I bought my mother a much-needed record player for Christmas, and we decided to walk over to our local record store to check out their selection. I ended up purchasing four Hip Hop records by artists that I realized I didn’t listen to enough, but that had been practically engraved into my childhood. N.W.A., Dr. Dre, A Tribe Called Quest, and Wu-Tang Clan were all artists whose names I knew should have more importance in my life. So, with a hundred dollars, I started a brand new journey! This is what I have to say about it.
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON - NWA
“Fuck Tha Police”. Something I tend to jokingly say almost every time I see a cop. In reality, it’s not so funny. This album touched basis on a topic that has been relevant throughout the ages, gaining popularity through the 1991 beating of Rodney King, occurring all the way to modern day cases of police brutality against African Americans, and wrongful shootings such as the case of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Before I go on, I need to make something clear. I am, in no way, claiming that the entirety of the police force should be viewed as pigs deserving of your hatred. I am, however, merely stating that, as a mixed-race female who grew up having to worry so heavily about whether or not my father was okay as he was on his way to pick me up for the weekend. Police brutality is a real thing when power is placed into the wrong hands.
Now personally, Straight Outta Compton wasn’t necessarily my favorite album I bought. While the music is catchy, and the beats are quite freakin’ sick, the overuse of negative terms and foul language reminded me too much of this generation’s use of mass degradation of anyone who is not a gangster in Hip Hop. Honestly, portraying women in music simply as “bitches” and “hoes” who mean nothing but pleasure, is not my style (Yes, I still bump my head to Snoop’s Lodi Dodi every now and then; but I never fail to state how much I hate the language used). I prefer music that speaks of the black experience without fighting fire with fire. What I mean is, while the things African Americans have been through should not be taken lightly, those affected should not be taking to violence or hatred to counter the violence and hatred done unto them.
I’d have to say that my favorite track on the album is “Something 2 Dance 2”. It has an easy-to-follow, electric beat, with chilled out lyrics that probably transformed the way Hip Hop was looked at in the music industry.
All in all, while the album wasn’t technically my cup of tea, it was definitely enjoyable and made me want to bounce around in the living room.
PEOPLE’S INSTINCTIVE TRAVELS AND THE PATHS OF RHYTHM - A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
The music is peaceful, the lyrics are clean, and the message is pure. A Tribe Called Quest delivers Hip Hop that paints a picture of serenity and gives you a sense of spiritual relaxation. I love the low tones, as they are experimental, cultural, and ultimately, extremely satisfying.
I really want to emphasize the use of the word “cultural” here. There is just some sort of weird connection to history that these beats convey, with the soft thudding of the drums (bongos), and the use of cool and calm sax tunes really penetrating deep into your very soul.
It’s the kind of music that brings people together and makes you forget that we even have to say “fuck tha police.”
My favorite track on the album, by far, is Bonita Applebum. Reason being is that there is never a dull moment listening to this song, and it reminds me of my childhood. This song was loved by both of my parents. With my mother being white, this goes to show that this group has a tendency to tHip Hop the likes of people from all walks of life.
THE CHRONIC- DR. DRE
Weed. Endo. Marijuana. Whatever you want to call it, it seems to come up a lot in music. “The Chronic” follows suit, using the infamous naming of the bud as the title of the album.
I won’t go on too long about this album because it was, unfortunately, even more vulgar than “Straight Outta Compton,” so there’s not much to say besides….. Ew. The language is disgusting and the message it sends to the outside world is just oh-so off-putting.
With all that said, the songs are catchy and fun. My favorite would have to be “Let Me Ride,” as I remember my mom playing it in the car damn near religiously when I was little.
Other than that, all I have to say about this album is “who… why… what the… ew.”
Yeah. It was pretty gross.
ENTER THE WU TANG: 36 CHAMBERS - WU-TANG CLAN
The lyrics aren’t nearly as nasty as in. N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton”, and while it still contains vulgar, violent language, “Enter the Wu-Tang” is much easier on the ears than the formerly mentioned album, as the beats are mellow and toned down, and the tone of voice is a bit more shallow.
Wu-Tang would mean nothing to me if it weren’t for my parents. The Clan is practically a deity worthy enough to be worshiped, at least that’s how I view them when I see my dad jamming out to their music.
Their logo has become a prominent part of pop culture, with the “W” becoming a standard symbol for practically any word starting with the letter. I have been to stores that blend the “W” symbolic of the Clan with the fictitious African land of Wakanda. Pure Savagery right there, I say. Wu-Tang has obviously had a huge impact on modern day culture and life; and therefore deserves to be recognized as a legendary group.
My favorite track? “C.R.E.A.M.” for sure. Because cash definitely rules every facet of my life (totally kidding). In all seriousness, this song is super fun to listen to, and If you know me, you know I’m all for a classic abbreviation-turned-word.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY:
So what I want you to understand first is that I don’t necessarily dislike music purely because of its language. Considering I listen to today’s Hip Hop music, I can handle a little bit of N.W.A. every once in a while. However, I do not approve of female degradation, violence, or negativity in any genre of music, whether it be Hip Hop or pop, or hell even country (which I can’t stand by the way).
I personally love Hip Hop and wouldn’t be my creative self without it. Hip Hop opens up a world of imagination mixed with hard core word play; and I couldn’t possibly come up with my clever ideas without the music I listen to. To the Hip Hoppers of past, present, and future, I thank you for shaping the person I am and hope to be.