Judge not, lest ye be judged!


I’m sure you’ve seen or heard about it by now but if not?

True this isn’t Hip Hop but it does illustrate a valid point about appearances and talent today. First some names; Ruben Studdard, Meatloaf, Barry White, Aretha Franklin, Wynonna Judd, Jennifer Hudson, Martha Wash, Luciano Pavarotti and Jill Schott. What do they all have in common?  They don’t all look like today’s low-rise or skinny jeans wearing, choreographed dancing, bubble gum artist that seems to come out of the music industry dispenser.

No, she’s a normal person.  Average by some standards, below by others but that’s not the point.  If you watch the media coverage of Susan they all point out the same thing which should be the real story, the audience members’ first reactions.  Everyone is told at some point in their lives that first impressions are important and appearance is everything but what exactly does that mean?  When do first impressions start and stop?  What are the rules for judging someone for the first time?  And are our impressions defined by others or do we make them up?

In this case, when Susan walked on stage everyone clearly had their minds made up about her.  And when she opened her mouth to speak, some people already solidified their thoughts.  And then she began to sing and shocked the hell out of everyone in the audience both in-studio and home.  And I say, Good for her!  It’s rare that people come across events such as this in their lives but did get the important lesson?

That lesson is that in terms of talent, looks don’t mean a think.  Going back to the list of people from before, every one of them has/had a weight problem either before or during their careers.  I’m sure there was some teasing from their peers and strangers but that didn’t stop them from showing their talents.  Even on this show, Susan shined bright.  Now of course the judges knew she could sing before she came on stage and played into her appearance for the audience entertainment but they both (Susan and the judges) knew she would be continuing on.

Looking at music today I have to wonder if we are doomed to 90 lb teenage girls that dance provocatively in videos and guys that must have at least a 6 pack but neither of them with any real talent. Sex sales, we know but only for so long.  It doesn’t keep you coming back for more.  Music today has lost its spark, its passion.  Now it’s short term results but no matter how much you want it to, sex doesn’t last very long in the grand scheme of things.

I Quit!

I Quit! Well not me, I just started after all.  But it seems this is the thing to do these days in the music industry.  I just heard that Bow Wow has joined the ranks of 50 Cent, no wait he didn’t honor that agreement.  OK, OK Jay-Z then, oh wait he came out like Jordan wearing the 4-5. There’s Saigon, I’m sure he quit?no he’s still rapping too.  Ice Cube, Will Smith, Ice-T, LL Cool J, Eve?  True no one in this last list actually said they were quitting but they did stop making music for a long period of time.

Dammit!  There has to be some rapper out there that actually quit rapping. There are, too many to name in fact.  Long ago they used to just stop, disappear into the studio to serve another function like producing, host radio, host on TV, go into the careers they’ve always wanted to or just disappear completely.  I do applaud this new movement though.  Quitting your job actually takes responsibility.  It is a good example for young people these days.

Everyone knows (or will if you’re too young to work) someone who claims to have quit their job by not showing up to work.  News Flash! That’s called getting fired for not showing up.  Quitting your job involves telling someone that you are no longer going to perform your duties. Preferably someone above you that has the authority to take the appropriate action to fill the void you are leaving and alert the others that should know of your decision.

It’s interesting how more and more rappers are announcing their exodus from the game while in reality, it is only to shed light on their new projects.  Projects that they have been neglecting because of that annoying thing called a career they have.  No one is really retiring here.  Typically when people retire, they stop working completely. The average person doesn’t retire from construction only to change careers and start working in a bank. We need to call it what it is, a career change. 

Let retirement be the prestigious thing that we look forward to when we get older rather than the cool thing to do for publicity. I want to keep the dreams of a gold watch, a ceremony to honor my achievements, my jersey being raised into the rafters and my number being retired.  Stop cheapening my future thoughts as you are my music today.

I wish artists would spend as much time announcing their careers as much as they do their exit.  If they did, Hip Hop wouldn’t be in such bad shape.  I think there should be a Hip Hop draft and only the top say 40 new artist get signed a year and the bad performers from years past get dropped.  Then and only then can you return wearing the 4-5 after you’ve been resigned!

Welcome to Don't Die Hip Hop!

For the record, this is a stock photo and not me. If you haven’t already, take a look around and come back. If you have already, let me let you know why you are here. Simply put, you are here to save Hip Hop.

Why? In relation to other forms of music, Hip Hop is still young and still trying to find its place in the world. It is naïve, immature, easily influenced and highly influential. It is a product of and a producer of today’s youth. Its heavy reliance on youth is its greatest strength but also its greatest weakness. It is often reinvented almost over night and still able to stand the test of time. But like a branch bent too many times, it is on the verge of breaking. Hip Hop is becoming weak and yet it is resistant to failure like a piece of rubber; flexible enough to shape it to fit many situations yet strong enough to absorb any abuse it receive.

The how still remains a mystery. If I had that answer, I would either be a rich or crazy man! But I do have a theory; Open discussion. Only through discussion with others can you find true answers to questions.

Too often in Hip Hop, discussion is either left out or left up to those with a big voice. These people are the media & radio personalities, artists and celebrities that are able to reach a broad audience and influence opinions. The people with the power, the consumers, are often left to discussions among themselves. You may know this by its common name, The Streets.

(For those who don’t know, The Streets are those that live out in, well, the streets. It is the fan base of Hip Hop with an ear to the ground to listen to and discuss what they see and hear.)

The Streets is watching? The Streets "is" talking? The Streets "is" buzzing? The Streets do a lot of things but one thing The Streets never do is get organized. Like single voice in a crowded room, its message is lost in a sea of confusion. Those loud enough to be heard don’t always have the best things to say and only those voices which you recognize are the ones you focus on.

So why are you here and why should you stay? To promote conversation; to find like minded people; to bring back the greatest cultural movement of our time; to give strength the music and the people who listen.

Now this isn’t just about Hip Hop music, it’s about life from a Hip Hop point of view. Here we will cover many different topics such as music, education, politics, etc. There is no limit to what we will cover or how we will cover it. Come back soon for some exciting topics and discussions and remember, keep Hip Hop alive!