Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lemonade Was A Popular Drink And It Still Is...

It comes to this:

The fact that even though you've lived in four different decades but you don't feel it. The fact that some of your peers actually took that shit seriously and still hit the clubs with the reckless tenacity of a twenty five year old when you've realized that it ain't that much vodka and tequila in the world...

And the fact that the ass you're fixated with that's rocking to some banging ass rhythm track in staccato and seizure infused lighting, as well as the drink you're consuming has been created, crafted, written, mixed and in the tight, firm housing of a twenty three year old.

Times have changed. So have you.

I still love Hip Hop and all of its elements the same way I always have. A good record still feels the same in my head, causing me to nod incessantly as I wonder what in the world possessed the beat maker to sequence that joint like that! I still try to picture in my mind the processes that caused that particular jam to be irked out of the composer's soul. It still feels the same because that's how I approached it as a kid. I still try to figure the record out by letting the lyrical content paint its picture and the accompanying track provide rhythmic guidance.

It doesn't feel like 35 years ago when I first heard "DJ Riz is in the house and he'll turn it out without a doubt" on a bootlegged reel to reel over my uncle Butch's house, but I did. And it was. I also remember sitting in my friend John's bedroom in Colorado Springs watching 'Pump It Up' and checking the video for 'Who's Gonna Take The Weight', going ape shit over both the monotone, polemic lyrics from the emcee and the DJ's awesome cutting of the 'This Stuff Is Really Fresh' whistle/break in the chorus. I've always thought of my former rap partner/DJ MorninMan (nee: DJ Guillotine back int he 90s) as the 'Primo I knew' in the Midwest because of how he studied how he crafted his breaks. We tried to be GangStarr. No one can duplicate either Guru or Premier. They cannot be touched. That was 19 years ago. I copped that rap group's first tape more than 20 years ago. The group reshuffled and this was the second album of cuts that defined my listenership of Hip Hop as a young adult. It defined who I was back then.

Come to think of it, it still does.

We'll never get another GangStarr record again.

Keith Elam was 48 when he passed the day before my birthday last week. GangStarr had been on life support since 2003. I was a grown man before the first album came out.

Funny how time flies.

And now, like many more that have passed before me, I must find a way to continue to nod my head to them funky-ass break beats... With one less person to rock out with. One of my close friends lost someone personally closer this week as well. A distant friend also lost someone both distant and close at the same time a few weeks ago and my brother from another mother still grieves for a love supreme, lost mere months ago.

We find ways to push on.

I got chances to see Keith perform. We never met, but he found a way to get in my head and express what I absolutely could not more than 22 years ago. He still had the right gathering of lyrical content to keep me feeling like that little kid who had no earthly clue who in the hell Coke La Rock was when he spit that famous verbal gem over a Kool Herc break.

Keithy E The Guru kept me young. Guru of GangStarr kept my ass lively on older legs. Guru's Jazzmatazz refined me into maturity. Baldhead Slick kept me street by keeping my ears firmly pressed to them. DJ Premier kept me connected by perfecting what DST and Grand Wizard Theodore innovated all the way back in 75'.

I may be older and a little broken down, but I am still, without a doubt and forever will be Hip Hop.

Let me be the first to give the Master his props:

God bless you Grand Master Guru. Rest in peace.



JStar said...

May he rest in peace and his legacy remain in our hearts. The kids today, have no idea what REAL rap is and the lyrical content of raps....You took it wayyy back on us! I remember the days when rappers used to tell stories and share life lessons and had real content in their music...He had such an impact on me when I was younger, along with other great artists that shall never be forgotten! This is a great tribute :)

The Brown Blogger said...

Make no mistake that Hip Hop today still has the qualities that it had way back when.

I cram to understand why with all of this technology, folk in my peer group actually believe that 'the real' either doesn't exist or has faded away.

Guru's catalog and performance schedule proved that. He and Primo and their works are a part of my life.

Deb said...


You can't duplicate old school anymore. Time does fly, and way too fast. I remember 26 years ago listening to the first album of Salt-n-Pepa, KRS1, Dougie Fresh, etc. - and it seems as though none of these new artists can come close.

Beautifully written! :)