Indy Hip Hop World

"A setback is just a setup for a comeback." --from Bebe Moore Campbell's "72 Hour Hold"

Friday, February 20, 2009

"When Rap Music Had a Conscience"

I was at the library recently and I saw this book, "When Rap Music Had Conscience: The Artists, Organizations, and Historic Events that Inspired and Influenced the "Golden Age" of Hip-Hop from 1987-1996", in the Black History Month display area. It seemed right up my alley after I briefly flipped through it.

This book is a Cliff notes to the bigger volume - that does not exist. I know that the author, Tayannah Lee McQuillar, knows this. She has to know it just in the way that the book is structured.

The book has a simple design: paperback, not too bulky and a nice sized font. Oh and there are headings throughout the book and summaries to compliment those sections. Makes for easy reading ... though the contents just meaty enough, yet not too heavy. Sort of designed for you to nod along and/or she dangles just enough information for you to want to do some further research on your own.

Here are some of the topics:
  • Droppin Science and Planet Rock
  • The Sacred Scrolls
  • The Rant Tape
  • Hip-Hops Underground Railroad
This is good stuff. The groups that she references throughout the book have left an indelible mark on my life: Public Enemy, Afrikaa Bambaataa, KRS-One, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, De La Soul, Gangstarr, Eric B & Rakim and so many more.

But she goes on to validate what many of us already attest to and that is the culture of hip hop. She addresses the influence of hip hop in films - many of those references are to Spike Lee Joints.

And in terms of the conscienceness, McQuillar weaves in some historical orators and academics and just plain ole 'folks you should know about' ... if you don't already know. Scholars like Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Yosef A. A. ben-Jocahannan, Dr. John Henrik Clarke and others. Just those three could keep you busy for the next 12 months. She mentions them as the jumping off point for many hip hop emcees as they chose to educate their listeners.

Here are the folks that are listed in the "Hip-Hop Underground" section:
  • A-Alikes
  • Dead Prez
  • The Coup
  • The Perceptionists
  • Zion-1
This is good stuff. So get to gettin hip hoppers. There's going to be a test on when hip hop had a conscience ... because at one time, it did. kfox.

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Blogger tom billy said...

Currently we have been working on two new project called Certified Mixtapez
and Free Mixtapes .
However we are trying to get all the DJs involve with this project.

12:02 PM  

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