Hip hop has taken over my life for the last couple of months. I've recently realized why I feel so awkward when my friends are in the car and they're spitting the new Future verse while I'm sitting there with a stupid grin on my face not knowing a single word. It's because I have hardly any connection with current hip-hop. When I hear the radio's top 40 hip-hop songs I've only heard of maybe 20. This realization screwed with my head somewhat because hip-hop is a huge part of my culture and I embrace my culture. The good and the bad parts of it. It also has an influence on my artwork because I draw people from urban lifestyles. A lot of my work revolves around black culture because it is my culture. So I had to find a way to connect to this music. I went through my iTunes to see what artists I had under the hip-hop genre. It was a very weak selection. All I could see was a huge Beastie Boys collection and a J.Cole song here and there. I remembered that the first CD I ever owned was the Beastie Boys License To Ill. I begged my dad for this $5.00 CD for weeks until we finally went into the record store and got it together. I was beyond thrilled. Beastie Boys is hands down one of my top 5 favorite artists to this day. My first connection with music was from the hip-hop genre. So why was it so hard to find that connection again? When I was younger I can remember my father playing the music that he grew up with, jazz, R&B, some pop, and hip-hop. I had already connected with every genre he raised me on except for hip-hop. While rooting through his CD collection, I got together every rapper that I knew I would somewhat like. For hours, I popped in one CD after the next and took a short listen to each song. Eventually, I got a very good selection. This is when I realized that I connect more with old school hip-hop than new school. Especially the 90s era. Common, Mos Def, A tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, Bone Thugs N' Harmony, Biggie, The Fugees, KRS-One, Wu-Tang, and even 2 Live Crew. There was a lot going on with African Americans in the 90's and the music always will reflect the times. I feel a really strong connection with my childhood and whenever I hear a song from it, my heart instantly melts because it reminds me of a very good time in my life. This is why My connection with hip-hop will mostly be from the 90s. 90s hip-hop also had the neo-soul influence because that was booming during those times too. Neo-soul incorporated jazz and hip-hop into the genre too. Neo-soul is the genre-defying sound of my childhood. Whenever I hear Lauryn Hill or Erykah Badu I think of playing jump rope outside and my mother singing to it in the car. So all together 90s hip-hop was made for me to listen to. It's culture has influenced my artwork and will still do so today. I recently re-watched a documentary that Ice-T made about the roots of rap and hip-hop. It was a really good watch because I have this new found appreciation for rapping itself and how much talent it takes to be in this genre and to really succeed at it.
Here's the link to the documentary trailer: