This new installment of Hip Hop Evolution on Netflix is giving me NOTHING BUT LIFE! Why? It represents the self-consciousness that was coming from the East Coast. I so related to Militant Rap from Chuck D and KRS-ONE and I watched how the consciousness morphed into Bohemian “Wokeness” of my generation, my age group. We were all between the ages of 15-21. Native Tongue. 1988. There are times when I didn’t even realize I represented Hip Hop, but Dana Owens? Queen Latifah?! She was a hero as a rap pioneer. They don’t give her enough credit. They just don’t.
But Native Tongues is my spark (De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, etc). Pos was my dude…the rise of Afro-centrism enhanced by tv, too. “A Different World” showed us that we could be college kids. Black teens in my gen were not “pimps” or “athletes”; some were just handsome Bohemian fly B-boys.
Then, later as the 90s merged and Leaders of the New School (Busta), Black Sheep (met that dude in 1990), Poor Righteous Teachers, Brand Nubian…and always Chuck D…always always Public Enemy (since the 80s)…made me be more militant myself. If you knew me in 1991 or saw me and V on WCU’s campus in that time frame, you saw a walking conscious with Black Fists raised!
I didn’t just wear medallions. I wore Ankhs and moved from studying Celtic history to discovering Kemetology. I mellowed out some by mid-90s and rode the rest of the wave with Speech and Arrested Development. By the time, 95-97 rolled in, Afrocentrism turned into NeoSoul and I set adrift the memory bliss as the music mellowed. The tribe still did their thing. Long live, Hip Hop. It’s a journey because the interviews show me my rap idols as 40-50 something-year-olds and then I have to realize that some of them are not here with us anymore, but most importantly, understanding that I, myself, am now 46 years old!!!!