Saturday, May 15, 2010
Been meaning to blog about this, while I was in New York I went to go see the Broadway musical Fela! This is a musical produced by Will and Jada Smith as well as Jay Z. If you don't know who Fela is go get a late pass.
He's to African music what James Brown is to funk. What Bob Marley is to reggae and what Malcolm X is to Black Power. When your in NY go see Fela! It was just got nominated for 11 Tony awards.
The other day, there was a heated discussion on Facebook. Former Furious Five MC Rahiem rattled a few cages and shook a few nerves with his remarks about who and what a pioneer is.
I won't go into everything he said but his ideas do merit note. First, there are very few "true" pioneers in hip-hop. He says outside of Kool Herc, Afrika Bam, Coke La Rock, Timmy Tim and DJ Hollywood, there are no pioneers. Why does he say that? Because the previously mentioned brothers were the ones who blazed the trail and started this thing of ours. What blew me away was a Bronx cat gave Wood credit for starting rap as we know it today. Usually, it's the cats from Harlem that cite Wood as an influence, the Bx dudes have been frontin' for years.
Second, he says that Grandmaster Flash, Grandwizard Theodore and Grandmixer DST are not just pioneers, but they are innovators. Flash, innovated the theories and practices of the quick mix. Theodore, added the scratch, and DST was the one who took all of that and made the turntable an instrument. That's innovation.
He says everyone else that came after -including himself, are legends.
That's alot to think on and maybe we'll discuss some time soon.
Anyway, Cold Crush deejay Tony Tone questioned Ra's theory. Let's put it this way, they had a very spirited discussion. Tone, says he doesn't care one way or the other, he knows what his contributions to the culture are. For those that don't know, Tone was the sound man for the Cold Crush. He started with DJ Breakout in 1974. That's a long time back. Especially when you consider that Herc's first party was in August of 1973!
Anyway, Tone gets the quote of the week, he says he was talking to a brother he's known a long time, who told him that he's "out grown hip-hop." Upon hearing that statement, Tone pondered on it a moment and then asked the brother: "...Well, what have you grown into?"
The brother didn't respond, or his response doesn't matter. Hip hop is real. It is who I am. It is who Rahiem is. It is who Tony Tone is. It's who DJ Hollywood is. And all of us that love this culture and music. I still walk with a bop - not when I'm working, wear my hat backwards - not when I'm working, and lose my mind when I hear breaks like "Listen to Me". This is forever, baby. I'm 41 now, and if God says the same, I'll still be a b-boy at 71! Ain't no outgrowing this here!