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More Than a Genre

posted Nov 15, 2011, 9:27 PM by Golden Knight   [ updated Nov 15, 2011, 9:39 PM ]
By Jean Chung

Hip-hop is more than just a category, or a type of music, it is a lifestyle. Composed of music, dance, rap and djing it is unquestionably a unique and creative genre.  Unfortunately, its image and true meaning tends to become distorted through the modern filter of superficiality. People tend to forget the message it originally conveyed. Of which is the hip-hop I know, but the one portrayed on TV or Music Videos strays far from.

This style became noticed because of its uniquely distinct and creative nature. The way the dancers embodied feelings and beliefs had truly never been seen before.  But now, everyone lies to him or herself. Although said to be genuine and seemingly real, a majority of modern hip-hop is solely developed to appease audiences. Ultimately ignoring the individual importance the art stresses in its framework.  The once important thoughts and emotions are no longer expressed, but instead the most entertaining trend at the time is.
In adhering to the public, the need for perfection has become vital. These demands have prompted the need for editing flaws and add fictional skill. However, this takes away from the beauty of the genre, the struggle. In which hours upon hours are spent getting better and nailing the moves, but today’s computer has made such dedication unnecessary. Such alternatives really take away from the purpose and meaning of the dance and its process. 
To some, hip-hop is all about the old school. They bring it back to the more primitive side, without the champagne, Escalades, grills, or money. The intention was simply to have an outlet of expression to embrace their cultural and artistic roots. With lacking such a motive, modern hip-hop has been forced to conform to the public’s interests as a means of making money and attaining fame are dependent on that very attraction. 
DJing, breakdancing, rapping, and graffiti art aren’t the only things that make people part of hip. They are simply the most commonly ascertained forms, but there is much more to each one than meets the eye. Being a Dj is much more than just standing above the crowd playing random music, but the role also entails creating beats, mixing vocals and instrumentals, and producing music.  
Another one of its many faces is dance. For individuals, dance is a release. A release of the energy accumulated from the primitive instincts of moving to the rhythm and becoming part of the music. In this way, one becomes closer to the beat, and the same time, displaying another side of themselves. To be true to dance, it must become the expression of love for music.
Rap is commonly noted to be the main factor that devalues the reputation of hip-hop. As for the quality of rap, it has not degraded, yet the music choice streaming radios has. The many talented underground artists are neglected and unappreciated for this reason. The connection between them and the radio opens doors for such judgment and separation. Rapping a verse in itself tells a story, contains psychedelic lyrics and instrumentals, and has no parameters as to what it can be about. It, along with dancing, is the single form of hip-hop that can be created in a stream of consciousness mindset.
Here is an example:
I put the needle to the groove and let my physical move
To these deep funky rhythms that uplift my mood
Flippin' through tunes and stacks of wax for quality
Addicted to vinyl and my only cure is poverty
Getting fingers dusty in a number of states
Is the thrill the kill or hunt for chase
Catch me diggin in crates for fatter breaks than Pangaea
Making beats for streets creating a buzz like sangria
Searching groove merchants and virgin soil for soul
Unearthing those beats that make your body lose control
And it don't stop a story telling never ending
Cali's the setting the plots a pot forever melting
Connecting cultures, through music it's amusing
Disk jockeys rock parties and it's records they're using
Awesome feeling my nodding head forecasts
It's the beats, no the vibes, man I can't hold back

Special Thanks to:
George C. Stower
Poe One
Amanda Lopez
Aston Chan
Jensen Hu
Daniel Gong