Ode to Hip-Hop
Ode to Hip-Hop
So tonight I had the pleasure of going to see Jay Z at Webster Hall, formerly known as 'The Ritz', a few short blocks from my high school, Stuyvesant.
We all have alter egos, some of us can name them, while for others, they may show up unannounced, anonymously and sometimes without even the knowledge that they have entered the building. One of mine is a rapper- gold chain wearing, music blaring. I love to dance, sing and I love rap.
I admire the speed of words, the dialog that stems from pain and oppression and the rich storytelling that often arrives with the curated rap. The first rap record I purchased ( it goes without saying that I am dating myself here ) yes record ( LP, Vinyl) was when I was 12 years old.
I walked to 34th street with the person would end up spending almost 15 years - my partner and companion and we bought Raps Delight, the single. It came in a light blue record jacket. Peter bought one also although I am fairly confident he was not much a rap guy he soon knew all the words. I spent my high school years going to clubs in NYC and listening to the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Curtis Blow and Blondie doing her rappers version. It was music from the streets on NY, perhaps not the streets I grew up in but I know of where they sing., There is a deep resonance for me of music that calls to the struggle so many are engaged in. I will always remember seeing Andy Warhol there in the balcony, still reserved for VIPs. My friend’s band the Pedantic's were opened up for the band Talk Talk. I spent a lot of time at the Ritz, At Danceteria, Peppermint Lounge, Pyramid Clubs and the Mudd Club, Manhattans most iconic club. Not even 17, Manhattan was my playground.
The ’90s brought me to LA and West Coast Rap- Snoop Dog, Tupac and the like. I knew where Compton was, drove through it on some occasions and the music of another tension-filled region resonated with me.
East coast rap/ West coast rap.
I came back to NY shortly after Jay Z & B released the Magna Carta / Holy Grail Album — and the lyrics brought me right to my now old new neighborhood.
Part 11 On the Run ….
Although so much of rap artists the praises of material possessions and “ cash money” for me the true richness lies in each rhyme, each verse, and each beat.