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Righteous hip-hop: in an excerpt from his forthcoming book, an old-school conscious rapper critiques the direction of a cultural expression he loves. (rhythm & books).

The question that needs to be asked of everyone passionate about Hiphop is: What does it mean to be Hiphop? Does being Hiphop mean that every woman you know has only a bathing suit and expensive underwear as her wardrobe? Does being Hiphop mean that every man you know is a baller? Do all Hiphoppas wear platinum chains with diamond-studded platinum crosses and matching Rolexes draped over tattooed arms? Are all Hiphop mothers baby mommas? Are all Hiphop fathers baby daddies? Does being Hiphop mean that you must sell illegal drugs? What future are we creating for ourselves and for our children as Hiphoppas? These are the questions that should arise out of one's passion for Hiphop. However, many who claim to be passionate about Hiphop do not ask these questions at all.

Some people continue to regard Hiphop as a form of music and dance, while others are only interested in using Hiphop to further their individual careers. Still, there are others (like myself) that live Hiphop beyond its entertainment value. It is important that everyone understand fully the meaning of the term Hiphop: True Hiphop is a term that describes the independent collective consciousness of a specific group of inner-city people. Ever growing, it is commonly expressed through such elements as: Breakin' (Break dancing), Emceein' (Rap), Graffiti art (Aerosol art), Deejayin', Beatboxin', Street Fashion, Street Language, Street Knowledge and Street Entrepreneurialism. Hiphop is not just music and dance, nor is Hiphop a product to be bought and sold.

Discovered by Kool DJ Herc in the Bronx, New York, around 1972, and established as a community of peace, love, unity, and having fun by Afrika Bambaataa through Zulu Nation in 1974, Hiphop is an independent and unique community, an empowering behavior, and an international culture.

Hip-Hop: the popular culture of big city and especially inner-city youth, characterized by Graffiti art, Break dancing and rap music; of or relating to this culture (The American Heritage College Dictionary, Third Edition).

One day we shall realize that all who participate in Hiphop Kulture are part of one family. We are united in a life experience that has created our common culture. As a family, when we tap into our collective creative reservoir, it should be for a cause that will eventually repay and strengthen our collective creativity.

--Excerpt from "The State of Hiphop" from the forthcoming book Ruminations by KRS-One [c] 2003 by Front Page Entertainment. Reprinted by permission of Welcome Rain Publishers and Front Page Entertainment.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Critical Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003
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Next Article:Hip-hop social criticism: bold and edgy commentary appeals to a new generation. (rhythm & books).

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