper. Basically, you love it and respect it. Similarly, when you encounter something which belongs to someone else and that owner seems to respect, love and protect it, you’re likely to acknowledge and respect that too. Not necessarily love it, but cautious and certainly won’t want to inflict intentional harm or damage to it. If we took a minute to look at Hip Hop like this, if we as individuals take ownership of it by saying I AM HIP HOP, we take become it, we embody it and start to live it, just as any culture should be. In order to BE Hip Hop, we have to first accept it as OUR culture, and not just YOU, but it is the Culture of others as well and we have to respect that. It’s not about one’s music, one’s riches, one’s fashion-sense or such other, Hip Hop is not about that. Hip Hop is about the person; that individual under those clothes, the individual not their diamonds, record sales and cars. Also, its not about an individual’s ability to rap or emcee, or who the best rapper is, who signed to which record label and all that mess. Hip Hop is about the Individual and that individual’s character, train of thought, way of being and way of life.