Letter To The Editor March

What's Real Hip Hop?

Yo, yo, Davey whats up?
It's like this, I've been checkin for your site, Daveyd.com, for 1 year
now, and I've got much info and shit on your messageboards and other pages
on there. As well as from the newsletters that you supply. But yo, ON THE
REALS....

...WHY do you give up so much space in the newsletters and on the website,
for bullshit-MC's like C-Bo, Ice Cube and Spice1 on the regular???
Their shit ain't real!!!
They just some entertainers that make hella money off the stupidity that
rap-consumers posess. Underground don't even check for that!!
And why is it that Common during his concert in LA said:
"underground heads are the only one's that can see past the bullshit..."
Agree that Common got a strong mind. 

Realize this!!!
You got much influence on many kids on Internet!!!!!!!!
Why don't use that INFLUENCE to make kids realize that gangsta-rap is
really NOT a part of the hiphop game. Hiphop should reflect positivity!!!
I know many kids, that think they key to sucess is to go out there and grab
a Glock and shoot fools on the block. 
Gangsterism, is just a BIG problem that many black men (and women) have to
struggle with everyday all over the world, and that their mind is in the
state of bullshit.
THATS NOT HIPHOP!!!

So...
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 SENTENSE!
Headz Are Checkin

Sentense wrote: [green lettering]

Yo, yo, Davey whats up? It's like this, I've been checkin for your site, Daveyd.com, for 1 year now, and I've got much info and shit on your message boards and other pages on there. As well as from the newsletters that you supply. But yo, ON THE REALS....

...WHY do you give up so much space in the newsletters and on the website, for bullshit-MC's like C-Bo, Ice Cube and Spice1 on the regular??? Their shit ain't real!!!

Dear Sentense

I would strongly disagree.. further more from a historical standpoint I would have to disagree about their material not being real... What is the basis for such a comment? If it's your opinion.. I can't and won't argue with you there.. Because we are all entitled to our opinions.. However, if you are somehow trying to marginalize their music and claim they're not hip hop.. You're dead wrong on a number of accounts...

First, how is their music not 'hip hop'..? Is it subject matter? Is it choice of beats? Is it based upon the reasons for them doing their music? As you know hip hop has and should ideally be a reflection of the values and mindset of a particular artist.. Common will never be like Spice 1 and Spice 1 will never be like Ice Cube etc... Each brings to the table their own style and perspective which they musically express...

Secondly, according to hip hop's founding fathers... Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash... artists like Ice Cube, C-Bo and Spice1 are indeed a part of hip hop culture... This question was posed to all three last year during a radio show that sought to define Hip Hop culture.. It took place on KMEL in April of '97... All three were on.. and they spoke about the constant misinformation that is perpuated by people who have a strong like or dislike about certain styles within hip hop... Just because someone doesn't like or understand something does not mean it's not hip hop...To a certain degree having such a mindset is understandable... Because from day one people from different regions or those having different styles were maligned..

For example, when I grew up in the Bronx... kids from Queens were told that what they were doing was not hip hop... Then later on kids from Queens and Brooklyn dissed Long Island... Eventually kids from New York dissed New Jersey and Philadelphia rappers etc.. Around '82, '83, '84... pioneering artis like Mele-Mel and Grandmaster Caz said they represented the 'old school' while new comers like Run DMC and KRS-One who represented the new school weren't 'real' hip hop... If you go back and listen to some of the old songs you'll hear the dissing going on...In fact KRS-One sums things up best in his song 'Still Number#1' when he addresses Mele-Mel....

Bambaataa pointed out just how hypocritical it was for some one would listen to a song like Planet Rock or Electric Kingdom by Twilight 22 and say that's hip hop.. while claiming songs by Luke and other Miami Bass type artist are not... 'How can they not be when the beats are the same?', he asked

Some people try to make a distinction and focus on lyrical prowess... Hence since Common brings a certain hip hop flava to the table.. he's considered hip hop while C-Bo or Ice Cube isn't... But if you follow that line of thinking a whole lot of rappers and their songs would all of a sudden not be hip hop... Starting with the material from Bambaataa.. Come now, kids like MC Globe and Pow Wow weren't the best rappers in the world... In fact at one point in time.. Globe noted that he wasn't rapping.. He was in fact 'poppin'.. He noted that obtaining lyrical finess was not his main concentration.. at the time.. Lyrical prowess is not the sole definition of hip hop...

The other point which often gets raised is the one you make here...

They just some entertainers that make hella money off the stupidity that rap-consumers posess. Underground don't even check for that!!

First, from day one people sought to get paid... Don't believe the myth about people break dancing and rappin' in the park for the pure love of hip hop.. Payment at that time was props from the crowd... It was very hard to make money back in the late '70s... I know I was a part of that scene.... However, trust me.. lot's of people did attempt to make money... and if the opportunities that exist now existed then... the early 'hip hoppers' would've taken advantage.. I recall early pioneers like Busy Bee Starsky and others talking about getting paid for flexing their skillz in their raps.. I recall Grand Master Flash and Grand Wizard Theodore and others charging admission..

I recall these old school artists putting forth an air of celebrity status.. It used to be the thing to do... Old school headz will recall how B-Boys sought to impress folks by driving around town in fancy 'fresh OJs' which was a ghetto version of a limo... People pooled their money and flossed about the neighborhood blasting the latest GM Flash tapes while being driven around.. That cost money and your ability to floss like that meant that you were getting paid.. Trust me after a while hip hop was still in it's infancy.. the best emcees of the day.. like the Crash Crew, Cold Crush Brothers, The Furious Four... [before they became the Furious Five], DJ Break Out & The Funky Four plus One More..and others were not about to show up to your gig and perform for free.. They expected and did get paid.. I know at my High School when Flash and his crew showed up they both got paid from the door receipts and they got paid from the school organization that invited them to come.. Like emcees today they would get down for free if they were at a place where everyone [Their collegues] was posted up... But they were about the business of trying to make a living off this thing we call hip hop...

This whole legacy of getting paid grew within hip hop.. It reached a high point in the mid 80s when Eric B & Rakim came out and demanded to be 'Paid In Full'... They weren't holding down 9-5 jobs they were about the business of getting paid for laying down rhymes.... During this time the 'hip hoppers' of the day sported fat gold chains and all sorts of jewelery.. Eric B and Rakim best exemplified this day and time... Behind the scenes they were about the business of not repeating what happened to old school pioneers like Sugar Hill, GMF and others... They weren't about the business of getting ripped off by an unscrupulous record label... Hence the first million dollar record deal was negotiated by Eric B and Rakim after their Paid In Full album.. If you recall just like Puffy and Mase do today.. a whole lot of rappers were talking about their material possesions.. including Rakim...

Adding to all this was the whole concept of having sporty gear... Back in the late 70s and early 80s hip hoppers sought to adorn themselves with the latest fashions.. Today it's Tommy Hilfiger and all sorts of Italian brand names.. back then it was designer jeans like Jordache and Gloria Vanderbuilt.. All the hip hoppers went down to places like Delancy Street in Manhatten, Jamaica Avenue in Queens and Fordham Road or Simpson street in the Bronx to get the latest styles... This of course cost money.. Puma sneakers, 69er sneakers, box sqaures pants, overlaps pants and other styles changed like ever other month.. Lee jeans with the ironed in crease and fat belt buckles were the styles that money makers wore to indicate their status.. Today things are no different... If you wasn't getting paid.. you couldn't 'rock' the latest gear...And staying dressed was very crucial back in the days.. These fashions were created and enhanced by hip hoppers....

The other point erroneously made centers around the notion of hip hoppers being entertainers..It's implied that there is something wrong with this... People like to 'day dream' about people coming to the park and rocking the mic and keeping it real for the sake of heightening the art of hip hop... First of all, no one had any idea back then that this would take off and evolve to what it is today... Hip Hop and all its facets from djaying to b-boy dancing was the thing to do.. It was the social activity of the day...

The early participants STRIVED to be ENTERTAINERS.. They prided themselves on this..Puffy does that best today.. Hammer and LL Cool J did that best a few years back.. Everyone who was worth his her salt saw entertaining as a major part of being on top of the game.. I remember talking with Mele-Mel last year and he went into great detail about how he and others would spend hours working on routines.. He talked about how he the Furious Four would rehearse rap and dance routines.. He would spend a lot of time working on the delivery of his rhymes... Back then battle rhymes were prewritten and memorized.. As he put it.. they way you got paid and the way you got props was by being able to rock the crowd.. That meant having dope rhymes and the ability to deliver them.. If you wanted to stand out.. you worked on routines.. Hence back in the late 70s hip hop pioneers were harmonizing, singing, dancing the whole nine...The whole thing you saw being done with artists like Bel Biv Devoe was merely a flection of what used to be... That's one reason why artists like KRS-One, Doug E Fresh or Run DMC can put on dope shows today.. It was part of the scene to be a good entertainer.. Keeping it real meant giving your audience their money's worth...

Nowadays artist entertain through videos... There aren't any more parties in the park.. Artsist get paid through record sales as well as through shows... Back then a flyer would get you a crowd so you could get paid.. Nowadays a dope video gets you your audience.. Don't think for a minute that old school hip hoppers would not have gone out of their way to do videos if they were readily visible back then...

The list of things can go on.. It wasn't cheap being a hip hopper back in the days.. If you were down with a crew you had to pay for your equipment... You had to pay for your records.. Remember you had to buy two copies of everything... Places like Downstairs Records where folks went to get the latest breaks cost 5 dollars for each 45 disc... That was 10 bucks for a 15-20 second percussion break... Most Crews did parties at neighborhood recreation centers.. That cost money to rent... Trust me.. hip hoppers from day one were trying to get paid...

Now when you start looking at other facets of hip hop culture like grafitti and dancing... money wasn't so easy to come by.. However, after that movie Flash Dance came out where they featured The Rock Steady Crew.. folks were trying to take advantage of the opportunities.. There was one point in which kids weree getting paid doing break dance lessons.. Ritzy art galleries tried to showcase the works of graffiti writers... some folks tried to advantage of those opportunities...

Now how does all this tie into Spice 1, Ice Cube and C-Bo... These guys merely reflect the social, economic and political conditions of their time... Spice had always been rappin'.. He was just like any other aspiring artist.. He was out doing his thing trying to get seen... Folks may recall Spice from back in the early days of Bay Area hip hop.. The same was for artist like Too Short... and other who went around rappin' at local house parties and local recreation centers.. It was the dues they paid to try and come up.. Kids like Cube and Too Short and Spice initially got paid by making tapes for neighborhood ballers...

Later they had folks invest money in them or their record label and they went about refining their craft that way... Artist like Spice and Cube have always tried to reach their target audience... In the begiining it was the local kids from around the way.. But as they grew and begain to reach a larger audience..That became reflected in their music... Like the pioneers before them.. these guys have sought to be entertaining to their audience.. And lets face it.. the audience that likes Common may be very different then the Spice 1 audience...

And why is it that Common during his concert in LA said: "underground heads are the only one's that can see past the bullshit..." Agree that Common got a strong mind.

Yes, Common is right.. there is a lot of bullshit.. But that's all subjective... The other thing is that underground means different things to different people.. Is the underground audience that comes from the worst part of town that checks for Spice 1 or Too Short the same as the underground audience that checks for Common.. Hip Hop is such a personal thing.. How can I tell some kid who has his hat on backwards and is rocking the latest 'player gear' that he is stupid because he's checking for Spice 1... His that kid some how less then the kid who checks for Common while sporting the latest boots and backpack..?

Realize this!!! You got much influence on many kids on Internet!!!!!!!! Why don't use that INFLUENCE to make kids realize that gangsta-rap is really NOT a part of the hiphop game. Hiphop should reflect positivity!!! I know many kids, that think they key to sucess is to go out there and grab a Glock and shoot fools on the block. Gangsterism, is just a BIG problem that many black men (and women) have to struggle with everyday all over the world, and that their mind is in the state of bullshit. THATS NOT HIPHOP!!!

Gangsterism is a big problem.. I agree with you there... But understand that hip hop started with gangs and it's still influenced by them.. What do you think Zulu Nation was...? It was a big ass gang that habitually beat people down.. Bam was a gang leader back in the days.. Hip hop was filled with incidents of violence from day one.. Kids were always getting stuck up for their sheep skin coats and equipment... I know my crew got stuck up for their equipment after a party.. Parties in the park often ended in a shootout with some one getting killed... Hip Hop pioneers like Flash used to roll with notorious gangs like The Casanova Crew... who mot only worked security but also frequently fleeced patrons who attended the events.. Gangs like Zulu, Casanovas and The Nine Crew were all a part of hip hop...They were factors in the game... Eventually people matured and moved on but some of those gangs were replaced with other gangs like The Domincican based Ball Busters The Deep Crew... and large renegades out of Brooklyn.. Did all this get reflected in the music? Yes it did... Early rhyme sayers always made references to Zulu Nation, Gestapo, The Casanovas and others.. No things weren't glorified like they are now... But artists like KRS-One and Schoolly D changed all that... and let folks know it was ok to get down that way...

If you examine the rise of West Coast hip hop you'll find that the early dancers.. [boogalooers] and taggers were gang members.. The early parties thast were thrown by people like Uncle Jams Army and others were secured by gangstas like the Brims.. That paralled what had once took place in New York.. Zulu and Casanova were security forces for a lot of the early NY rappers back in the days.. I know we had Zulu members strictly for protection.. Early West Coast raps were about partying and having a good time... LA heads will remember the old crews like Egyptian Lover, Formula 5, Boo-Yaa Trybe, Rich Carson, Captain Rapp, Spade,Toddy Tee, World Class Wrecking Crew etc.. Back then.. [early to mid 80s]... the West Coast Crews in LA were into dancing and djaying... But unlike New York where gangs died out and emerged into large crews... LA gang scene never went away.. so it was always a factor in the day to day lives of hip hoppers from the hood...

Up in the Bay Area... another scene went on.. kids like Hammer [The Holy Ghost Boy], Flynamic Force [Sway & King Tech],Timex Social Club, Spice Regime [Digital Underground], Too Short, Freddy B, MGM [Raw Fusion], Wild Boyz [Christion], Rappin' 4Tay, Red Black & Green, APG Crew, K-Cloud, and MC Ant were among the early pioneers..

Many crews started out break dancing while others like Too Short made dirty rap tapes for the neighborhood ballers... Eventually everyone evolved and made a name for themselves doing a specific type of music.... Here in the Bay Area.. instead of doing a lot of gangsta rap.. the whole pimp, playa, hustker vibe took hold.. A lot of this had to do with the fact that The Mack was filmed in the Bay Area.. Many of the Bay Area artists have all sorts of references to that flick reflected in their songs... Even fun groups like Digital Underground and Hammer reflected that whole thing.. Remember Shock G was once a pimp... while Hammer or at least his crew was part of the infamous High Street Bank Boyz..Even Sway who is known for his work on the Wake Up Show will let you know in a minute that he and his boys grew up learning and knowing how to be Hustlers.. That street game was and is reflected in Bay Area rap..

The point I'm making is that hip hop music reflects where you're from in it's purest form.. One should be able to listen to a record and be able to have a good idea about what was going on at the the time the record was made.. The whole thing about hip hop being purely art is true to the degree that people who either hit a higher conscious level or were removed from the day to day stresses of living in the hood could afford to experiment and branch out.. Del The Funkee Homosapien explained it best when he noted that his music and the music of his Heiroglphic squad reflected the middle class upbringings that they enjoyed... While it was true he could've rapped about gangsterism.. his creative energies took him onto another plane... However, keep in mind.. his creative energies also allowed him to pen some of the gangsta raps that were made famous by his cousin Ice Cube... As an artist Del felt he should do what moves him...and nowadays with hip hop being a multi-billion dollar a year industry.. it's branched off and become something for everyone......

So... TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Taking responsibility means trying to go out and provide information to those who are young and easily influenced.. Davey D's Hip Hop Corner will take time and talk about a C-Bo and an Ice Cube... It will also talk about a Common or Public Enemy.. If you note there is a Poet's Page and a Political section here on the site.. The information to help inspire you to go to a more conscious place is there... should you decide to embrace it....

Peace out
Davey D
c 1998

I seriously doubt the person responsibly for that letter is a true head. I don't understand the problem. It has always been my understanding that you where from the Bay Area therfore you cover the Bay Area in addition to hip in general. As far as "bullshit MC's like C-Bo, Ice Cube, and Spice1..." on what basis does this person judge them to be bullshit?

I am not at all familiar with C-Bo, but Ice Cube and Spice1 have been around for quite sometime. I think the writer should be very careful in branding peoples work "bullshit" on opinion alone least that person be certified as a Playa Hater. On GANGSTA RAP, it is undeniably a form of hip-hop. Granted a rather negative and misunderstood form, but one all the same.

As far as DAVEY D and his RESPONSIBILITY. I don't know how many times I read in the newsletters about the tragic loss of Bay Area heads and artist. On the other hand I can not recall one statement glorifying or condoning gangsta rap or more inportantly GANGSTERISM. I can't understand where that one came from. In closing I suggest the so called head who turned in that bullshit should stop, drop, and roll back into the culture and think a little bit longer before you get to the point where you can call an artist's work bullshit.

Mel


HEY,

JUST THOUGHT I'D MAIL YA MY OPINION ABOUT THAT LETTER YOU GOT, ASKING YOU TO "TAKE RESPONSIBILITY" FOR YOUR PAGE AND USE YOUR INFLUENCE TO PROMOTE REAL HIP-HOP AND NOT FAKE STUFF LIKE CUBE AND SPICE 1.

I'D JUST LIKE TO LET YOU KNOW THAT I TOTALLY AGREED WITH YOUR REPLY - HIP-HOP IS HIP-HOP, AND NOBODY CAN DISMISS ARTISTS LIKE THE ABOVE SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY "THINK" THEY ARE NOT FULLY REPRESENTATIONAL OF WHAT HIP HOP IS....HIP-HOP IS ALL OF THE ABOVE AND THEN SOME - IT IS A CULTURE WHERE ALL ELEMENTS AND PARTICIPANTS ARE INEXTRICABLY INTERTWINED. SURE WE MAY ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITE AND PREFERRED ARTISTS AND ASPECTS, BUT THIS DOES NOT NECESSARILY UNDERMINE THE ROLES AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF THOSE OTHERS WE MAY NOT PARTICULARLY FAVOUR.

IN RESPONSE TO THE OTHER POINT MADE IN THE LETTER REGARDING THE INLUENCE HELD BY DAVEY D ON THE NET, I FEEL THAT THE PAGE DOES TRUE JUSTICE TO HIP HOP AND HIP HOP CULTURE. IT IS A WELL CONSTRUCTED AND BALANCED ACCOUNT OF HIP HOP GIVING A CONCISE AND COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY, AND CONNECTING HIP HOPPERS ALL OVER THE WORLD. ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE ASPECTS OF THE PAGE IS ITS INTELLIGENT AND WELL EXPRESSED ARTICLES ETC. THIS MORE ACADEMIC APPR0ACH TO HIP HOP CULTURE IS EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL...THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE INTIMIDATED BY HIP HOP AND ASSOCIATE IT ONLY WITH VULGARITY AND VIOLENCE ARE MUCH EASIER CONVINCED OF ALL ITS POSITIVITY WHEN IT IS EXPRESSED INTELLIGENTLY, SOMETHING WHICH YOUR PAGE DEFINITELY ACHIEVES.

THIS IS SOMETHING WHICH I AM ALSO ATTEMPTING TO DO - NEXT YEAR I WILL DO MY COLLEGE THESIS ON HIP HOP CULTURE...THE FIRST ACADEMIC WORK IN IRELAND ADRESSING THE CULTURE. I HOPE YOU THINK NO LESS OF MY COMMENTS BECAUSE I AM WHITE...I AM A B-BOY AND ME AND MY CREW REPRESENT ALL FOUR ELEMENTS TO THE FULLEST.

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME...
**DJ SKIZ** (AGE 19)


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