Divorcing Hip Hop by Matthew Lynch
Can you remember the first time that you heard a Hip Hop track? Do you remember hearing the treble and bass resonating in your ear drum, creating an auditory intoxication that left you in a euphoric state of mind? I remember when I first met Hip Hop. It was an unseasonably cool day in September. My mother and father had just recently purchased me an A. M. /F.M. Cassette Radio. They allowed me to listen to it regularly, as long as it was played at a reasonable tone. The first cassette that I purchased was Eric B. and Rakim’s, “Paid in Full.” I remember listening to “Clap to This,” and being enraptured by his complex rhyme schemes and his ability to balance both style and substance without comprising.
Hip Hop and I dated for a few years and finally when I heard Nas’s classic LP “Illmatic,” I decided that it was time for me to marry her. The year was 1994, and I was a 16 year old bride groom without enough money to adequately commandeer the necessities of life. But, back then she didn’t care how much bling I had, or the type of car I drove, she only wanted my heart. We had an open relationship, and although I became jealous when I saw her out with other fellows, and enraged when wack emcee’s would defile her name by creating Dr. Seuss rhymes, that can only be described as unimaginative. They were unauthentic, misogynistic, soulless cretins who invariably wanted my wife for selfish reasons. Even though I knew that she was a polygamist, I didn’t care because I loved her.
Nowadays, in order to get next to her, all you need is a gimmick or street credibility. It has gotten to the point were her suitors no longer care about sounding coherent or even rhyming when they talk to her and with the hooks that I have been hearing lately, it is easy to ascertain why hip hop is in a state of decay. Although, Hip Hop purists like Saul, Nas, Talib Kweli, have been bold enough to call a spade a spade and address this issue in their perspective mediums, what have the Hip Hop heads done to combat the poisoning of our bride? Iconoclastic emcee’s like Nas, Mos Def, Common, etc have been forced to play the back for a number of years, being tormented with the decision to stay authentic or crossover into the mainstream. A number of these emcees have resisted this temptation and have become multi-platinum artists on their sheer talent alone. The zeitgeist of the hip hop arena has been marked by fads, bi-coastal rivalries, etc. Hopefully she has learned from her mistakes, and matured now that she is in her early 30’s.
Hip Hop and I have been married for 12 years and although I do not approve of her choice of friends, I still love her. Over the years she has become quite materialistic, living rather luxuriously in her fancy mansions and custom Bentley’s. I know were she is getting the money from, but when I confront her she gets mad and starts on one her infamous tirades. I try to leave her but she has a hold on me. I have invested 12 years into this relationship, but I feel as though we’re growing apart, and any attempts to hold on will only make things worse. You may say that we need to seek out a marriage counselor, but we have been seeing Dr. Dre since 1990, before we were married. Even though he is a gifted psychologist, he believes that we should do what is in our hearts. We tried to get Oprah to let us come on her show to talk about our problems but Hip Hop has managed to alienate even her.
Even though I would like to work things out, she seems to think that things are just fine the way that they are. To this day she will not tell me how old she is. Even though her mother was pregnant with her for centuries, I think that she was finally born in 1973. I remember hearing stories of her father’s first gig at 1520 Segwick Ave. in the Bronx. Come to think about it, I think this was also the night in which Hip Hop was born. One of her father’s fellow musicians, Afrika Bambaataa gave her the name Hip Hop, which embodies the feeling that she gives her listeners. Although she is 5 years older than me, the age difference has never been a problem, until now. It is often said that “if you love something let it go, and if it comes back to you it’s yours.” Although my wife and I are going through a rough spot, I think we will stay together, at least until Nas’s Def Jam debut.