Why I love the 80s, pt1: Hip Hop
No, hip hop didn’t magically start in the 80s, but the decade did see hip hop gain all sorts of traction, becoming a huge cultural phenomenon. This you already knew. Many books could be and have been written Basically, this post is for me to say one thing:
Hip Hop is beautiful.
Personally, I’m a junkie for all things of cultural relevance (which essentially means everything), and the Hip Hop movement was fundamentally revolutionary in cultural terms. It gave “urban youth” (this mainly means black kids in The Bronx & Harlem, at least at the time) a voice and a presence in society at large, exposing a whole other side of America that had never really seen the light of day.
From how I see it, black popular music was born from a rigid business-oriented model, namely Motown/Tamla, and while Motown was very much necessary as a means to get a black foot in the door, its exploited artists and assimilated style had no way of connecting with “urban youth”. Finally, Hip-Hop came along. There was no business here, no tricks, no flamboyent hair, no awkward choreographed dance routines, no pining for the love of someone who for whatever reason isn’t yours. Nah man, that’s weak. This was, as I gather, for the people by the people. It was a sort of self-nourishment for alienated communities. The b-boys, MCs, DJs, and graffiti artists it inspired were driven away from the destructive alternatives of gangs and such, and in turn, their products drove others from street corners and into clubs. Counteracting the stagnant, self-defeating nature of ghetto neighborhoods, there was finally something creative that the people could call their own.
Mention Kurtis Blow, Doug E Fresh, Run-DMC, Slick Rick, Eric B. & Rakim, The Jungle Brothers, Boogie Down, etc. to any 80s urbanite, and watch their face light up. This isn’t nostalgia. It was a revolution that _obviously_ is still driving a big part of America.
All of this, but I’ve yet to say that Hip Hop is a bunch of ass-shaking FUN.
Come check some FRESH BEATZZZZ at the 80s Dance.
P.S. I have no beef with Smokey Robinson or The Temptations...