Fathers Day is all about lineage; the passing of history and ritual and of torches to future generations. As fathers, we impart many things to our children including wisdom, habits, and views. Most important, we pass on our genes. The essence of who we are and the key to what the next generation will be.
This Fathers Day, well discuss the Fathers of Style, and follow the genetic code through the years. Its only natural that you take from the past and put your own spin on it. As Elvin Hayes becomes Dr. J becomes Air Jordan (Sorry Kobe but youre a work in progress after coughing up a 24 point lead), we take the blueprint and alter it.
In Hip-Hop, we have emcees with an abundance of styles, flows, and deliveries that make an indelible mark on the culture, and future emcees build on what theyve seen. Without further ado, lets look at some fathers and sons.
The Kool Genius of Rap fathered the lyrical gangster style. His rapid fire delivery combined with his visceral, hard-hitting lyrics laid the foundation for many in this Hip-Hop music. While Jay-z fashions himself as G. Rap with better transportation, the rapper most famous for driving that car in G. Raps shadow is no other than the late, great Big Pun.
The deadinthemiddleoflittleitaly venomous flow along with the take-no-prisoners rhymes put Big Pun near the top of his contemporaries at his height. Ripping collaborations and putting pressure on other emcees to keep up in a way eerily reminiscent of G. Raps verse on The Symphony, Pun was perhaps Kool G Raps best son and extended the legacy of the gangster with the murderous flow. Below are a few examples to hammer home that point.
The rich story telling.
The incredible style.
The undaunted risk taking.
The presidency of the Mr. T fanclub.
Put it all together and you have the great adventurer, Slick Rick.
The one time member of the Get Fresh Crew (who had some classic hits in their own right) Rick went on to drop a universally acknowledged classic album and began to overshadow his former group.
Sound familiar? Probably because of Slick Ricks greatest son, the Ghostface Killah.
The cinema noir story telling, the rich flavor and style, and yes, the gold chains are all there.
So has his usurping of the Wutang crown been the new millennium version of Slick going further alone than Doug E. could take him.
Taking Slick Ricks storytelling and his gold (what about the wonder woman bracelet)to even greater levels.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Ghostface has taken flattery further by improving on the blueprint.
Hello Brooklyn, How you doing? Where you going? The answer to that question at one point depended on one man: Big Daddy Kane. The epic swagger. The unwavering confidence. The lyrical supremacy. The slick talk. The unflappable game. Kane has his genetic makeup present in two emcees synonymous with Brooklyn. B.I.G. and Jay-z.
The connections are so direct its uncanny. Mr. Cee, Kanes DJ was behind B.I.G.s discovery. His booming voice was as much a part of his delivery as Kane. His wit and charm, coupled with his ability to appeal to the ladies as well as the streets made him Kanes heir apparent. Unfortunately we lost him too soon, and another son had to rise and take the mantle.
Jigga took Kanes aesthetic even further. Slick talker supreme, Jay-z took Kanes cool aloofness, and made armor so thick you gotta admire me from 4 fiends away. Hes also able to switch speeds up like Kane, and be equally effective over a slow burn, or a searing (Just) blaze. His catalogue maintained its strength much longer than Kanes and tragically B.I.G.s, but its clear in their association, that Jay-z is continuing the lineage of the Brooklyn Hustler.
When Redman first burst on the scene, under the wings of EPMD, he introduced one of the first full time personalities in Hip-Hop. Lyrically pristine and hardcore to the max, Redman was also an emcee of varying flows and speeds and diction changes. What he became most known for however is his bugged out, devil may care attude and rhymes. In that vein, Redmans greatest son (with respect due to Esham) went on to become one of the best emcees of all time: Eminem.
Eminems I-dont-give-a-f**k persona, as well as many points of delivery in his early days are clearly reminiscent of the Funk Doctor Spock. The nasal tone, the ever-changing flows, and the juvenile sense of humor which doomed rappers like Young MC, but was perfected and allowed to flourish with Redman because of lyrical strength, are all present in Eminems DNA.
Freddy Kreuger was the bastard son of 100 maniacs. The culmination of 100 mightmares given birth from the womb of a virginal nun. Currently, promising emcee Lupe Fiasco is a true bright spot talent wise in todays muddled market. His music is punctuated by multi-layered metaphors, a hipster coolness, and a much wider variety of subject matter than most of his contemporaries.
Lupe is the Freddy Krueger of his generation, with the metaphors of Jay-z, the Chicago pedigree of Common and Kanye, the style of Pharell, and whether he embraces it or not, the cadence, delivery, and feel of Kamaal, The Abstract (Q-Tip). All of these factors combined in one MC give Lupe the inside track to become the MC of his generation if he ever decides to embrace that responsibility.
Sometimes, as the great Maury Povitch will attest to, we dont know who the father is. TI seemed to appear out of nowhere as the supreme ATL trapper rapper. Yes his road was long from Im Serious to now, but TI had that hoodness, that unmistakable drawl, that street edge and that smoothness to go with his substantial skills.
However an oft-forgotten member of the Dungeon Family (also forgotten for coining the term Durty south) Cool Breeze was the true originator of that trap rap style before we even hit the millenium. From the look, similar cadence, and subject matter, its close enough for you to be on that couch trying to connect ears, eyes, and noses to the possible baby daddy. When it comes to the trap, Freddie Calhoun you ARE the father (of just about all the trap rappers)!
This was just a small example of how styles evolve and are passed on from generation to generation of emcees. For further discussion and to post more examples of your own, visit the discussion on the Ill Community. Some are obvious like Rakim and Nas. Others may not be so apparent but may be equally as credible.
Shout to Peter Gunz, Big Daddy Kane, Ghostface Killah and others who actually have their real sons in the game carrying on tradition. Special shout out to NYOIL who is actually bringing up his DAUGHTER to fill the gap of credible female emcees. Super duper shout out to the 'Ol Dirty Bastard, because there was no father to his style. Shout to all the fathers and father figures out there on this Fathers Day from all of us here at AllHipHop.com. Peace.