Last week, I didn’t have the opportunity to fit in my thoughts and condolences for every person that suffered in some way due to Hurricane Sandy. I found myself in an area where few of us had power. I was grateful, but not heartless. For some, losing their power came second to the draining battery life on their favorite devices. So I loaded up the myCharge (3000w Nexus), threw it in my Marley backpack along with snacks, and ventured out to help my family and friends.
If not for headlights, streets normally lit were shrouded in darkness. Areas of struggle transformed into wards of chaos. A handful of homes, led by a man of the house, would find him on the porch protecting his family; porches lit by flashlights and cigarettes with shotgun silhouettes. Life was extremely real in the aftermath of Sandy. And it still is for the families left with nothing, and for some, mourning a loved one.
With Thanksgiving Day upon us and a commercialized Holiday season to follow, I wanted to take this opportunity to give thanks to a somewhat “blah” year in Hip-Hop. Man, listen. I’m doing my darndest to let the greater good outweigh the dreadful bad. But Chief Keef wasn’t having it. Apparently, there are a lot of things in this life he doesn’t like. If you ask me, he’s too young to be that finicky. Like something, sir.
I’m thankful for Nas. It’s either he hasn’t missed a step or he found another lost tape from ’92 with his “Life is Good” album. He cemented his “Legend” status this year - 20 years of catching wreck on wax.
Youth Translation: 20 years of being better than Lil’ Wayne
I’m thankful for Interscope. You’ve distracted us with high-end headphones for so long that, over time, we were able to deal with not receiving “that album” from “that producer.” However, your delivery of Kendrick Lamar arrived at the right time. Twenty years after the release of The Chronic, Kendrick reintroduced the Hip-Hop world to Compton and the insatiable urge for Domino's Pizza. I’m happy to see the West Coast moving forward. Now if we could only get the East Coast to do the same.
I’m thankful for the coming together of Hip-Hop after the loss of the mighty Chris Lighty. Mr. Lighty, founder of Violator Management, was a branding guru, brokering groundbreaking and record-breaking deals for his clients - most notably, LL Cool J’s appearance in a GAP commercial in 1997 and the Vitamin Water pact for 50 Cent which, according to rumor, may have kept the South Jamaica, Queens MC from going “Hammer”. I didn’t know Lighty personally. But as a fan of the evolution of Rap music in the '90s, I’ve felt his impact. May you rest in peace and never be forgotten.
I’m thankful for the rappers who followed me on Twitter. And immediately unfollowed me after I properly turned down giving an hour and a half of my life away to hear their latest mixtape. I personally would prefer not hearing how much you ball, since you can’t afford retaining a publicist to talk to me on your behalf. There are spoken and unspoken rules to this game. And they both have manuals.
I’m thankful to have seen video of Run-DMC reuniting on stage recently. Don’t allow the “Hip-Hop is Dead” movement to distract you from the truth. While there are industry engines in place to stunt the growth of the genre, longevity may have notched the best year ever in 2012. Run-DMC reunited is proof of that. Ghostface Killah on the "New God Flow" remix is proof of that. We’ve witnessed multiple generations of Rap stars sharing the spotlight this year.
I’m thankful for being a part of the AllHipHop.com movement. And last, but not least, I’m thankful that rappers have stopped creating "Stay Schemin" unauthorized remakes.
What are you thankful for in Hip-Hop this past year?