Hip hop’s true meaning

Several old school hip-hop artists came to A&T’s campus on Friday to educate the current generation of young people about ‘true hip hop.’

When people think of the pioneers of hip-hop music, some of the first names to come to mind are LL Cool J, Slick Rick and Rakim. These three artists are all well respected by older and current fans alike and have each carved out a place in hip-hop history for what they brought to the mic. However, early MC’s such as Sha-rock, Busy Bee and Grandmaster Caz were some of the names that inspired guys like these topick up a microphone in the first place.

The event titled “The Origins of Hip Hop” was the result of a joint collaboration between the Residence Hall Association and the brothers of the Eta chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. The event gave students an opportunity to learn about the true history of hip hop from some of the earliest pioneers who have often been forgotten about in favor of the more mainstream names of the industry.

RHA president, Brian Tennie, described the planning of the event as something that was in the works for quite some time.

“I first heard of the event when the vice president of Sedgwick & Cedar (a NewYork based clothing company that helps to try preserve the culture of hip hop), Scott-Abdul Salaam, brought up the idea as we were discussing a future event. RHA decided to do it because it is something that the students would really be interested in,” Tennie said.

The event, which started at 7 p.m., opened with some remarks from members of the RHA and an introduction of the panel by Busy Bee himself.

A thrilling break dancing exhibition by A&T students immediately followed.

Busy Bee then went to the podium and explained to the audience about the role he played in hip-hop’s history.

Busy Bee is often considered to be the first official solo hip-hop MC. He was known as the “Original Chief Rocker” for his ability to get block parties started and keep the attention of the crowd with his infamous shout outs. Bee was also involved in one of the first beefs of hip hop when he battled the equally legendary Kool Moe Dee.

“When I first started doing this in ’76, people thought that this hip-hop thing would last no more than about three weeks, but it’s 2007 and the culture of hip hop has taken over the world,” Busy Bee said.

Bee constantly stressed that hip hop was originally built on the principles of peace, love, unity and having fun.

Grandmaster Caz, also known as Cassanova Fly, was an original member of the pioneering hip-hop group, the Cold Crush Brothers.

He wrote some of the original lyrics to the 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight,” for which he was never given credit for.

“I started out as a graffiti artist because that was what the girls liked in high school. I had no idea that I wanted to be a DJ or an MC until I went to a party that DJ Kool Herc threw, and from that point on, I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to do,” Caz said.

Caz talked about how he didn’t harbor any bad feelings over the whole Rapper’s Delight incident because he still had new worlds to conquer and helped to make the Cold Crush Brothers one of the most memorable groups in hip-hop history.

When people think of important female MCs, some of the first names that come to mind are MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and even Lil’ Kim. But, before all of them was Sha-rock, who became the first recognized female MC when she started rapping alongside the group the Funky Four, at the age of 16.

She also recorded one of the longest hip-hop records of all time, “Rapping and Rocking The House,” which was 15 minutes in length.

Sha-rock spoke about the misconception that mainstream media has made out of hip-hop culture.

“We dealt with the streets and gangs but hip hop was a way to get away from all that negativity. The culture, itself, is not negative and rap music should not be all about violence,” she said.

She emphasized the fact that rapping is just one aspect of hip-hop and encouraged everyone to embrace all aspects.

Following the panel discussion, there was an open forum for students to ask questions. They ranged from topics such as the best MC today, the role of female rappersand the purpose of beef in today’s hip-hop scene. Before the event was officially over, the audience was given a treat as all three MCs performed for the crowd.

Despite the fact that these artists were making tracks before most of the students were born, they had the crowd rocking with them in the palm of their hands.

Grandmaster Caz performed his 2000 response track to “Rapper’s Delight” titled “MC Delight.”

A lot of the attendees found the event informative and learned something new about hip hop that they may have not known before.

“I’m into old-school hip-hop, and I can’t believe that I got the chance to see some real rap legends in person,” said junior Reggie Warren, a business major.