My love of hip hop is one of the few things about me that my dear friend Alice does not embrace. In fact, when she discovered my iPod hit list, she says she had serious doubts about our friendship. In my family, my hip hop love affair is actually quite an anomaly. My brothers will occasionally crank up some 50cent or Tech N9ne, but I believe that it’s their love of all things loud that inspires them to blow out their speakers rather than a true affinity for the beat.
I’m not sure where my love affair with hip hop started because it definitely didn’t originate in my parents cassette collection. It could have been those early friday nights with In Living Color when I was 10 & which I had to beg my mom to let me watch. I used to hum out that opening credit song for hours, rolling my tongue just so, trying to replicate the smooth blending of words, one into another.
It’s not necessarily the words or the style that I love though. It’s the beat. The simple, unnerving, unapologizing beat of something raw, real & alive. For all its cliches & stereotypes, for me, hip hop is the music of youth, the thobbing beat of life’s passions no matter how misdirected they may be. And when my speaker is booming & the beat is rolling along with me, I can imagine for a moment that I’m hipper than I am, that I could pull off those crazily complicated dance moves & that there’s some raw passion yet left in me.