prophecy fulfilled (p 2)

If you listen to some African-orientated scholars/academics, they might advance that an important aspect of the African culture was the transmission of traditions. This was to relate to children, and people in general, the core aspects of the culture which were necessary for their survival and ability to thrive. These cultures encouraged respect for elders and also, promoted systems of discipleship.

If you listen to many Hip Hop artists, they will typically remark that the people that influenced their thinking were primarily, LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee, Kurtis Blow et al, and secondarily, the lass of 87: KRS One, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim et al. In fact, the influence of these artists was so profound that when KGR fan, Big Pun ran-into his Icon, he knelt down and kissed his ring!

Although KGR is often referenced as the GodFather of Hip Hop, James Brown’s is also credited with this title, but beyond that, he is called the foundation of Hip Hop with his sounds still being used and sampled by artists. Beyond this, however, many DJ’s actually even sample their contemporaries, whether it is their percussion or their lyrics. In this post, I want to reference just some of these samples:

Beanie Seagal quotes from Scarface (Geto Boys) “Mind Playing Tricks On Me”
Canibus “Throw It Up” and R.A. “The Renaissance” pay homage to KGR “The Symphony”
Big Pun “DJ Clue: Fantastic Four, P1” quotes Rakim “I Aint No Joke”
Canibus “ How We Roll” quotes from Rakim “Microphone Fiend”
Dead Prez, AZ and Gang Star reference Melle Mel “The Message”
X Clan “Raise the Flag“ is Method Man And Red Man “Tear It Off”
Nas “Memory Lane” used by Immortal Technique ft Diabolic (nas to Rakim and Poet, Illmatic)
Nas “The World Is Yours” used by Armageddon in “The Hidden Hand”
Masta Ace “Take a look” is Gil Scott Heron “The Revolution…”
Masta Ace “Other Side of Town” is taken from Curtis Mayfields song of the same name.
Canibus “Poet Laurette 2”! uses quotes from Ouspensky’s book: “In Search of … “
Juggaknots “trouble man” samples Johnny Coltrane “My Favourite Things”
Cormega “Beutriful Mind” and Royce Da 5’9 “Today” sample Ike’s Mood.
Fugees “Ready or Not” (Buffalo Solider) samples Enya Boadecia (victory.)
Puff Daddy “Missing You” is taken from Sting “Every Breath You Take”
Ja Rule “The Reign ” samples from Toto “Africa”
Mobb Deep “Got It Twisted” “She Blinded Me With Science”. Thomas Dolby
Diplomats “we built this city” Starship’s “We Built This City”.
The Infamous Havoc’s “Trife Life” is “You Are My Starship” by Norman Connors
Q-Tips “Drink Away The Pain (Situations)” is Headhunters “I Remember I Made You Cry”
Craig David “Rise N Fall” is Sting, “Shape of My Heart”
Talib Kweli “Lonely People” samples The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby”
Mobb Deep “Quiet Storm” is Melle Mel “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” 1983
Eminem “Runnin” and Martika’s “Toy Soldiers,”
Saigon “True Story” samples Rogers “Lady”
Craig G “The Symphony” in Pun “You Aint a Killer”
Nas “Street Dreams” follows Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams”

This list, however, is far from incomplete because it fails to mention one of the most influential emcees to influence the music: R, the A, to the K.I.M.:

Rakim “I (Know You) Got Soul ” says “Its been a long time” , “smooth operator operating correctly”, “pump up the volume”, “drop the mic, you shouldn’t be holding it” and “it aint where your from, its where your at”. (also in “The Ghetto”) All of these lines have been sampled by artists in and outside of Hip Hop.
Rakim “Microphone Fiend” says ‘kick a whole in the speaker; and I’m raging… don’t I sound amazing’ sampled in “Waiting for” and a smooth operator operating correctly, and silly rabbit.
Rakim “Know the ledge” in KRS One “class of 87”, Shaking them up, breaking them up
Rakim “Check out my Melody” in “Making a name for ourselves” by Canibus and Common
Rakim “In the ghetto” uses “it aint where your from” which Pun uses
Rakim “Mahogany” provided a percussion sample for B.I.G’s “Dead Wrong”
Rakim “I Aint no Joke” in Big Pun Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy) “remember me, the one you got…”
Rakim “Eric Be for President” says “its time to build” and “aint no half stepping”, and MC means move the crowd
Rakim “Know the Ledge” is “say hello to the bad guy”
Rakim “As the rhyme Goes On” in Eminem “The Way I Am”
Rakim “Mahogany” says “…everything’s fine, but I’m in a New York state of mind.”
Rakim “The Punisher” in Canibus track “I’ll buss em…”

Finally, with all of these RAKIM allusions, what about his own thinking for is it possible that someone created God?

In order to answer this question, let’s quickly reminisce for Rakim himself emerged from the tradition of DJ’s and MC’s (Erik B and Rakim., Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, etc.) After the likes of DJ’s Kool Herc, Grand Wizard Theodore and Grandmaster Flash pioneered much of the art, the element of lyricism gave rise to a new force in hip hop which would soon serve a vehicle to express some critical commentaries.

In 1980 Brother D and Collective effort released “How We Gonna Make a Black Nation Rise” (although it was reissued in 1984.)
In 1982 DJ Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five released the Message. 1983 saw The Rake release “Street Justice.”
In 1983 Gary Byrd and the Global Black Experience released “The Crown.”
In 1983 the Fearless Four collaborated with Kurtis Blow to produce “Problems of the world today.” Enter RAKIM, for in the opening lines of this song, one emcee rhymed,

I’m living just to die without any feelings
so I wait here for my maker until its’ time to go

Asked someone about the time I slipped in “can you spare a dime?”
For asking where can I earn it I just don’t know
I need someone to talk to try and ease some pressure off my mind
Because times are rough nowadays
Got a high school diploma and I’m very ambition
So why o why do I live this way
These things called computers do the thinking for a man
Laving one man on the button while one unemployed
Should have trained with computers in some college course
So maybe when I play the game of life maybe then I’ll win
[…] Daddy we had fun the weekend that just passed
Mummy’s brother came to visit while you were away
I know why you look puzzled I was shocked myself
I didn’t know I had an uncle until Friday
I was relieved that I met him the places mummy put him… they went in the back
Thought it was kind of crazy But I know for a fact that
There’s was no way in the world I’ll kiss my sister like that …

After his solo debut “The 18th Letter” (1997), Rakim’s follow up, “The Master” (1999) contained a rare track entitled “Waiting for the world to end.” The lyrics to the second verse seem to be a profound confirmation of the old “testament” (era) in the new “book” (school). In a sense, it was the fulfilment of prophecy: the completion of the circle:

I see destruc-tion, even little kids trust none
They bust guns, that’s what they get a rush from
When I see em, we build and have a real discussion
“Yo Ra, what’s the jewel of the day?” “What up, son”
“You got ambition?” Shorty said, “Man listen
I got demands for livin, can’t stand division
Make grands on my mission, till everything glisten
Women in the Expedition, no plans for prison
In a vision the city get, 2 milleni G
Sittin in my MSC sippin Hennesy
Gettin high, and watch life pass me by”
So I asked him why, wit a fast reply
He said “I’m livin just to die without any feelings
So I wait here for my Maker till it’s time to go

Wit this dime I know
Wit all of her girls and all of my mens
Waitin for the world to end”

Of course, this tradition of street correspondents and commentaries can be heavily critiqued (i.e. Erik K Grimes etc), and yet, no-one even suggested it was not flawed. This is simply to highlight the context from which this eclectic music emerged, but beyond, to consider why it might be taken, or as Clarke would advance; where it still needs to go.

Finally, UltraMagnetic’s Ced Gee, in “Message from the Boss” articulated some serious sentiments which those who condemn the culture of Hip Hop might be quick to overlook. Whatever the significance of these statements, in these modern, corporate times, I would still people to dwell on them, and see the substance from the form:

Soul, no – here’s what you really need to do
Instead of battlin you need to really improve
our race, and every other race
Bring em together — and let’s face
the problems, that we need to be solvin
People are dyin, starvin, robbin
Bein discriminated from different jobs
and things like that so think about that
We have a tool to use that they call rap
So, yo, let’s use it, not abuse it
And in the long run, we have improved this
situation and turned into a positive
They doubted this, so we’re proud of this
institution we invented of course
That’s why this message, is comin from the BOSS

About omalone1

I live I die I write
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