Although it's not an officially recognized holiday, this month marked a special occasion (Hip-Hop Appreciation Week) for the millions of people who have been influenced by a culture born out of the plight of American, urban poverty and ancestrally-rooted in creativity at its best.
Since its birth nearly 40 years ago in The Bronx, Hip-Hop has been embraced, adored, and imitated by the masses. It has been borrowed from rampantly by the mainstream over time, becoming the sentiment that defines everything cool and trendy, the sought-after sound that moves most crowds, and the dictionary that defines pop culture slang.
But what is it?
Well. It's much more than music and jive talk. Over time, Hip-Hop and Rap have become nearly and incorrectly synonymous. But certainly, to those of us who have been raised by it and have it pulsing through our veins, we know it goes far beyond speaker systems and studio booths.
Hip-Hop is a notion, an ideal, a state of being, a way of walking and talking, an against the grain attitude, the spirit of the underdog, a spray painted tag on a wall, and much more. It's gargantuan - possibly too huge to be defined properly - so instead we've interpreted it...through our gear, hairstyles, slang, bop, and other expressions of love.
And while a large chunk of the majority still portrays many of us Hip-Hop heads as hoodied hooligans, we, the wiser, know we've been onto something good for years now. Just turn on the TV and the radio, look up at the billboards, ponder the protests, and peek into the closets and iPods of kids from Tallahassee to Toronto to Taiwan.
What we've amassed in 40 years is worth celebrating and preserving, as our multi-generational status has now cemented our staying power. Now, it's time to pop bottles, innovate musically, and inspire the youth with our positivity and political power.
Little old us? We (still) out'chea.
All week long, AllHipHop.com is paying respects Hip-Hop. Check back in for our love letter to the culture!