hip-hop: the second coming

When Mr. Macedonia responded back to me recently about his revelation of how much hip-hop has spread in the underground, it kinda got me to thinking. Hip-hop HAS once again blown up and unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses a stable of emcees, producers, DJs and entrepreneurs who truly are about the art, the love, and the music. Such variety and geniune skill hasn't been displayed within our culture (at least where it's accessible to more than just the brotha on the street) in almost a DECADE. You can say what goes around comes around, or that this is the logical backlash to all those wack kids you hear on Hot 97 that have every Tom, DICK and Harry shouting they love hip-hop (like Tom, DICK or Harry know what the FUCK this all is). Pondering further, I figured I would trace back a little recent history, seeing that in the 0-1 of the final chapter (the Divine Millennium) hip-hop is the strongest it has been in a long while.

A pretty widely regarded "golden era" of hip-hop was from 1989 to 1992. In that four to five year period, hip-hop stepped into the modern age in terms of sampling, style, and acceptance. Groups with a more widespread appeal (such as the Native Tongues and conscious groups like Public Enemy) began to branch out and expand the parameters of hip-hop. Alongside the traditional "street poets" and ghetto heads were young, eclectic, often radical (for their time) emcees and groups who placed their own imprint on the musical landscape.

As we moved through the early and mid-nineties, hip-hop stagnated as the mainstream developed "rap" and R&B as a watered down by-product of the culture itself. During this time only two types of crews were really being felt and exposed: the "gangsta" or "thug" and the "jiggy" playa/balling mobs. This saturation of useless wackness coming from places like Bad Boy, Death Row, No Limit (although on the latter two there were some credible albums and emcees, but not many), and pretty much all the majors were bent on demographics and record sales. The art and creativity in hip-hop again returned underground, rising up occasionally but basically submerged for the better part of four years.

Enter 1996-97, the beginning of the Rawkus era in terms of underground/independent music being openly pushed and marketed. From this time to the present, hip-hop has again been given a "rebirth" as labels and distribution such as Budz, Bronx Science, Game, Battle Axe, Makin' Records, ABB, SuperRappin', and Stones Throw have emerged to be a vehicle for the raw talent bubbling over in the underground. Many artists who were not looking to sell out simply wanted a way to move their music, but were lacking distribution and media support. Now through the Internet and Web sites like hiphopsite.com, Okayplayer.com and a variety of other sites, underground hip-hop has found new mediums in which to communicate ideas. The emergence of independent distribution and record labels in such abundance and with the resources not only to thrive but survive have allowed artists like the DemiGodz, Jedi Mind Tricks, Company Flow, LMNO and a host of others to come out the woodwork and flex their verbal muscle.

Emcees like Rise, Skitzophreniks, Anti-Pop Consortium, and Self Scientific can now put their music out without the worry of A&R creative control or shitty deals that leave the artist ass out - literally. Hail the emergence of the next golden age. As an emcee and member of one of the local hip-hop crews (ESP) in Brooklyn, it's encouraging and comforting to know that the game is now FINALLY and once again geared towards those who have skills as opposed to those with flash and a gimmick. FUCK the lollipop, Britney Spears wannabe MASSES who only count guys like Eminem and Dre as credible emcees. That's not hip-hop....

Hip-hop is open mics and DJs flexin skills, B-Boys and graffiti. Now in the Divine Millennium, we've extended that to online communications and a DIY "take it back to the roots" mentality borrowed from the early punk scene. It just goes to show that hip-hop REALLY is here forever, despite what the industry is doing. Long live the next era of hip-hop.

{mikal lee (hired gun)}
  • back to odds and ends
  • back to rants page

home ||| history ||| reviews ||| meet the scribes ||| links