Sunday, August 14, 2011

When I fell in love with hip-hop .....

As I wrote about the release of Kanye West's / Jay-Z's album WATCH THE THRONE, one of my friends (Jennifer Martin) reminded me about a trip we took with NABJ to the 2005 Heineken House Party / Hip Hop's The Power Summit. We had gone to my home country for a short course in radio reporting at the Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort in the Grand Bahamas.

Freeport, Bahamas came alive with the top names in hip-hop and really music in general. After a long day, we had heard about a Listening Party for Kanye West. We went to it reluctantly.

As we got there I was mesmerized. Ye had angels in the corner, Common was just on the couch chilling. But then I got knocked down with the richness of lyrics, the passion in his voice, the deepness of his message. He hit out with now classics like "Drive Slow" but then he went back to his freshman album with "Spaceship"--- THAT WAS THE SONG, the song that did it for me. I felt struggle in the lyrics and his voice. Oh did I mention I was like 7 feet from West who was singing this. That was the point that I became a Kanye Fan and fell in love with hip-hop. He talked about struggles in music but I knew the struggle could be any struggle really.

"Y'all don't know my struggle
Y'all can't match my hustle
You can't catch my hustle
You can't fathom my love dude"
--- Spaceship (College Dropout)

"We all self conscious I'm just the first to admit it."
---- All Falls Down (College Dropout)

These were powerful ideas back then and still powerful now. West commented on society and its inequality:

"Cause they make us hate ourself and love they wealth
That's why shortys hollering "where the ballas' at?"
Drug dealer buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack
And a white man get paid off of all of that."

---- All Falls Down (College Dropout)

That was music and music that mattered.

Thanks for that Kanye. Thanks.


CAPTION: Another picture from the Heineken Beach Party. And no Jennifer I aint forget you. I just can't find the original. And YES that's Luda!!! He' short but funny!

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