In 2006 Nas declared hip hop as dead. I agreed with this to an extent, I felt “mainstream” hip hop was dead and that hip hop itself was on life support. While on life support, it would ocassinally take a few breaths, but had never fully come to breathing on its on again. Let me explain….
I was born in 1985, the youngest child(and only girl) with 3 older brothers. My earliest hip hop memory as a child is hearing BDP dumping from my oldest brother’s boom box, yes I said boom box, and it was being played from a cassette. It caught my attention, and from that day on my life as a hip hop head officially started. We took WEEKLY trips to Tower Records, because joints were dropping every week, and we had to have them. Once in awhile they would buy my own tapes because they would get tired of me taking theirs all the time, and I would blast tapes away in my walkman.
Going to Tower Records became a ritual for my brothers and I. While most little girls my age were concerned about jumping rope, and playing with barbie dolls(ok I did those things but they weren’t top prority), I was begging somebody to buy me the new Wu Tang joint. My dad would even buy me blank tapes and I would record MY OWN tapes of song from off the radio.
Growing up I wanted to rap, but sucked, I wanted to make beats, couldn’t figure it out. I wanted to do something in the hip hop world but couldn’t figure out my niche. Then I discovered source magazine and discovered the 5 mics. From that day on I knew I wanted to write about, and critque hip hop albums. Somewhere that dream got lost.
Back to Nas’s statement, hip hop was dead. I found myself not wanting to write because the product was trash. Slowly but surely it seemed like hip hop was losing its true art form. Now don’t get me wrong, there were some good artists out there, but my weekly trips started to slowly turn into monthly, then into every few months, then slowly every once in awhile.
Then came the year 2012, and I must say I brought more albums that year than I have in awhile. A lot of new, and old artists, were putting out some major heat. Then July came. An album came out that month that had me feeling like hip hop was back. July 13, 2012 Nas dropped his 11th album, “Life is Good” and put hip hop where it needed to be.
After blasting Life is Good all summer and the fall approached, a few more joints dropped that caught my ear. Artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis dropped their debut album “The Heist,” followed up with Kendrick Lamar’s debut album “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” Big Krit dropped joints in 2012, as well as Prodigy, The Game, and a few members of Wu Tang Clan and The Lox even dropped a collab album.
2013 fastly approached and you have more quality artists putting out work. Ghostface Killah dropped “Twelve Reasons to Die,” N.O.R.E and Styles P both dropped heat this year. Talib Kweli even dropped a project. Then this young man by the name of J. Cole came along a dropped a gem with “Born Sinner.” I can’t speak for anybody else but I feel like hip hop is breathing hard and trying to come up off that life support! With the recent announcement that Eminem will be dropping a project in the fall, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for hip hop.
Don’t call it a comeback!