Although hip hop was formed during the late 1960’s in the Bronx and has roots in traditional Jamaican music, there is no doubt its influence has traveled across the globe. Nearly every country in the world brings its own unique flavor of rap, mixing and re-mixing old familiar elements with foreign. Swedish rap, anyone? Ultimately, hip hop music tells a story that is distinctly individual and yet also reflective of a greater narrative, which is part of what gives it such wide appeal (well, this and a great beat!).
One of my favorite things about the library is being able to discover new hip hop artists that I've never heard of before. Chris Webby is the most recent. Even though I only discovered him a month ago, he's been doing music in the form of mix tapes since at least...
"Who the heck is Riff Raff?" That might be the question you ask yourself when you're first exposed to Riff Raff. The answer to that question is a Houston rapper with a visual and audio style all his own. Wearing a cascade of bright colors, sporting zig-zag facial hair and...
Funny man and legendary comic Dave Chappelle spent his 41st birthday (August 24th) at Red Rocks Amphitheatre pushing the envelope of comedy and remaining consistent from start to finish. Dave Chappelle's agreeable stage presence and ability to connect with the crowd was immediate! This was my first time seeing him live and his raunchy, comedic, gut-busting style did not disappoint. I have always admired Dave's way of presenting racial stereotypes, politics and pop culture.
Listening to Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa, The Message - Grandmaster Flash, Roxanne Roxanne - UTFO (Untouchable Force Organization), I felt like break dancing but did the calculations: age + height + gravity = 911. The urge to "boogie" hit me while I was reading the book The Legends of Hip Hop by Justin Bua.
I would describe him in the most literal sense as an "Hip Hop Artist." Justin Bua brings us an excellent critique of some of Hip Hop's greatest. His discourse on Hip Hop's Legends instantly took me back to that place we called the Student Union at Metropolitan State College talking Hip Hop over slices of pizza and soda.
Justin incorporates a Hip Hop narrative while reflecting on the affects of Hip Hop on his life. His colorful portraits of Hip Hop's great artists appeal to that "inner Hip Hop" in all of us who grew up during that era.
Mos Def, who announced last month that he will now be known as Yasiin Bey, is back with Talib Kweli performing as the unique hip hop act, Black Star. These guys are both amazing on their own, and together they're dynamite. They've gone underground and independent now, but they've each built up a strong legacy of albums and films to study up on while we await whatever they might come out with next!
Yasiin's solo debut in 1996 was called Universal Magnetic. In 1999, he teamed up with Talib Kweli, known for being a "conscientious rapper" whose lyrical focus is on black self-worth and social empowerment. They came out with one of the greatest rap albums of the day, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are...Black Star. The same year, Yasiin came out with the solo album Black on Both Sides.