Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hip hop, ya don't stop

Hearing about Heavy D's passing today brought me back.

I was 13 yrs old when I learned about hip hop. I wasn't raised in the hood and didn't get a chance to listen to it sitting on someone's front steps. I learned about it when I got my first computer, subscribing to one of the initial online services called Prodigy Internet. In sifting through numbers of chat rooms, I found one that was centered around hip hop. I clicked to enter.

People of all ages were there. Men, women alike. East coast, west coast, down south, midwest, Canada. They talked about the genre's origin (South Bronx), the four pillars (emceeing, djing, grafitti and break dancing), and artists like Eric B. and Rakim, KRS-ONE, and A Tribe Called Quest. I heard joints like Microphone Fiend, Rapper's Delight and Bonita Applebum.

I was a novice, so I sat back and took it all in. Once I felt more comfortable, I asked questions. Why that sample? Why that beat? It was like a family in a way; the older 'vets', a fresh group of guys who called themselves Lyrical Militia, sassy females that spat out rhymes better than some of the men, and me. A Polish American teen bobbing her head to music people in my neighborhood had no idea about.

I bought my very first hip hop cd and it was Enter the Wutang (36 Chambers). I cranked Bring Da Ruckus, and my parents thought I had lost my mind.

From there came bulletin boards to post raps on, and wav files that were recorded on the spot. The words were passionate; about struggle, love, life.

In the meantime, more artists emerged and among them the one I most admired; Biggie. He pounded out rhymes so quickly and smoothly, I was immediately hooked.

I was also able to appreciate the talents of Jurassic 5, Nas, De La Soul, Blackalicious, Company Flow, Lauryn Hill and a number of others.

For nearly 4 years like clockwork, I closed my bedroom door at 7pm and went to go chat with my friends. Although the majority of us never actually met in person, that's what we really were. And no matter what we were experiencing and where we were, we knew two things.

We had music, and we had each other.


  1. Wow would have never guest that you were a Wu Tang fan. lol Nice blog! RIP Heavy D!

  2. I cried the day heavy died.