It is said that love is the highest form of appreciation.
Hip Hop is one of the highest forms of creative expression.
Truth be told, Hip Hop spoken in the language of love is one of the highest forms of this existence.
Birthed in the South Bronx at 1520 Sedgwick avenue as part of a block party hosted by the Kool Herc, little would any of the attendants of the party know the entity created that fine evening was part of a seismic shift never seen before or since.
She is made up of 5 pillars - The Master of Ceremony, the DJ, b-boy, graffiti artist and philosopher. Future legends from the South Bronx to South Jamaica are cultivated soon after.
She took my virginity in '90-'91. My older cousin Ray damn near blew the deck off that Special Ed tape...we then used a pencil to wind it back together when the reel got loose. Happened too often but we were fiends to the creations that pumped through those speakers, much to the dismay of our Skah Shah loving parents.
We'd have to wait about 60 seconds, which felt like eons to rewind side A and replay it again. Linear notes were hardly left unturned and my mind took like a fly for the wall of Chung King, D+D, Battery, Quad studios to witness those sessions. This was well before the concept of compact discs omitted or put your favorites on shuffle came to fruition. I do recall the culture being fun for all parties involved....well, that's until I learned about industry rule no. 4080.
She's already a global entity by this time. The two signatures records that were passed down to me from the elder Gods are "The Message" and "Paid In Full". This actually may still hold true to this day (Dhantay Wilder voice) depending on who you ask but I'll have the OG's tell it. Either way, Rakim still has the globe at his fingertips as the model MC at the turn of the decade.
If Nigeria has a style of b-boy dancing decades before it surfaced in the Bx then it stands to reason that our brothers and sisters on the continent had to be privy to Q-Tip and Phife's deadly 1-2 combination, right?
"Take it Personal" represented a head boppers dream as Premier's immaculate scratching over Guru's smooth cadence danced all over your minds eye.
Video Music Box every Saturday morning became part of the ritual. Ralph McDaniels needs an institution for what he brought forth with that platform. Let this note be another case for that. "Hey Young World" is indubitably a classic, Ricky gets many of us a passport, stamp and first class seats to London. Doug E. Fresh also provides the beat for the ride there.
Mc Lyte's "Georgy Porgy" is still one of the most gut wrenching tunes to ever come across my ears. She was also my first crush and still the archetype of what LL spoke to me on "Around The Way Girl".
Prince Rakeem along with his cousins the Genius and Ol' Dirty Bastard are on a ferry back to Shaolin to round up six of their brothers and twelve new recordings after a neglected first mission and are still a year away from their legendary second mission to seize the planet. I soon would come to the realization that the Akai SP1200's are a long lost family member.
Latifah showed us that the ladies were first. Naughty By Nature came through with smashes, one after the other and Reggie Noble is the first reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix of the sport.
Meanwhile out in California, Pac informed us about Brenda's baby while Dre breathed new life into Parliament and presents Snoop to the world.
Nas' "Halftime" has the whole New York buzzin when it was needed most, calming the savage beast even if for a moment in April of '94. B.I.G. had a similar path but ya'll already knew that. “Unbelievable” still knocks like I heard it on the radio for the first time.
Medina (Brooklyn), as it was referred to back then was on a whole nother frequency - Acura Legends, babes in tight or baggy Guess jeans, dozens of dirt bikes down Flatbush, summer jams at Wingate Park and the Stuy. Slave theater and Albee Square. Kings County where stars are born. *shrugs*.
Jordan VI's were cemented as icons, well before Mike takes the crown from Magic in June. My Chicago fam can confirm this. It's silhouette and discreet design reminds me of Michael Knight + Kit and I continue to refer to it as such.
Mum and Dad take a much needed holiday in the Dominican Republic and learn how to roll cigars in the process.
A couple of years later, she aided me through the toughest moments I could have never prepared for.
1995: he hits record on the tape player. Then stop when the song fades. The back of 90 min TDK tapes are penciled in with the latest track lists...something about dreams of R&B bitches (just playin), halfway crooks, cuttin headz and shark biters, but more on that another day. It felt like there was one classic after the other that year. If you were of the uninitiated, it may have been overwhelming. This thing of ours goes well beyond the space + time processes.
Who knew that after 46 years you'd be the behemoth of culture, no other genre comes close to your impact. There is hardly anywhere you can go on this lil planet where it's impact hasn't been felt. I’m ever grateful for the lessons you’ve embedded within me. Head to toe, sun up to sun down and with each breath I remain that inquisitive kid wondering who mixed and engineered that remix.
Of course I can’t forget those we’ve lost in the process, along with countless others who have left their mark in it’s brief history:
Scott La Rock
O.D.B. / Osiris / Big Baby Jesus / Dirt McGirt
DJ Jam Master Jay