Hip-hop, ho, hey...
You know you’re old when you start an observation with “I used to like so-and-so back in the day.”
Such is my take on rap and hip-hop.
Drake? Li’l Wayne? Juicy J? Macklemore and Ryan Lewis? Rick Ross? I just don’t get it.
These guys don’t even have cool-sounding names anymore.
And according to the Billboard charts, hip-hop and R&B have merged; I remember when they were separate, distinctive genres.
Even listening to rap superstars Jay Z and Kanye West is a bit of a stretch for me, even though I have heard a handful of their respective tunes that I like.
So, to say that I’m clued in to what’s happening in hip-hop these days – and this extends to the local scene – would be a lie that only a politician could tell with a straight face.
But, this was not always the case. In fact, I like to think I was into rap and hip-hop quite earlier than many folks in suburban Middle America. See, I went to a predominantly African-American high school, and I remember being exposed to many early rap and hip-hop tracks long before they hit the mainstream and MTV, such as iconic tunes by the likes of Whodini, Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, Grand Master Flash, U.T.F.O. and the so-called Roxanne Wars.
I heard the Beastie Boys’ “License To Ill” about a year before “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” blew up on MTV, and can remember my friend Rob telling me, astonished “they’re white boys.”
And likewise, I remember the first time I heard Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” - it was during a scandalous booty-pumping routine by the drill team at a pep rally that had all the teachers and administration sweating bullets. Again, roughly a year later, “Push It” surfaced as a major, mainstream hit propelled by the MTV video.
Unlike many of my fellow rock ‘n’ roll fans in the early-to-mid-‘80s (i.e. white guys), I embraced rap – I think in part because I enjoyed telling my black friends what classic rock songs were being sampled in many of their favorite hip-hop tracks – and proving it when they didn’t believe me.
OK, enough of living in the past…
But I’ve got to delve a little bit into the recent past to explain where I’m going with this diatribe.
Back in September, I posed this question on Surge’s Facebook page: “What topics would you like to see Weekly Surge explore in future cover stories?”
Among the responses, the topic that generated the most interest and discussion was this answer: “real hip-hop.”
I asked for some elaboration, and then it really got going.
We have done a few cover stories about hip-hop, including the local scene, so I went back and checked, and lo and behold, it had been awhile.
So, I thought, sparked by this Facebook discussion, why not invite members of the local hip-hop community to a roundtable forum discussion and see what comes out of it?
I asked local rap impresario Phil Jackson, aka DJ QP (not the famous NBA coach), if he thought a roundtable-type forum would work, and he seemed enthusiastic about the idea.
I secured Fresh Brewed Coffee House as the venue (thank you, Alli Baccus), and deputized correspondent Derrick Bracey to get in touch with folks invested in the local hip-hop scene and asked him to also take on the role as the discussion’s moderator, interrogator and compiler, and they convened Nov. 9 at the downtown java joint – and the results of this exploration have come to fruition with this week’s cover story.
Bracey’s story is basically an update of a cover story we did in late January of 2008, roughly five years ago, looking at Myrtle Beach’s nascent hip-hop underbelly, and we hope it brings to light an often under-reported aspect of the Grand Strand’s talent pool and entertainment landscape.
And if you want to hear what some of these talented local rappers are up to, check out Pod Picks on our Music page, which recommends some material for your listening pleasure.
Kent Kimes, Editor