If you are a Hip Hop head you know who sang those words and what weight-age they carry. Long before hip hop was meant to be about cars, bling, booty and booze (for reference please watch any BIRDMAN video) hip hop was used to cater messages and the harsh realities of the black community. Hip-hop has influenced generations of fans and artists alike and some fans to the point where they become artists. It has been said time and again that “hip hop is not just genre but also a culture or a lifestyle” BUT in the age of conscious artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore, Is hip hop a teacher too ? By teacher I do not mean to imply a school teacher holding a chalk in front of blackboard but actually a medium for self-motivating and becoming proactive in life.
“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime you better”
Just like you (the reader), I am a fan of Hip-Hop and this is what I think it has taught me
Hip hop music since the beginning talks about struggle and perseverance. Some of the platinum going records emphasize on stories of starting from the bottom and hustling to come out on top. There are tracks of endeavour, grief , confidence and will power. Since all these emotions are universal, it has helped in spreading of the music as well.You may not be able to connect on the level of someone who’s been through the same things, but you can certainly draw from the experience of others and take something away from it. Dr.Dre is at the pinnacle of the industry and is a perfect example of perseverance. To know about his struggle do check out, ‘Straight outta Compton‘
2. Work hard
Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself‘ can be summarized as making every moment count. Hard work is the difference between dreamers and achievers. Before the internet and social media era every artist had to grind 10 times harder than today just to leave a mark with their work.
You should refer to Wikipedia for your favorite artist and just brush through their hardships, if it does not give you goosebumps or at least motivate you to work harder towards your dreams then you have a problem.
3. Be proud of who you are
Eminem quotes in not afraid, “I’m not afraid to take a stand“. Every rapper who has made it thus far has been bullied or has been thought to be weird or has been the laughing stock of the group. It is his will to not to deter from the path which kept him going and made him reach his goals and ambitions. If I personally always followed what others told me to do, I would have not done half the things in my life I have done thus far. Drake, Eminem, Childish Gambino are among few of the artists who have been bullied but look where are they now, they reached because they never hid their pride in who they were.
4. Be the difference
Macklemore was not afraid to voice his opinion on same sex marriage on ‘same love’ even while coming from such a homophobic genre. Many successful rappers often make music describing their supreme wealth and party lifestyles, was tempting it might look and almost every other artist does it, But rap is so much more than that, it is a powerful form of artistic expression that makes music out of the complexity of human language, not simply the human voice. Many rappers lose their identity in the pursuit of entering the mainstream and become just another rapper. It is your story and struggles which define you not your favorite rapper’s Maserati.
5. Being grateful for what you have
The hook to J.Cole’s ‘Love Yourz‘ is “No such thing as a life that’s better than yours”. It is only when you see pain greater than yours in front of you, you become thankful for your life.
Every now and then we feel like the biggest disappointment in the world and due to very small problems. We have assumed that biggest achievements in life always need to be materialistic and it is due to such a vision that depression is more prevalent now than it used to be initially. In the pursuit of monetary dreams we have forgotten the things which actually mattered, which were family, friends, moments and emotions.
Hip-hop has been instrumental in my life to teach me a few things which I could not learn from anywhere else. Also you surely do know that you spin heads around when you bust a freestyle in the middle of a party and make you LOOK COOL.