Honoring Hip-Hop?

I’m not gonna watch it!” “I’m not gonna watch it!” “I’m not gonna watch it!”

Every year when VH1 starts its publicity blitz for Hip-Hop Honors, I repeat this mantra in my mind for protection, thinking maybe if I say it enough I’ll succeed in resisting. Even as I’m staring at the posters in the subway or attentively watching the commercials on TV, I’m stil saying it. Part of me resents that this media conglomerate has the audacity and resources to pull of an event of such importance and potential for our youth.

Well, this year, I’ve finally given in and feel no shame in having watched most of H3. When it comes down to it, H3 does the most wholesome job of publicly celebrating and ceremonializing the art of writing rhymes and composing rap music than does any so called hip-hop magazine or television network. I know this is a sad qualifier, but at least there aren’t any booty dancers or painful acceptance speeches. Hell, they even allow the ol’ heads to get up there and do what really matters…living their art. Here are a couple of clips from parts that I was feelin:

When I was around 14 yrs old, my brother Bugs gave me Rakim’s album The 18th Letter,which I listened to nonstop and understood very little of. Anyhow, I fancied myself a b-girl from that moment. So, much for that…I didn’t even know Rakim was from BK until I saw this clip!

Now, I know I’m not the only one who hasn’t heard anything from Ice Cube’s latest release Laugh Now, Cry Later because it didn’t really have any impact on the charts. I appreciated that he chose to perform part of a track that has some social relevance. His performance did what it was supposed to do: made me interested in checking out the album. What do you think?


Don’t ask me why I was amped about the Eazy-E tribute. I mean,every time I hear his name I think of the line from that skit on one of his albums “…and she swallowed it..” and how disgusted I was even as a little girl hearing it. I guess I was just glad for Lil E that he had that platform to memorialize his father…’cause goodness knows he can hang up the phone on the rap career he’s trying to get started.


Oh, and I still don’t understand the big deal about Jeezy. Who’s he s’posed to be anyway? Nevermind…I don’t really wanna know.

..And for the last clip…what do you want me to say?

Who did you think I was gonna add?

Afrika Bambaataa!!!

Do you see how the stage was shaking? Maybe I’m trippin, but it looked like the theater couldn’t handle all of what was goin on with the (still) futuristic, soul-shockin, body-rockin vibrations from Afrika Bambaataa. This was the ultimate tribute. I mean, to actually have George Clinton and Bootsy Collins lionize your musical accomplishments is enough to either inspire you to go out and try walking on water…or make you feel ready to die ’cause there’s not much more to live for.

The ovation for the Wu-Tang Clan gets an honorable mention. It should have been longer and included time for a tribute to ODB. It looked like they either shortchanged them on the time, or edited out the realness. There was apparently some other stuff goin down with the Wu– surprised? I guess any self-respecting feminist would mention MC Lyte’s piece, which included Regina King, Da Brat, Remy Ma, Lil Kim, and Yo-Yo. Well, that’s all the mention you’ll get from me since I’ve never cared much for MC Lyte. If you’re interested in seeing it, check it out.

Overall, I get the feeling from H3 that someone out there (Nelson George and Fab5Freddy?) actually wants Hip-Hop to grow up and stop reveling in this adolescent stage where everything is one way or the other; where its acceptable and welcome for boys and girls to grow into men and women.


~ by Anayah on October 22, 2006.

4 Responses to “Honoring Hip-Hop?”

  1. YO! That jawn wit Afrika Bambaataa was the hotness!

    I’ll be back~

  2. Definitely a good and useful review, especially since I wasn’t able to watch the show. Sometimes I have reservations about how channels like VH1, and less so MTV/MTV2, are “all of a sudden” providing such coverage on hip-hop/rap. In particular VH1 previously showed the genre no love, but it seems that since hip-hop is “safe” and mainstream, they wanna do an awards show.

    But I must say that my opinion is a bit skewed and lacks real analysis. It’s just how I feel about it. Either way, I’m glad that hip-hop has made such inroads, I just hope that it won’t totally lose its essence (whatever that may be).

  3. thanks for dropping by yasare. one of the only things that makes me lend the show any credibility (especially after that ultra-sanitized, gap commercial-like presentation in 2004) is that hip-hop cultural critic nelson george and fab 5 freddy are the co-producers of the show.

    what i can see happening from the h3 awards is that hip-hop legends and innovators who are pretty much irrelevant to today’s rap music industry are somehow finding a lane for themselves. now, we have ice-t with this “rap school” show (however wiggity wiggity wack it may be) and the “pioneers of hip hop” concert at the newark symphony hall in new jersey featuring mc lyte, slick rick, big daddy kane, and whodini.

    so, i guess it ultimately comes back around to what more consumers of hip hop culture can be marketed and sold by such displays…because when it comes down to it, h3 hasn’t really served to introduce us to what new these performers have to contribute.

  4. Your roots are glowing(showing)! As I read your review, I kept thinking “I knew I loved hip hop when…”.

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