My Unconventional (and Unconditional) Love Of Hip-Hop (Originally Published On June 4th 2018)

One of my biggest (if not THE biggest) passions in my life is my love of hip hop music. It may come as no surprise to readers of my blog (and my profile picture) that I am the whitest dude in the universe. I will never understand or relate to the black struggle and/or the ghetto life other than what people like me with white privalige are exposed to through this music, other media outlets and history books written by white people. Having said that, I hold this music genre (hip hop is a lifestyle, not just music but…well my previous statements already explained this) very close to my outlook on not just the world, but to myself and my own beliefs. Why? The answer is very simple. It’s the voice of a minority rebelling against mainstream society. It started off as a community in the parks of the inner city and was an outlet for the youth to use music and graffiti art to express themselves. It was all a response to the system giving them close to nothing and deliberately making it impossible for them to make a decent living, with equal rights or not. The music was a way out. And eventually it would expand, reach the masses, get on TV and pop radio, and BOOM, an avenue to get money and move out of the ghetto.
Now for me, my story comes from the polar opposite. The only similarities are struggling with something that gets very little attention and is deprived by the system but behind closed doors so society wouldn’t suspect people like me being at a bigger disadvantage than they think. As an Aspie, I have found my voice through years of identifying (if only a little from the overall picture) with the pain and frustration AND anger coming from rebellious rap artists that are fed up and will stop at nothing to take what is theirs. My favorite groups are Public Enemy, NWA and the Geto Boys. The latter of the three has a leading member known as Scarface (not the Al Pacino movie) who was one of the first hardcore rap acts to show deep emotion and vulnerability on record. And unlike current dudes like Drake, his emotion was real. It wasn’t a gimmick. Many of the things this guy rapped about throughout his entire solo career, were (and still are) connected with depression, suicide, violent crimes, and the corruption of white AmeriKKKa. This guy has clinical depression in real life AND has bipolar. He was diagnosed back in 2000, which was a rare thing for a celebrity to do 18 years ago, unlike today. And it was especially rare for a gangsta rapper. The point I am trying to make is, people like him, those three rap groups and many other rappers that have something to say made me a more confident and outspoken human being over the years. It was my education and window into the real world that wasn’t taught to me in school.
Notice how I haven’t mentioned Eminem yet, who everyone and their mama knows is white. His struggle as a kid I don’t necessarily identify with, but his career a little over a decade ago I certainly can. He was exhausted from touring and just from fame in general. He was depressed and was constantly popping pills to sleep through the night. Then when his best friend was killed in 2006, Mr. Mathers ended up unable to function without drugs and would overdose the following Christmas nearly dying. Long story short, he worked extremely hard to get off the drugs permanently and rap again. This time to motivate others going through a dark time in their lives and can’t find a way out. His Recovery album in 2010 was an 80 minute motivational speech over catchy beats and hooks saying “If I can do it, you can do it”. I never was a drug abuser, but the overall theme of what he went through REALLY spoke to me and still does.
There are many other examples I can come up with for artists that speak to me from below the surface, but all the ones that do this represent these following things for me… Motivation. Confidence. Purpose. A Voice. Hope. Determination. Expression. And a reminder that if you are angry at a situation affecting you and others, Your Anger Is 100% Valid and You Should Express It. And the same goes for Sadness and Vulnerability. It’s a strength to be open. It isn’t “emo”. It’s Keeping It Real. So when I am going on and on about trivial rap topics, it isn’t to act or sound “cool”, it is me being me, white and nerdy as ever, but being proud of my geekiness, quirkiness and knowing my right to throw it in the faces of the conventional conformists that fake a smile all day and have much easier lives.

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