On this day back in 1973 Hip Hop was born and it has continued to innovate music, fashion and our culture ever since. It became more than a way for poor black kids in the Bronx to express themselves to each other. It became a movement, a way of life – a philosophy, if you like, in its truest sense. At the heart of the movement was a group of self-innovators who took the leap and found new ways to succeed, despite the constraints that surrounded them.
Thinkin’ of a master plan – Eric B. and Rakim
People like Kool Herc, Grandmaster Caz and Grandmaster Flash took many of the tunes and beats of the past and innovated using the tech and tools of the day. They didn’t wait around for someone to invent Hip Hop, they chose to do it themselves.
I knew there was a way to blend records together, but I didn’t know how to. This was haunting me when I was in my teens. In my frustration, I decided to start experimenting with electronics. I tested the torque factor on different turntables. I had to figure needles out. See, there are two kinds, elliptical and conical. – Grandmaster Flash
Their words became stories that people believed in because they lived and breathed them. They set out principles that many have come back to time and time again and their influence stretches far and wide. Hip Hop has a religious-like following and body of work that has endured the test of time. And our world is a better place for it.
Conquer your neighbourhood, conquer your city, conquer your country, and then go after the rest of the world. That’s my mantra. – Grandmaster Flash
Looking at the lyrics of Paid in Full by Eric B. and Rakim, I can’t help but see a story of creativity, persistence and a certain kind of playful street-wisdom. What do you see?
“Thinkin of a master plan
’cause ain’t nuthin but sweat inside my hand
So I dig into my pocket, all my money is spent
So I dig deeper but still comin up with lint
So I start my mission- leave my residence
Thinkin how could I get some dead presidents
I need money, I used to be a stick-up kid
So I think of all the devious things I did
I used to roll up, this is a hold up, ain’t nuthin funny
Stop smiling, be still, don’t nuthin move but the money
But now I learned to earn ’cause I’m righteous
I feel great! so maybe I might just
Search for a 9 to 5, if I strive
Then maybe I’ll stay alive
So I walk up the street whistlin this
Feelin out of place ’cause, man, do I miss
A pen and a paper, a stereo, a tape of
Me and Eric be , and a nice big plate of
Fish, which is my favorite dish
But without no money it’s still a wish
’cause I don’t like to dream about gettin paid
So I dig into the books of the rhymes that I made
To now test to see if I got pull
Hit the studio, ’cause I’m paid in full”