“Don’t you give me I’ll that jive/’bout things that happened before I was alive.”
“Christmas Rappin'”-Kurtis Blow
I ain’t gonna front. One of my favorite X-Mass shows when I was a kid was, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” I always thought it was so gangsta how an ugly green dude with a stank attitude could roll down to Whoville one night and rob the whole ‘hood without waking anybody up. I guess the same way that somebody could steal Hip Hop without anybody noticing…
One of the hardest things to do is to break people out of their beliefs in myths. From childhood, we are taught to believe in a tooth fairy that leaves quarters under pillows and Easter bunnies that leave baskets on doorsteps. While most people grow out of such beliefs, the Hip Hop myth that if you hustle hard, you too can live the life of the rich and shameless that you see on tv seems to last from the cradle to the grave.
‘Tis the season to believe in flying reindeer and talking snowmen. However, Hip Hop-wise, we must ask ourselves is the myth about a fat, old white dude sliding down “chimneys” in the middle of the night in the grimiest projects any less believable than the story of an overweight corrections officer becoming a drug dealin’ superstar rapper?
Also, while no self-respecting “G” would be caught dead walking through the ‘hood in a bright red Santa suit, that same dude would have no problem walking through the mall with his pants saggin’ as a symbol of manhood.
Webster’s dictionary defines myth as, “an unproved or false collective belief used to justify social institutions.” While many Hip Hop fans co-sign this when talking about elves, they will give you the screw face when you are talking about Hip Hop.
Most religious or cultural myths are based on some historical truth or tradition and since Hip Hop has become a “religion” for some people, the same standard applies. While the roots of rap music can be traced back to the oral traditions of Africa, the same can be said about religion, as the three “major” western religions also have their roots in ancient African civilizations. One of the fathers of western theology, St Augustine once said, “What is known as the Christian religion existed even among the ancients and was not lacking from the beginning of the human race until ‘Christ came in flesh.”
While it is true that Christmas is rooted on the principle of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men, ” it is imperative that we study how religions have been used for what the late historian, Dr. John Henrik Clarke called “male chauvinist murder causes.” The same goes for Hip Hop, as Afrika Bambaataa’s vision of “Peace, Unity, Love and having fun” was jacked and has been used to promote the worst aspects of society.
According to Dean Dudley, in “History of the First Council of Nice” the use of Christianity as an excuse for military aggression can be traced back to around 300 AD when the Roman emperor, Constantine, supposedly, had a vision where a cross appeared with the inscription “IN HOC SIGNO VINCES” (Under this sign thou shalt conquer.) Following this were hundreds of years of the enslavement of conquered people under the guise of religion. But Hip Hop has also been used to enslave the minds of the masses by corporations who believe that rappers are worth more dead than alive. It must be said that we are not dissin’ a belief system but how beliefs can be misused to manipulate the masses.
How many people are aware that when they are poppin’ bottles in the club on Christmas night thinking that they are celebrating the “birth of Christ,” according to Rev. Alexander Hislop in his book “Two Babylons,” they are, actually, celebrating the ‘Winter Solstice” or “Saturnalia” when the Romans got their drink on ? (among other things.)
While it may be true that “Jingle Bells’ being pumped over mall intercoms may subliminally seduce you into spending all your money on some bling for your shawtie, we can’t forget that not too long ago songs like “Neva Scared” by Bone Crusher and “Tear da Club Up” by Three Six Mafia were accused of inciting violence.
Mental programing runs deep.
Although, the “Three Wise Men” who created Hip Hop may be Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash, it was some other evil, wise men who have destroyed it. These Ebenezer Scrooges are so ruthless that they would take Tiny Tim’s crutches and give him a beat-down and pump holes in the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
In his book “Afrikan People and European Holidays: A Mental Genocide ,” Dr. Ishakamusa Barashango wrote about how people will “embrace and put energy into a thing without ever analyzing the impact, for better or for worst, it may have upon them and their posterity for generations to come. ” The book goes on to expose the true origins of Santa Claus, Christmas Trees, etc,
Unfortunately, you stand a better chance telling a five year old child that Santa Claus is a phony than convincing a 30 year old Hip Hop head that the music that he has labeled “street certified” is really a product of Ivy League think tanks and Wall Street marketing campaigns.
We must begin to understand that Knowledge is power and the best way to keep a people powerless is to deny them access to it and keep them locked into accepting myths as undisputed Truth. So this year, the best gift we can give our children is Hip Hop’s forgotten 5th element; Knowledge.
That’s the real gift that keeps on giving.