AllHipHop.com Editorial  

House Nigga Hip Hop: Slaves in the Game

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Hip Hop culture has been gaining so much attention in the political arena over the last few years. It is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, it is surprising to see so much self-hating Black men and Hippie’esq types trying to paint a multicultural myth that has never existed. First understand, that I LOVE Hip Hop. I also love those who say they love Hip Hop. But it is disrespectful to watch people actively lie about what Hip Hop culture has done, as well as it’s roots.

You have many Black people today who apologize for the Black roots of Hip Hop. Recently I was speaking at a Hip Hop event and the subject of race and politics came up. My question, was “Where does the Hip Hop community’s contemporary needs separate from the needs of the immediate needs of the African American community? Other people in Hip Hop have needs.”

My point was that Asian and Latino women and men may have needs very different from my political and social needs as a Black male and so on. So how will Hip Hop address such a wide spectrum of people under one umbrella? We ALL deserve political, social and economic attention.

One guy, who will remain nameless jumps up and says that Hip Hop is not a “Black thing”. This is more than disgusting because he is an African American. We go back and forth on this point (which is so sad really). I explain that Kool Herc (Black man), Grand Wizard Theodore (Black man), Afrika Bambataa (CLEARLY a Black man) Jo-jo (Black man), the Nigga Twins (you guessed it, still Black) and countless other African Americans were at the roots of all the elements REGARDLESS of who else got involved later.

To establish this as a historical fact does not in ANYWAY negate the contributions of Asians, Latinos (Puerto Ricans and Mexicans specifically) as well as Europeans and others to Hip Hop culture.

His point was that because he was a graf writer and ran and tagged with Europeans, Latinos and others that Hip Hop is NOT Black. No doubt, that the graf element is the most innately multicultural. But visual ART is a more multicultural thing in itself.

My point was that the art of Black men like Phase2 or Basquiat gave early attention to graffiti. The world was highly fascinated by the African American males latest artistic expression. It was illegal, mysterious and left temporary imprints of what was on the Black mind of the 70’s and 80’s. To acknowledge this does not make the graffiti works of someone like Seen, Dug One, Scape One or King Dream any less relevant.

Later, this guy walks up to me and we continue to debate. He tells me that part of my problem is that I am debating with him as a Black man. He then goes on to tell me that he is NOT a Black man, but that he “is Hip Hop”.

First, the idea that people shed their historical, racial and cultural selves to “be Hip Hop” is mind-boggling. Next time his Black butt gets snatched by Oakland PD, we’ll see how “Hip Hop” he is. That though, I will save for another rant.

I responded to him that I was talking to him as a Muslim first (as I choose to define myself spiritually first), but that my Islamic spiritual filter forces me to embrace the truth. The true history of Black people being the founders of the culture are not personal, but factual. I am a Black man and I naturally love Black men, women, and Black children. Coming from an oppressed people I naturally love ALL people (and want peace, justice and equality for everyone).

However, the racial makeup of the founding fathers in Hip Hop speaks for itself. Where these brothers came from, who their parents were and how they responded to oppression were direct results of being born Black men in America. This fact would remain true if I was an Indonesian Buddhist, or an Irish Catholic. I just happen to be an African American Muslim.

Malcolm X in old speeches used to talk about “house niggas” before. I hated the word. I never even used it really, until now. Because I SEE so many house niggas in the game today. I see them trying to lie on their own people’s achievements, so they can make others feel comfortable within the culture. Others do it so they can get an extra dollar. This a growing problem in America, and in Hip Hop.

We have a race war in Hip Hop culture. A race war rooted in certain Black people denying their own contributions, to gain favor with the new global Hip Hop community. It’s creating a multicultural myth. This myth keeps the true multicultural reality from truly maturing to fruition. A few White guys, Latinos or Asians who participated or were open to the beauty of Hip Hop in it’s early stages does not undo who the founders were.

I love what all races have contributed to Hip Hop. I think it is the greatest strength of Hip Hop culture. But, if we can’t be honest about the history of the art, how can we authentically mobilize it politically and socially? How can we have any real focus or honest platform? If we deny the authentic Black roots of Hip Hop today, when we have the power and the technology to define our history now, what can we say 50 years from now when we are written out? We will just appear as a footnote as poor folks who “just happen to have been there” when the multi-culti trend took over the world. This historical crime will be done by Black men, denying their own to get a dollar.

Does Hip Hop bring all kinds of races together? Absolutely. Are we one big happy family? Hardly. We’ll never be a happy family, until we can talk honestly about who we all are, and where we all came from- and love those truths without shame.

Adisa Banjoko can be emailed at: soulpolisher2001@yahoo.com

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