I've never been big on hip-hop, I'll be the first to admit that. In fact, I despised it growing up; I was too into my punk music and busy hating the popular people in school to really care at all about rap, hip-hop or R&B. In retrospect, my hatred was more of a statement, and an ill placed one.
After a while, I decided to give it a chance, and my senior year I introduced myself to some more popular artists like Jay-Z and Kanye West. It was an instant kind of respect, not so much for their lyrical value, but for the overall feeling I got from the rhythm and harmony.
I grew more disdain for certain artists, and started to pick up appreciation for other names. I adore the efforts of crossover, like Gym Class Heroes who blend hip-hop and rock. But as for pure hip-hop, my favorite has been Lupe Fiasco for a while; his message transcends his music, and in true nerd order he raps about stuff that makes me smile.
"As I spy from behind my giant robot's eyes,
I keep him happy 'cause I might fall out if he cries,
Scared of heights so I might pass out if he flies,
Keep him on autopilot 'cause I can't drive..."
- Lupe Fiasco
I actually went to an event and interviewed Lupe for one of my earliest stories as a student journalist. He's as down to earth as one might imagine someone who raps about giant robots could be, and so I stuck with him.
On days like today - 75 degrees outside, sunlight peeking through fluffy white clouds, a cool breeze and not a worry on my mind - his music is the best to get me from place to place. Hip-hop had to earn a spot in my music library, but now it's nuzzled between the indie and the alternative quietly, waiting for its turn to play.
Today is one of those days...give it a shot. Lupe is retired now, busy running his label - F&F (part of Atlantic Records) - but he still keeps on the scene. I remember he was even approached to go over to Roc-A-Fella Records by Shawn Carter himself, but turned it down because his loyalty lies with his crew. Much respect.
Anyway, to anyone who hasn't kept up with me in a while, and if I ever chastised you for listening to rap, hip-hop or R&B, I formally apologize. There's definitely some gems out there, but sometimes you just have to find the beat that makes you nod your head.
Over and Out,