When was the last time you cried over hip-hop? by admin | Jan 12, 2007 | Black Power, Culture, Hip-hop | 6 comments Just a question. For what it is worth, I don’t believe I ever have. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window) Related 6 Comments E.C. Hopkins on January 12, 2007 at 6:31 pm I cried only once over Hip-Hop, but for a good reason. I cried after I listened to Rakimâ€™s classic rhyme in â€œI Ainâ€™t no Jokeâ€ for the first time, in particular his brilliant stanza about the 21 MCâ€™s he would eat up at the same time. “I take seven MCs, put ’em in a line/ And add seven more brothas who think they can rhyme/ Well, it’ll take seven more before I go for mine/ And that’s 21 MCs ate up at the same time.” I must have hit stopâ€”rewindâ€”and play 21 times, so I could listen to those four lines again and again. Rakimâ€™s poetic brilliance moved me to tears that day. I had never heard anything as incredible as that. And, nothing had ever made me feel so invincible. Rakim helped me to excel academically and athletically in high school. I absorbed his bravado and power, was motivated by it, and I strove to live up to my arrogance. Life and readings have sobered me greatly since I heard Rakimâ€™s brilliant poetry for the first time; but that sublime stanza still sends chills down my spine. Though I no longer cry over Hip-Hop (not even while listening to Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Ras Kass, or Common in their finest poetic moments), I have wailed annually since the birth of NWA over how many of Hip-Hopâ€™s modern practitioners (today, the genre has few artists) have failed the art form. I wail for those who must come to Hip-Hop first via its modern popular practitioners. I donâ€™t weep for those exposed to the art through the poets and artists, such as Boogie Down Productions, who used the art form nobly in the late 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. Many of us got to hear beautiful and artful Hip-Hop and we should now have well-cultivated and cultured Hip-Hop tastes. Most of us probably follow Dead Prezâ€™s advice in â€œRadio Freqâ€ (though its hard not to wince at their unnecessarily frequent use of â€˜niggaâ€™, they still make an excellent point). I wail for todayâ€™s teens and twenty-somethings who believe practitioners such as 50-Cent and Lilâ€™ John are the best of Hip-Hop. I agree their songs are Hip-Hop (in my opinion, very bad Hip-Hop), but there are hundreds of better songs, which might never get played over the radio, that I would listen to hundreds of times before I would suffer through a single 50-Cent or Lilâ€™ John song, let alone an entire album. If practitioners of this low merit were all that Hip-Hop had to offer, then Hip-Hop might pain my ears and eyes every time I would try to suffer through one these practitionersâ€™ songs or videos. That pain from suffering their grotesque worsifications would definitely bring me to tears. Rob Odell on January 12, 2007 at 11:57 pm September 13, 1996. I still lament what the hip hop generation lost that day. E.C. Hopkins on January 13, 2007 at 5:14 am Rob: Your comment reminded me of somethingâ€”a journal entry I never wrote down. I wrote it down. Iâ€™ll post it here on Blacksmythe. Thanks for reminded me. My wife and I were in Vegas for the fight the night the shooting happened. Earlier that day, I got to meet the boxer Kenny Norton. He was in great shape and looked ready for a title fight, maybe a rematch with Big George. My wife and sister snapped a few pictures with Omar Epps and Marlon Wayans in the MGM. My wife allowed me to glance at Sallie Richardson. Later, we watched the short fight, and then hit the town. We learned about the shooting upon our return to our room. We sat in our hotel room, stunned, as we watched the news footage. And, I had a strange feeling that this shooting would be his last. Some of my friends thought he would pull through; they believed he was as invincible as the character he portrayed in his Death Row albums. I was relieved when I learned he did not die immediately after the shooting. Yet, I had been prepared for the news that came a few days later. An older brother of a close college friend of mine promoted concerts in Maryland. During a weekend visit to Maryland in early 1994, Tupac was a performer for one of his concerts at Bowie State University. The main attraction was a Go-Go Band (I think it was the Northeast Groovers) and their talented dancers, who must have been trained as gymnasts. Imagine gymnast-Go-Go dancers, that Go-Go rhythm, and a bunch of college-aged Blacks, many of us in the best shapes of our lives, dancing in an over-crowded auditorium. We were packed in like sardines in a can and it got hot and sweaty. So, there were a bunch of clothes that came off of a bunch of uninhibited folks. Go-Go had a way of doing that to folks in those days. But it was all in good fun. We were sexy, not debauched and tasteless like some of the stuff I see when I flip through the channels and catch glimpses of some videos these days. After the concert (and a shower), I had an opportunity to hang out with the Tupac years before his dark Death Row alter ego had fully possessed him. During a five-minute conversation, we talked about God, philosophy, our wanderlust, and art. We didnâ€™t talk for a moment about his music or the fact that his classic stanza â€œStop looking at me hard â€˜cause your buffa/ My nine is buckinâ€™ bigger motherf***s/ Turning men to suckas/ N***s want to start a lilâ€™ ruckus/ Better duck â€˜cause I be poppinâ€™ them motherf***s.â€ would play through my bulky portable CD player before every trip to the gym. And, while that brother looked at me, I felt as if he were trying to look into me, and as if he were begging for me to look into him. It was a weird feeling. He talked to me as if only he and I were in the room. And, as we talked, I began to think he wanted more than the world had to offer during a single lifetime. He wanted to know and do everything, read every book, see every inch of the world, touch every person. I would have wept over his death if I weren’t so convinced that this genius prophet was not meant to stay here long. Perhaps, that brother was mercifully released from a cage that had become too small for himâ€”the worldâ€”that night. Rob Odell on January 13, 2007 at 7:24 am E.C. I couldn’t agree more: “I would have wept over his death if I werenâ€™t so convinced that this genius prophet was not meant to stay here long. Perhaps, that brother was mercifully released from a cage that had become too small for himâ€”the worldâ€”that night.” That’s really tight that you have that kind of record to go back to of such a crazy, emotional, momentous event. And can I say that I wish I had had that kind of insight back then. I remember I was 16 years old. I had heard about the shooting but I felt like Biggie famously said about it, you know that it really wasn’t ish, I mean come on this was Tupac the guy’s immortal right? I didn’t even know why I was so busted up, I guess it just goes to show how this hip-hop stuff has infiltrated our lives to such an extent that a white boy from middle class Kansas City cried over a black rapper who was the son of a Black Panther. I didn’t even really get his significance and what him as an image and personality meant to my generation and to hip-hop in general until years after and couldn’t help but want more, desire to see how deep this cat really represented the various tendencies within hip-hop all wrapped up into one persona. He was the beauty and the agony of hip-hop all unto himself. I wanted to see the development of us reflected through the development of Tupac, in short I wanted another album. But maybe your right, maybe he just would have become his opposite, maybe he would have come to represent politics that we would loathe, I don’t know, maybe it was better to be left with only what he was and nothing more. Who’s to say? But even if he did I’d still tell him, “I ain’t mad at cha.” R.I.P. Tupac Amaru Shakur Krisna Best on January 13, 2007 at 4:20 pm I didn’t cry over 2Pac or Biggie, even though I think I understood the former’s political significance and the latter’s unique lyrical ability. I wasn’t happy either. I think I may have gotten a little teary-eyed watching the documentary, Tupac Resurrection. Lester Spence on January 15, 2007 at 2:53 am i appreciate your responses. i remember where i was when tupac died. i was on the bus going to north campus, when the (white) bus driver heard something over the dispatch and said something to the effect, “i never listened to his music anyway.” i thought he was going to survive too, because it seemed as if he had nine lives.