Is there anywhere that still plays real hip hop?

Mez Galaria post:

I think it’s safe to say I’m a hip hop fan. A fan of the music that is part of a culture – the culture of hip hop. ‘Hip’ as in aware, ‘hop’ as in a move or a movement. Which suggests that those embracing the culture are saying ‘I am hip to my hop’, or in other words: ‘I know what I’m doing’. Often, when I try to talk to people about it they seem to think there is nothing more to it than gangster types mouthing off and generally being degrading to women, whilst wearing more jewellery than an Asian bride. I’m not denying that stuff like that is  being made out there but I guess I see it only as some kind of inbred mutated cousin of the real thing.

Hip hop is a conscious movement and sure, that consciousness could be of a man who would like to move in the direction of greed, misogyny and selfishness but the true basis of the culture comes from ‘the foundations’ set out by some would say the godfather of hip hop, Afrika Baambata. These foundations are: DJing, graffiti, b-boying, knowledge and rap. No one element is more important than any other; just as using a “break” in a record (developed using the element of DJing) is of course an integral part of hip hop music generally, the element of knowledge is as integral a part to the actual content of rap specifically.

Hip hop was first created in the South Bronx of New York, in an environment of extreme poverty and everyday racism. The local and national government were doing very little to combat the problems the population faced. A population also brushed aside and ignored by the mainstream media: nothing in the TV news, the newspapers nor words anywhere to represent their growing frustration and anger.

The element of rap allowed those residents to give themselves and EACH OTHER a platform to be heard. In a time when their country had failed them it was a revolutionary thing.

I know it might seem like I’m asking a lot in this plastic, posing, content-less era of ours but there are still wonderful places out there where the history and the deeper knowledge behind hip hop are taken seriously: The Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds for example has a really strong and exciting programme: at the end of last year I saw both Slum Village and the legendary Jungle Brothers there and coming up soon is the excellent Pharoahe Monch. Check them out at belgravemusichall.com.

There are also many others out there who continue to give power to feelings of powerlessness and attention to the forgotten; poets on the mic who use rap as a device to counter mass media and mass ignorance. I’m talking about beautiful beats sprinkled with knowledge and stories from the street. MCs that wrestle with race, politics, education or walk with love in rhyme.

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