Friday, June 25, 2010

Dear Hip Hop,

(image via deviantart.)

I remember pushing my small feet into the TV stand, against my mothers wishes, seated on the carpet, and gazing at you for the first time. It was tuned to BET and they were playing a Will Smith video. It wasn't so much Will Smith that intrigued me, but, the fast cadence of the words and the heavy 808. I was in love. Up until this point I'd been singing the lyrics from the album covers of Mariah Carey and Barbara Streisand with my mother in the car. So imagine what hearing YOU must have felt like. I bobbed my head to your lyrics and imitated the antics of the emcees, and I've been doing it ever since.

We used to take those long trips to those phony amusement parks hand in hand. I'd record you on both sides of the tape for my walk man because Mom Dukes didn't trust me with the family CD player. I broke my nails rewinding and fast-forwarding my favorite parts until the bus pulled up and I was forced to put you away. The other kids laughed when I tried to imitate you, "They call me Lil' Rica, better bars than the boys// Got rhymes for days while you play with your toys//"

We got in trouble together too. Remember when dad found my first rhyme book? The one with all the profanity in it? He made me peruse the internet looking for cleaner versions of you. That's when you showed me your conscious side. Introduced me to Kweli, Mos, The Roots, Lauryn and Q-Tip. We used to rock for hours, in the corner of my bedroom, memorizing the lines I hoped to reiterate in my own way one day.

When we moved to Long Island, I abandoned you. The suburbs introduced me to "The Backstreet Boys", "N'Sync", and "Imajin." You frowned from the airwaves as I ran off to concerts, plastered posters of half naked boys on my wall, and sung heartbreaking melodies I "thought" I could relate to. I was snapped out of my daze by Nas and Jay. Bringing storytelling back to the game they caught my attention. Bumping everything from Illmatic to Reasonable Doubt, Illadelph Halflife to BlackStar, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik to Return of the Boom Bap I realized that I loved every part of you.

Your flaws and your accolades.

Your triumphs and downfalls.

But.....then you immersed yourself into the South and forgot the Yankees existed. Truly lyrical emcees grabbed mics like shovels trying to dig their way from the underground. You started shouting, "Less quality, More quantity." You scattered tracks across the globe with no dignity. Forgot about policy, society, and priority. I could SMELL the failure on your breath. You were packing your pockets B! But, were you pushing prophecy? Leaving legacy? This became the death of me. I danced with R&B for a while, let ex-lovers introduce me to the alternative, and half-listened to the croons of country love songs from a friend's iPod. It just wasn't the same. I yearned for you. Caught glimpses of you here and there, could download you at my convenience, and watch your soldiers in action on stage. However, there's nothing like hearing you through the radio. Knowing millions of people would be listening to the YOU I'd fallen in love with. Knowing there was a chance they might fall in love with YOU too.

Then there was a whisper.


A voice.


A shout.

J. Cole, Blu, B.o.B., Laws, Charles Hamilton, Foreign Exchange, and so many others who've paved the way all started to rise.......

We're courting again. I am proud of the person you've become. How you've been able to fall down and pick yourself back up again. I can't say that I fully trust you. I am unsure if you'll pack your bags, turn your back, and leave me once again. If you love something....set it free....If it comes back to you it's ours. The problem is you belong to everyone and I'm horrible at sharing.

If you love something....set it free....If it comes back to you it's ours.





@nellynova88 said...

Love this!!!!

Allie said...

i admire ur passion for hip hop. its a beautiful thing.

Allie said...

btw, that is a DOPE picture! =)

riva. said...

Thanks for the love Allie & Nelly. & yeah!!! @ allie....all I did was enter "girl w/ headphones" into google lol.

Lyrik Marie said...

RIVA !!!!!!!!!!! this shit cuts deep [in a good way] .. Get this PUBLISHED!