In Yurugu (1994) Marimba Ani defined the Asili as “the logos of a culture, within which its various aspects cohere. It is the developmental germ/seed of a culture. It is the cultural essence, the ideological core, the matrix of a cultural entity which must be identified in order to make sense of the collective creations of its members.“
Jiddu Krishnamurti, a quarter of a century earlier, was doing his own theorising, advancing the concept of ideas only being valid once they are vitalised by motion/life. In his book, Freedom from the Known, he declared that individuals must die to themselves daily, in order to live. In essence, he was encouraging authenticity and spontaneity without demanding improvisation.
According to the likes of Kimathi Carr and Oba Shaka, Africans in the U.S. invented a new Afrikan culture based upon the principles which were inherent in their previous life, as well as the scenario which they found themselves in. In fact, even Marimba Ani said that there are still things that African people do, without realising, which reflect their African essence.
In line with this, let’s briefly remember that the heart of ethiopia came travelled across the oceans and found its way in the Jamaican drum. After some time, a Jamaican immigrant (Kool Herc) would find his way in the Bronx, sharing the sound system with a wider audience. Other people, of course, bult upon this foundation, such as DJ’s who would revolutionise the rhythm with break-beats and the like.
Although the music was more geared towards the beat, to begin with, in the mid-1980’s, Emcee’s came to make cameo’s on their DJ’s tracks, as lyricism came to the fore. Eventually, these MC’s came to cirect the tracks, as the music came to be built around their lyrics, and evnetually, we arrived here… so what’s the point.
Hip Hop kept to its tradition (whatever that is), whether deliberately or implicitly, and did so in the most subtle ways. One of which was to be found in “sampling” where DJ’s would weave classical themes into the tracks, whetehr sounds, instruments, hooks or the like. I would argue that even if weak, this slightly suggests that there is a cultural continuity to this strange sound…