Thursday, February 07, 2013

HipHop Culture 101
-In Defense of Lord Jamar-

I recently read an Article by Michael Muhammad Knight entitled "Kanye West in a Kilt Has Lord Jamar So Hard Right Now" that was in response to Lord Jamar's recent Tweets, Vlad TV Interview and New Song entitled "Lift Up Your Skirt". Lift Up Your Skirt was inspired by Lord Jamar's stance on the Skirt/Kilt Kanye West -in particular- has recently worn, skinny jeans and ultimately the effeminization of males in HipHop Culture. After reading Knight's Article I was compelled to further add-on about what I understand this issue to be. 
One of the things that many people need to first consider about HipHop is that it's a Culture, meaning "a way of life". This way of living is comprised of various elements such as Breakin (Dance), Emceein, Graffiti Art, Deejayin, Beatboxin, Fashion, Language, Knowledge, Entrepreneurialism and any other components that make it a Culture. These elements were first forged and defined as a Culture by Black/Brown youth within the inner cities of New York, beginning in The Bronx. This definition did not come from thin air or a position of privilege or entitlement; it arose out of a position/condition of making a way out of no way. The founders of HipHop Culture were Black/Brown youth; the children of the Segregation/Civil Rights/Black Power Movement and Oppressed/Colonized people from the Islands. As the children of these conditions, our goal was never Cultural Assimilation or seeking acceptance/validation from a Western Society that rejected us; we created our own way of life. (Basic HipHop Timeline) So this way of life or Culture we call HipHop was born out of the socioeconomic, cultural and geopolitical considerations (and influences) of our fore parents, our chronology and our environment. This is one reason "sampling" has always been a  part of HipHop Culture; it demonstrates that connection to the chronology, cultural roots and musical contributions of our fore parents. This does not mean that there were NO Caucasians present because some did participate. This only means that we, Black/Brown people, were and still are the First World (Indigenous) People of HipHop Culture; not the minority, second class citizens or Third World people. The only reason HipHop is present today is because it was passed on from one generation to the next. It was this form of cultural propagation that made this reproduction possible. So from a Cultural perspective, there have always been principles and core values to ensure the birth of HipHop's future "offspring". There  have also been foreign values outside of HipHop that were never advocated because they would not ensure the birth of HipHop's future "offspring".  So HipHop today, in 2013, is now a Global Phenomenon and this is because of its Cultural virility (power to procreate) and fertility (power to produce).

Lord Jamar

Lord Jamar spoke clearly on how the effeminization of males within HipHop in particular (via skinny jeans, skirts/kilts and etc.) is the result of foreign values being injected into this Culture that is altering its course and potential to reproduce. In other words, he was pointing out the cross-pollination of values going on between HipHop Culture and Western Society. He argued that this effeminization is a  process and practice that is causing a HipHop Cultural Genocide. He also pointed out that effeminization has never been a part of core values of HipHop Culture, nor has it ever been reflected in the social norms/more of those who live this way of life. However, we do cee this process and practice as an acceptable "lifestyle" norm within Western Society at large. For example: Homosexuality, as a practice, is no longer defined as a mental disorder (per the DSM-IV) but a lifestyle that Western Society openly embraces; although this style, defined as life, does not actually propagate life. In other words, if all of us chose to practice Homosexuality right now, there would not be another generation of human beings on the Planet once we die. All opinions and feelings about Homosexuality aside, that is the genealogical reality; this practice violates the first law of nature: Self Preservation. The only option for those who do choose to practice Homosexuality is to manufacture artificial means to propagate life such as: the building of sperm banks, in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, human cloning and etc. As Western Society continues to inject it's values within HipHop, also consider what artificial means (people, places and things) it likewise employs to propagate it's life.

Some people feel and/or think Lord Jamar's stance was a personal attack against Homosexuals. No, his stance was  for the conservation, production and perpetuation of a Culture he and other Black/Brown people created -that has now gotten into the hands of cultural bandits. Kanye West and various other Entertainers are the ambassadors of these bandits and use their status within Western Society to primarily reinforce its values, not the Cultural principles and core values of HipHop's First World (Indigenous) People. I know the difference because I am the younger sibling of the youth who created HipHop Culture. Yet what about the youth of today? Would they know the difference between HipHop's core values and Western Society's foreign values being injected in our Culture? Those who know our chronology probably do. Those who don't know this chronology typically look at Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, P-Diddy and other Entertainers choices as a simple fashion statement, not a Declaration of Independence from an Indigenous HipHop Nation. Lord Jamar was not the first person to raise the issue against Cultural Assimilation; this stance was present in HipHop's inception and was always reflected in it's various "counter-culture" elements -as Western Society deemed them. It was only when Western Corporate Interests saw that they could make money from HipHop that they eventually began separating Emceein & Deejayin (Rap) from the other elements in order to get paid. And if the Rap didn't coincide with those Interests they either didn't promote it, undermined it or simply paid "Sellouts" (as we called them) to do it. This is still the Corporate formula of today and even though the term Sellout has become archaic amongst the present generation, Sellouts still functionally exist.

In closing, keep in mind that HipHop as a Culture is now becoming a Global Phenomenon that is primarily in the hands of Western Corporate Interests. These Interests primarily reflect the core values of the West yet many of HipHop's Indigenous People (and progeny) have bought into these values and dance to the tune these Corporate Pipers are playing. The euro-centered materialism, objectification of women, effeminization of males, rugged individualism and etc. are all examples of Acultural elements that never represented the roots of HipHop Culture. Within this Culture we always had proverbial wisdom, colloquialisms and slang that reinforced our core values. "Biting" meant to be original and not copy. "Crossover" meant to keep our Culture originally HipHop, not assimilate or become Pop (Popular Culture). These, and various other  terms/phrases, reflect core values a lot of the present generation is no longer aware of and do not advocate. These, and various other  terms/phrases, are not reflected in alot of the mainstream Rap Music or advocated by many Entertainers that are supported by Western Corporate Interests. An example of this is how this Society originally declared the HipHop elements Emceein & Deejayin (Rap) as "Jungle Music" and refused to play it on the radio. Michael Muhammad Knight's Article clearly reflects a lack of awareness/connection with the chronology of HipHop Culture and the social norms/mores that helped transmit this way of life from one generation to the next. While many of these social norms/mores were overt, much of the Culture was covert and transmitted non-verbally; unspoken rules and regulations the Indigenous People of HipHop forged and understood amongst ourselves. Those on the outside looking in aren't privy to this Culture's social norms/mores, especially the unspoken rules and regulations. Therefore, they tend to categorize HipHop not as a Culture but as an 'Art' that simply promotes 'Freedom of Expression'; a common phrase and buzzword associated with the LGBT Community. To the contrary, HipHop has only supported Freedom within the context of our Cultural Worldview; a view that was rarely advocated or reflected in the Western Society around us. Anything we considered Culturally 'out of bounds' was considered "Wack", meaning corny or not legit, and those who were saying/doing wack stuff were strait "Buggin"! Again, many of these, and various other  terms/phrases, are not reflected in a lot of the mainstream Rap Music today. So obviously many of the concepts and core values that reinforce this language aren't present. Lord Jamar's stance and many others within our HipHop Community is much more insightful than "policing fabric" as Knight stated, nor does it have anything to do with Prophet Muhammad sitting down to use the bathroom or being, as Western Society has coined, "homophobic". In plain ole HipHop language, Lord Jamar was just reiterating the same sentiments HipHop Culture has always held since it's inception: Kanye West and various other Entertainers are Biting Western Society and that Crossover stuff  is Wack! They may be talented Artists but they're Buggin because their choices are clearly leading our present generation and our future generations down a path of HipHop Cultural Genocide.

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