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Other Articles from The Villager

Rap is our culture Part 1

Tue, 1 July 2014 16:33
by Chris-Paul
Columns

a lot of rappers believe that rap started in America, which is the biggest piece of bull I have ever heard.
Hip hop as a codified culture, with its five elements, absolutely started in New York.  But the idea that African people started rhythmically rhyming over the beat of drum in 1974 is the dumbest piece of bull I have ever heard in my life.
 If the white media in America wants to portray our culture like that, it’s fine, but why people of African/Caribbean repeat this kind of bull astounds me.  As if our people went to America culturally empty handed.  As if there weren’t grouts in Yoruba land, Mandingo Empire and other parts in Africa, who for hundreds of years before the transatlantic slavery rhythmically rhymed and sang over a beat about our history.   
If people of African/Caribbean origin are completely ignorant of that then they should cease to speak or put themselves forward as experts on our culture.  When I look at what my people do, and this is not something I have learned from MTV or listening to American rap, I can tell this is my culture.   I grew up listening to African/Caribbean sound systems, hearing certain tales and rhythmic stories as part of our culture not something you learn from watching television.
Black rappers should view what they do as practising our culture, but it doesn’t mean that people who are not of African/Caribbean origin cannot be part of it. A lot of people practise Chinese martial art and I don’t feel that they have to beg Chinese rappers for permission but you have to acknowledge that it is Chinese martial art. A lot of these white rappers claim rap music it is everyone’s music, it is everyone’s music in the same way Chinese martial art is everyone’s, all human beings can practise it but if we respect other people’s culture we should acknowledge the origin. We should recognize where it comes from and that it is a product of a particular group of people’s culture.  Just like rap music must be recognised and respected as such.
But white rappers don’t do that. This is why we see that when a white man wants to be seen as tough and rough, they surrounded themselves with black faces. However if they want to be seen by their society as intelligent, they start as far away from black people as possible.
                                                                                  To be continued