The State of HipHop



By Michael 'N'Mic' Devere.

In this article I'm laying down ground for my next piece which will be about hip hop in Zimbabwe. To do so I have to bare a number of issues. Some may not share the same sentiments as me but please believe me my article has constructive objectives. This month I will dwell on hiphop generally then in my next installment I will zoom in on our local hip hop.

When it comes to hiphop music in Zimbabwe one is quickly tempted to compare its progress to that of Zim Dancehall. That comparison on its own does not give us a picture of the current state of hip hop in Zimbabwe or the strides it has taken. The tendency of comparing one music genre to another is unwarranted and unnecessary  but also prevalent and hip hop, from my observation, is on the receiving end of such criticism.

As the popularity of Zim Dancehall grows in Zimbabwe, hiphop is left playing catch up in order to grow its fan base.
However, all of the above is not what defines the state of a music genre. Each and every genre stands on its own. People need to understand hiphop in order to appreciate it and a number of things have to be made clear.
Of the things to be clarified I will start with this: Hiphop is not about promoting profanity or its use or any other misdemeanor nor violence. Hiphop music is not music for the upper class or as we call them here 'masalad'. In most cases people forget or ignore or simply don't know the fact that hip hop originated from the working class, everyday people and this music was in some cases used in protest against many injustices that were common during the time it was birthed. So nothing back then could associate hiphop with the rich. However hiphop has several sub genres under which it can be further defined. Every artist also strives to create his own identity thereby making hiphop vast and rich.
Hiphop sub genres include Conscious, Christian and Political hip hop among others.

Hiphop music is composed of rap, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted over music. Hiphop artists then use their creativity and talent to create verses that are laden with thoughts, ideas, commentaries, wordplay, poetry and so forth. Since rap is a form of speech it allows a rapper to actually tell a story in a song and accounts will be more detailed. In most cases in my opinion hiphop is a mixture of real life experiences and art.

Hiphop artists just like everyone else must not be stereotyped. We all must appreciate that 'spitting' an intact 16 bar verse, so to say, requires a lot of dedication, determination and hard word. No person of misplaced priorities can live up to the demands that come up in the journey to become a reputable hiphop artist. Unless you have a rare talent, putting together a hiphop album, just like many things worthwhile, will demand sheer dedication and an investment of time and resources. Even for those with talent hard work still remains essential.

Hiphop has a certain edge when it comes to its unwritten code of conduct. Its artists show this by their appetite for relevance and political correctness. In hip hop you have to be forever in pursuit of relevance and in touch with latest trends and never forgetting your history. Like KRS One said in his song 'HipHop Lives':
'Hip means to know
It's a form of intelligence
To be hip is to be up-date and relevant
Hop is a form of movement
You can't just observe a hop
You got to hop up and do it
Hip and hop is more than music
Hip is the knowledge, hop is the movement
Hip and hop is intelligent movement'

All this being said it is my hope that there will come a time when there will be no misconception of hip hop and what it stands for among the artists themselves, the fans and everyone in general.

Till next time
Peace
TAG