When I say "hip hop," do you think about an art form the exalts bling, consumption, excess, decadence, and vulgarity? What about all the other hip hop artists, exploring other kinds of truths?
Hip hop also has a public relations problem. A lot of you probably think you don't like it, because your primary exposure is something on the radio, or something blaring and booming from a passing car. Thematically speaking, you may have decided that the whole genre is about ostentation and vulgarity.
But it's not. In fact, one of the wonderful things about hip hop is the way it blends seamlessly with other music. One cut you'll hear on this show is from Sergio Mendes, the 73 year-old Brazilian musician, working with Pharoahe Monch, an intensely thoughtful rapper in his early 40's, with jazzy vocals laid down by Justin Timberlake. At its heart is the poetry of Monch, who is talking about the impact of foreign wars from Vietnam to Iraq, on American inner-city people sent overseas to fight.
It's so much more than "bling".
On the eve of an international hip hop conference at Trinity, we visit with artists, organizers, and historians of the still-young art form to talk about how hip hop has evolved, how the messages have changed, whether or not it has a public relations problem, and what the future might look like for those producing the beats and thinking up lyrics.
- "State of Grace" by Talib Kweli
- "Black Boy Fly" by Kendrick Lamar
- "Loose Ends" by Sergio Mendes, feat. Justin Timberlake, Pharoahe Monch & Will.I.Am
- "Celebration of Life" by Supastition
- "Fountain of Youth" by Supastition
- "Cold Crush Brothers at the Dixie" by Cold Crush Brothers
- "Break Down" by Self Suffice, feat. Mez the Manhattanites, and Young Cee
- Self Suffice the Rap Poet is a nationally performing positive teaching artist.
- Brandon Serafino is an artist, student, and one of the Lead Organizers of the Trinity Hip Hop Festival
- StaHHr is a socially conscious, lyrical MC from Atlanta
- Jamie McDonald is a hip hop historian and musician
- DJ Toney Tone is an artist with Cold Crush Brothers
- Kam Moye, A.K.A. Supastition is a hip hop artist from North Carolina, now living in Atlanta, Georgia. His latest release is called Honest Living EP