‘Da’ What is Hip Hop? – P.So the Earth Tone King (Editorial)
Sorry I missed last week, was in Seoul and couldn’t get a post up before I left. ’Da’ What is Hip Hop is back this week with a brand new editorial from the only and only Earth Tone King – P.So! How did someone who grow up on comic books, anime and video games grow up to become a professional rapper? It isn’t as outlandish as it may sound. P.So is able to draw inspiration from a wide variety of topics to create great music.
“Comic Books. Video Games. Anime. These were mainstays of my childhood and adolescence. As a kid, these hobbies occupied my free time and were to become the basis for my creativity. Studies show that creative people tend to be during introverted and socially awkward during their younger years. This theory held true for me, I wasn’t the most popular kid. Berated by “jocks” and ignored by girls, it was difficult fitting in most of the time. This pattern continued until I heard a line from Ol’ Dirty Bastard, on Wu-Tang’s Protect your Neck– “Swinging through the hood like your neighborhood Spider-Man.” That was the first time I noticed the connection between Hip-Hop and Comic Books. It struck me as strange that a rapper from the rugged streets of Shaolin would put a Spidey reference in his verse. I thought it was super cool and I immediately purchased a copy of 36 Chambers. Thus spawned my love affair with Hip-Hop, and nothing has been the same since.
Over the years I’ve seen an emergence of what I refer to as “Beta-Male rap.” This isn’t meant to be a diss. I just feel like Hip-Hop is a lot less threatening than it used to be. Nowadays emphasis seems to be on songwriting and creativity. Image is still very important, but it’s not essential to be “hard” or have copious amounts of “street cred” in order to be relevant. People just want to hear great music. With this change in status quo in Hip Hop I’ve observed a surge of Emcees who for lack of a better word, remind me of nerds.
The jeans have gotten tighter. The glasses have gotten bigger (some even lack lenses). The subject matter has strayed away from gunplay and drug sales and the Street Fighter, Dark Knight and Dragonball Z references are growing. Let’s face it: everyone on planet Earth has a smart phone. All of the biggest movies of the year are based on comic books or fantasy novels. Big Bang Theory is one of the top shows in America. The nerds won, and Hip-Hop reflects that.
I love Hip-Hop because it allows people to be themselves. As cliché as that sounds, Hip-Hop really is the biggest vehicle for self-expression. We say what we want, we dress how we like, and the rest of the world runs with it as long as it’s over a dope beat. In a realm where lyricism is coveted, being really wordy and knowledgeable has its advantages. Hip-Hop is a place where the socially introverted can disguise themselves as super-cool artist types. The recording booth is like Clark Kent’s phone booth, transformation occurs and the rest of the Universe is none the wiser. Seriously, where would Kanye, Lupe or Cudi be without Hip-Hop?
I’m very inspired by the freedom this genre provides us. I also am appreciative of the fact that we are less critical of our artists, we’re allowing them to truly be themselves. I can’t wait to see what the future holds as the creative barrier that once existed continues to dissipate. Sorry to cut this short but there’s a new episode of Game of Thrones that I haven’t yet watched…” ~p.so the earth tone king Earthtoneking.com