Hip Hop at Lippmann

On Wednesday, Chris Vognar and I hosted a seminar for the Niemans on Hip Hop. Yes, hip hop. For many of us, hip hop is a mysterious genre of music, barely understood. Hopefully, Chris and I shed some light on the meaning and true essence of the music.
We each lectured for three sections. I focused on the origins of hip hop; women in hip hop; and political rap and hip hop.
Chris focused on sampling and mixing; gangsta rap; and rappers rapping about rapping – I rap, therefore I am.
The seminar ran a bit long, so I had to cut out a section on Biggie & Tupac, commercialism in rap, Lil Wayne and the Roots.
While Chris cut out his section on humor in rap.
We used an ample amount of video and played tons of music, from Rapper’s Delight to Eric B. is President to everything in between. One of the highlights of the evening was the poetry reading of “Fight the Power,” where each fellow recited one line, before we watched the video. I think it went over well. After the former presentation, Alvin Carter III, the program director for the Harvard University Hip Hop Archive, joined us onstage for a rousing Q&A.
Here is the section that I cut out, along with some videos.
Part IV
Earlier, I played Self-Destruction (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxyYP_bS_6s) for you and Chris played part of the Chris Rock Video on rap (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9A2I-X7b-w). Chris also talked about gangsta rap, which was very strong on the West Coast, while I have focused on a lot of East Coast Rap – and origins.
I want to now talk about what happens when East meets West.
Lets start out West.
This is Tupac Shakur. Although he was born in Harlem, the son of a former Black Panther, Pac moved to Cali and became the face of West Coast rap with songs like California Love, I Get Around and How Do You Want It. But several of his songs – like Brenda’s Got a Baby and Dear Mama – were about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in society and conflicts with other rappers.
(Play Brenda’s Gotta baby)
•Now, lets fly back east and meet Biggie Smalls.
•Big, or Notorious BIG started rapping at 17 and quickly hooked up with a budding producer named Puffy Combs. Big practically became a legend after the release of his first album, Ready to Die in 1994, with singles, Juicy, Big Poppa and One More Chance. Life after Death followed in 1997 with “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” Hynotize.
(Play Big Poppa)
So you would think that with success would come some sort of friendship. And for a while, there was a friendship. But the friendship faded.
The reasons for their fallings out are many and vague.
•Some say it was steeply rooted in the coastal rivalries. Pac was down with Shug Knights Death Row Records and Big with Combs lable Bad Boy. Both labels were fighting for industry dominance.
•Another claim is that Pac slept with Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans.
•Then, on the night of November 30, 1994, the day before the verdict in his sexual abuse trial was to be announced, Shakur was shot five times and robbed after entering the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan by two armed men in army fatigues. He would later accuse Sean Combs, Andre Harrell, and Biggie Smalls — whom he saw after the shooting — of setting him up.
•Although denying any role in the shooting, Biggie would later record “Who Shot Ya,” which many believed was a diss of Pac, mocking the shooting.
Pac came back with “Hit Em Up,” which featured the lyric, “you claim to be a player, but I fucked your wife.”
So the rivalry intensified until Sept. 7, 1996, Tupac was gunned down on the Las Vegas strip after attending a Mike Tyson fight. The immediate response was that the East Coast, or at least Big and Puff had something to do with it.
Six months later on March 9, 1997, Biggie was leaving a party in Las angeles, when he was gunned down in a similar fashion. 15 days after his death, his second album, Life after death, was released – featuring a song called, “You are nobody, till somebody kills you
No one was ever charged in any of the shootings and the deaths remain unsolved.
In the wake of the deaths, the rivaly died down, while rap and hip hop became a billion dollar, global industry.
•Aside from music, Diddy would become a clothing and television and social mogul. In 2006 his estimated worth was US $346 million, making him one of the richest people in the hip hop entertainment business.
•Russell Simmons, who started Def Jam would also drift into cloths, as well as with the multi-million dollar company phat farm. mong his community activism and charitable organizations are the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, the Rush Philanthropic organization and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
•50 Cent reportedly made 150 million in 2008, part of which from his investnment in Vitamin Water
•And Jay-Z is a part owner of the New Jersey Nets.
Their success spawned an era of excess and rap music that glorified materialism and opulance
(Play Big – I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)
other rappers who came out during this time
•Kanye West
•Mos Def
•Wu Tang
Rap has also escaped the strict confines of the East and West Coasts and expanded to other areas of the country. Arguably, the best rap right now is coming out of the South – the epicenter being Atlanta, which has produced such artists as:
Young Jeezy,
The Goodie Mob
Jermaine DuPri
And of course Outkast, which has changed the face, mood and tempo of Rap Music. And I think that if there was ever an instance or group that completely captured the America, it was Outkast and their 2003 release Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. The double album, debuted at number one on the charts and was a mixture of funk and Dirty South with elements of jazz, electronic music, and R&B.[1] The album eventually shipped more than 11 million units, and included the singles, “The Way You Move” and André 3000’s “Hey Ya!” Speakerboxxx/The Love Below won the Grammy Award for the 2004 Album of the Year, becoming only the second rap album to ever receive the honor (the first being The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill in 1999). The group would go on to star in movies and cartoons.
(Play Hey Ya)
But the face of rap music today, might be this guy.
Show pic of Lil Wayne
Dubbing himself the best rapper alive, Lil Wayne made a name for himself by appearing on dozens of mixtapes and singles of other artists. Tha Carter III was released on June 10, 2008, selling more than a million copies in its first week of release.The first single “Lollipop”, became the rapper’s most commercially successful song at that point.
(Play A Milli)
I wanted to end on Kalpana’s favorite group and who I think represent the true essence of Hip Hop, the Roots. Coming from Philly, the Roots kind of go back to the roots of hip hop, with risky sampling, important messages, dope lyrics and perfecting the root of hip hop – the live performance. For my final video I want to show their, “What they Do,” which satirizes the excess in rap.

•Show video – What they do


Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 5:32 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Vote Hip Hop at Lippmann […]

  2. Nice…wish I could have seen these presentations in their entirety. Hip-Hop is my ISH!


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