Baloney Sandwiches & Hip-Hop
When I hear people speak about what they consider to be hip-hop or hip-hop culture or proclaim that they’re true “Hip Hop Heads” simply because they listened to, grew up around, or are familiar with Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, or KRS 1, I begin to wonder whether they were actually around when hip-hop music and culture began its journey and whether they truly know as much as they believe they know about this profound thing we now call “Hip-Hop”.
Most who were present before the birth of hip-hop, during its actual conception (no, I did not mean inception), that are truly interested in the culture or music at all have either decided to “sit their ass down somewhere” and could care less about it, have decided the music itself is a bad influence to the youth, or have made themselves rich due to their affiliation with it and have written their own books based around their version of where hip-hop came from and what hip-hop culture means to them.
Of these same people that tell you that rap or hip-hop music is a bad influence to the youth of today, most have conveniently forgotten that their parents and grandparents also told them the same thing about their choice of music way back when. Many of the older hip-hop enthusiasts, especially older DJ’s, and both older and new “Hip-Hop Heads” will also tell you that today’s rap or hip-hop music is garbage, has no substance, and is, in some cases, a bad influence.
I remember my mother asking me, “If you had to be “retarded” (before that term became non-politically correct) and ugly to become a successful rapper?” And, yes, she was very serious about that statement. Interestingly she was referring to some of my favorite artists; KRS 1, Rakim, Run DMC, Ice Cube, Easy E, Method Man, NWA, and Chuck D, etc. I remember her telling me that her parents also thought that the music she listened to was garbage – they were referring to her favorite artists; Aretha Franklin, Average White Band, Sly and The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, Janis Joplin, Earth Wind and Fire, Ohio Players, etc.
It seems that everyone believes their generation was the safest, most intellectual, most ethical, and most caring generation that there ever was and ever will be. And every generation thereafter is supposedly more violent, less intelligent, less educated, more corrupt, and less caring, according to whomever is over 40 years of age at the current moment.
Maybe I’m just a weirdo, but it all seems like the same ole bullshit to me (laughing).
That being said, I wrote this book to give you a window into what the hip-hop and rap culture meant to me as a former break dance and rap artist that was born in May 17, 1967 in Columbus, Ohio to a crazy, genius, white woman that was just 17 years old and a crazy, black man who robbed banks that I met in an Ohio penitentiary on my fifth birthday.
I’ve been fortunate and talented enough to be hired as a paid writer for the late great Isaac Hayes’ company. I’ve performed in the American Airlines Arena in Miami to a crowd of a few thousand fans after writing and performing a theme song for a WNBA team the “Miami Sol”. I’ve worked with Lazy Bone, Pit Bull, The Diaz Brothers, Grammy nominated producer Bigg D “Derrick Baker”, am featured on a gold certified album “The Baddest Bitch” with rap artist Trina on song #5 titled “Niggas Aint Shit”. I have been on tour with the later version of The 2 Live Crew as both a dancer and artist, and have had the pleasure of recording and working with many other mainstream artists.
Music and especially hip-hop and/or rap, can be many things to young people – especially young people looking for a way out of the hood. Others may see music as a way to cope with what Jay Z called a “Hard Knock Life”. Music may serve as an escape for others. For me, music was my dream, my way out of the hood, my coping mechanism, and my escape all wrapped into one as far back as I can remember. Beginning with sitting next to my mothers brown, console stereo system with the eight-track player, am/fm radio, and record player with my ear practically glued to the speaker.
This book is my contribution to anyone going through hard times and looking for a way to escape their hardships through music, be it hip-hop or rap. I’m going to take you back to where it all began for me, show you some hard times, some good times, some crazy times, and hopefully help you realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel no matter how bad things may seem.
Remember to always “Keep Your Head Up” and never give up on your dreams!