Step Your Game Up
Take them rhymes back to the factory,
The gimmicks…the wack lyrics,
The —- is depressing…pathetic…please forget it,
~ Notorious B.I.G. – Flava In Your ear (Remix)
Music as a whole is just not what it used to be and rap has declined. Hip Hop is 40 years strong and as bountiful as the genre may be, it is lacking in substance. I vividly recall the days when a party anthem, conscious provoking, and declaration to arms were all songs synonymous with rap and hip hop. When a street symphony and thought inspiring melody bridged the gaps and broke down walls. From the early pioneers, Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Kool Herc, to revolutionaries such as KRS One and Boogie Down Productions, N.W.A., and Public Enemy, to wordsmiths extraordinaire, Rakim, Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, Notorious B.I.G., to coastal sensations, Death Row on the west, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and the Lunatics in the midwest, Suave House, Rap-a-Lot, No Limit, and Cash Money in the south, to martyrs and activists the likes of Common Sense, Tupac, Talib Kweli, David Banner, Rhymefest, to business moguls Russell Simmons, Sean Combs, and Jay-Z, trendsetters like Outkast and Kanye West, not to mention a plethora of fem fatales like Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, and the Brat, just to name a few, hip hop has been a melting pot of originality and inspiration. I am sad to say, much of that is lacking these days.
The aforementioned are a drop in the bucket of the countless artists that defined a movement and paved the way. There is a glimmer of light though. Not as often as before in what has become a cookie-cutter industry, a new voice, void of the assimilation and operating outside of the norm, arises with something fresh and yet, reminiscent of the glory years. Introducing to most and reacquainting with some, I gladly present @PrinceEa. His #MakeSMARTCool movement has spanned the country and as he continues to provoke thought by creating and nurturing a community of free-thinking individuals under the singular purpose of promoting the ideals of education, intelligence, unity, and creativity throughout the world, Prince Ea is carrying the torch well for his predecessors. He is a voice of a new generation and a hope for the often forgotten and lost art of hip hop. Hip Hop is a culture that stemmed from people needing a voice to express their desire to no longer be oppressed, discriminated against, violated, or forgotten. Hip Hop was and is the voice of the people… or at least that is what it is supposed to represent. Prince Ea and others alike are reminding those that grew up with hip hop why we fell in love with it to begin with and shifting the culture and teaching a newer generation about all hip hop truly stands for, what it initially was intended to represent, and everything it can become.
Take a moment to watch this ingenious video. It is hip hop at its essence – uplifting, captivating, inspiring, and packed with lyrical prowess. Thank You @PrinceEa for reminding me and everyone why we love hip hop.