Constipated Thoughts Vol. 1 Ep. 12
“In fact she’s a queen to me, her light beams on me
I love it when she sings to me”
-Common (on Erykah Badu’s Love of My Life (Ode to Hip Hop))
The more I look through my past and consider my thoughts, actions and beliefs; the more I can see Hip Hop’s influence on me.
(Not, that it holds the same veneration as my Creator, King, and His Son, Jesus Christ; It doesn’t!)
Anyway, on a personal level, I’ve discovered that Hip Hop has served as a mentor to me; like a very wise and knowledgeable big brother.
And like many little brothers, I used most of my energy focusing on my big brother instead of the lessons he was attempting to teach me!
Yet, I see Hip Hop as a library of philosophy for an oppressed people. The annals of history will show that many useful political, social, judicial, and moral ideas and alternatives were offered through its lyrics.
As I revisit the songs of yesteryear, it’s like slowly looking through an old photo album, with each song becoming a snapshot of who I was.
But there were some songs that were like an entire album in itself! There was so much knowledge and wisdom to be picked from its bones, it never gets old!
For instance, a song that always kept me wanting to improve was penned by one of our greatest seers’…Tupac Shakur
“Get my weight up with my hate and pay ’em back when I’m bigger”
-White Man’z World
This rhyme right here!!!!!
This has always motivated me to go within and search frantically for more strength, more willpower, more faith!!!
Not only faith in myself, but faith in God! It encouraged me during my weakest moments and always reminded me that I have a choice.
I guess what I’m trying to show is, Hip Hop has had a major impact on my self-image and my worldview!
It’s influence can be seen throughout my life. From the day I married my wife Jasmin (in a FUBU sweater!(sorry Victor)) to the naming of my sons (“Tre’von Dabney”- heavily influenced by “Big Tray Dee of Tha Eastsidaz” and “Deandre Antwan” after my favorite rap duo “Outkast”.
It has also influenced my ability to dream about life outside of the hood. Hip hop was so much bigger than Memphis, it was bigger than anything else I saw black males do! It put our intellectual abilities on display for all to see but we were instead warned against its usage!
Hip Hop (as an art form and tool for self-expression) was villainized, devalued and reduced to a side show. Outside of our community it wasn’t taken seriously. (Hip Hop won its first pulitzer prize in 2018 Kendrick Lamar, DAMN….congrats K.Dot!!!)
Well, in spite of all the opposition it faced and the damage it’s inflicted upon itself (as we all do at times) Hip Hop has provided me with hope, determination and a greater vision of what life has to offer, even for…
“Lil Ole me, from Tennessee” (Playa Fly)
That’s my piece, I’m out!
Robert Dabney Jr
My ultimate mission is much larger than being a writer.
I’m a storyteller making generational change.
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