‘Da’ What is Hip Hop? – Azage (Editorial)
Azage is a rapper and sneakerhead that hails from Atlanta and has made some noise on the underground/blogosphere. He has been quiet for a little bit but the dude really has talent. Luckily, we got him to discuss what hip-hop means to him and the South. He draws parallels between hip-hop and the South’s history overall. Hip-hop reflects people’s innate determination to win and come out on top although it isn’t just about competition. Starting with the hip hop elements that the culture grew from leading all the way through hip hop’s takeover of popular culture – Azage has got a lot to say!
“Hip Hop is a way of life. It’s a rich culture with a history of expression based on oppression and harsh realities. Hip Hop to me is truth. A voice that people from all over the world can relate to. It’s a transparent culture that allows commonality through fashion, art, sneakers and dialect. A Tribe Called Quest said it best, “Hip Hop is Beats, Rhymes and Life.” In the Southern region specifically its candy paint, swishers and southern drawl. Wood on the steering wheel, humid summers and soul food. It’s pushing the envelope and constantly reminding people that “the south has something to say.” In a lot of ways southern hip-hop runs a fine parallel trail with what we find in our history books. Both hip-hop and southern history depict in some way that people want to overcome something. Celebrating when we win and overcome obstacles.
Hip Hop represents the “have-nots” and tells stories. Not to be confused with rap, hip-hop is a way out. It allows you to escape and sometimes it’s the only real thing we know. From the beginning Hip Hop had a healthy balance of dance (sing a long records) and gritty street tales. Matter of fact, Hip Hop was founded on dance music. However, nowadays that balance may have shifted a little left. The fusion of rap and Hip Hop tends to be a little bit more prevalent. You see it in commercials, movies and all genres of marketing. It’s at the height of its popularity, which serves as a double edge sword. The culture we once called our own is now shared with the masses. So now we see it go from our story to no story at all. Its overs saturated and in the wrong hands. It provides jobs and crosses all genres like never before, but the soul in its lifeline is quickly fading. This thing that we call Hip Hop is the only way I’ve ever lived my life. Since I could remember it’s been in my blood…I wouldn’t have it any other way. Regardless of what it looks like now, you personally can define what the genre means to you. I think once you do that it doesn’t really matter what the state of hip-hop really looks like. We make the rules and as long as you figure out how to get that escape, you’re good.” – Azage