Monday, June 21, 2010

What you know about that? What you know about that? What you know about that?

Well as a matter of fact, I know quite a bit about "that". That, of course being hip hop (for those of you who didn't get the reference of this entry's title it was to T.I.'s 2006 banger, cleverly titled "What You Know". For those of you who don't know who T.I. is...maybe you should skip this post).

I first TRULY discovered hip hop in 6th grade at Bates Middle School. Prior to that I was exposed to some 36 Chambers thanks to my big bro, but at the time, the Wu was a little too heavy for a 10 year old girl who, until that time, had one goal in life: to hit that epic high note from Mariah Carey's "Someday".

However when I got to middle school artists like Lil' Kim, Puffy & Ma$e, Lil' Cease, Keith Sweat, Total, LL Cool J, Coolio, and Bone Thugs N Harmony (bone, bone, bone, booone, bone) eased me into a world of killer base lines, dirty lyrics and just plain old amazing music. I remember watching Adina Howard's "Freak Like Me" and changing the channel as soon as my mom would walk in the room.

In High School my tastes matured...Q-Tip, Jay-Z (who in my opinion fell off after the year 2000- Black Album was all production- and I've seen him live 6 times over the course of 10 years so I can back this statement up), DMX, DJ Clue, Hot Boys/Juvenile/Weezy, Trina, Redman & Method Man, Nas, BIGGIE SMALLS, Pharrell, Craig David, Tupac, Ja Rule, Outkast. Oh god, my entire high school career was one big hip hop soundtrack... Dre 2001 will forever remind me of that doomed ski trip that I lied to my parents to go on with all the seniors when I was a freshman. Then there was the time I drove to D.C. to see the Cash Money/Rough Ryders concert (epic I tell you)when I stayed out until 2am on a school night WITH my car even though I only had a learner's permit (yah, I thought I was a badass and I kinda was).

My love didn't stop when I went to college...sure I have appreciation for other music, but nothing will ever speak to me like the Dipset era of 2002-2004... Sophomore year my BFF Ereeves and I went to see Dipset live at the Apollo and bought T-shirts that read "Back Like Cooked Crack" and were probably way too drunk to be there in any safe way...I also got DEEP into the mixtape game...(yes, I feel I have enough street cred to call it that). Weezy, T.I., Chamillionaire, Bun B & Pimp C, Dead Prez, Cam, Juelz...y'all got me through college and 100's of miles. My mixtapes got me through grueling long runs in the heat. Some GREAT hard core hip hop running songs:

Mobb Deep- Shook Ones
Weezy - Sky is the Limit
Dipset- Crunk Muzik (great for running up hills)
Dead Prez - Pimp the System
T.I. - Top Back

Nowadays, I don't listen as much as I used to...for one I don't drive a car (although this weekend I drove for 11 hours to and from md in traffic which prompted me to discuss hip hop goday), for two I run with my dog instead of my iPod and for three...shit just ain't comin out like it used to. Of course Weezy is still prolific. Young me some Gucci Mane (GUCCI). I'm feeling Nicki Minaj. Verdict is out on Drake...he's made a few hits, but not sure if he's a real talent. However, you can still hear some really great music on XM, specifically channel 66 and 65. I can't stand that BS Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris, Flo-Rida, and - I apologize for this statement but - "rap for white people" bs that plays on mainstream radio. Let's hear more dirty gritty bleeped-out not-for-your-mama's-ears rap that they play in the club and the white people stop dancing because Timbaland or the Black Eyed Peas didn't produce it.

Whoops, did I say that? What can I say...I'm a-head...or at least that's what they call me in the streets. I'm a product of public school and often shock people with my knowledge of hip hop lyrics and culture. I was into hip hop before it became mainstream and hope that rock becomes popular again so rap can go back underground.

Here's some reference points for my super caucasian friends: