For those that don’t know me, I’m Milo. I am founder, CEO, managing director, social media writer & analyst, administrator and post opener of Rockfresh. I’ve missed out on a few tasks I carry out, in short, I do everything and you know what? I love it.
When I first started Rockfresh, I guess I was rather secluded from the world of Hip-Hop (from a being involved angle.) I thought that the people involved in the scene would have an appreciation of the old school, it’s essence, it’s meaning. I was however, wrong. This isn’t of course a diss at the whole scene, of course there is a huge amount of knowledge amongst certain circles, mostly people over 30. Looking at some new kids on the block, I can’t help but think their knowledge extends to the likes of 2Pac & Eminem. I had a conversation some months ago with an aspiring rapper who was telling me that 2Pac is the greatest of all time. It is not my place to say who is right and who is wrong, however, I stated that in my personal opinion that A Tribe Called Quest are the greatest of all time. He replied “I’ve not heard of them.” I’m not usually a rude person but my response was of such shock that it just came out a bit rude. A rapper who had never heard of A Tribe Called Quest! The 5th Element – Knowledge. It was lacking. It’s something the scene has lost. When I did a stool at Boom-Bap festival, the amount of people who had not heard of them was scary.
To quote a tweet I saw recently from someone quite well known in the UK scene “Who really gives a fuck about KRS-1 or Immortal Technique in this day?” I’m going to take Immortal Technique out of the equation (simply because he is more recent than KRS) What does this say about the attitude of a modern day artist in Hip-Hop to even dare question KRS-Ones relevance in Hip-Hop today? Nobody has the right to question the relevance of KRS, not ever! This clearly shows the dangerous path Hip-Hop is going down.
Hip-Hop was a release for the youth of largely black ghettos in the US. Sure, we all like to see evolution, progression and boundaries being pushed but that doesn’t mean ripping out the essence. Hip-Hop repacked as Rap Music which then the money men came in and repacked it in with Urban Music. People have sold its soul and now I even see things like rappers in the EDL! Not that I personally am expecting a huge amount of brains within the EDL but Hip-Hop has become so warped that the music used as a voice for the black community is being used by racists!
Too many artists releasing music without anything worthwhile to say. Weed has always been heavily included in the Hip-Hop scene, however, some emcees have nothing else to talk about. Songs about getting drunk too. There’s just way too much of it and the worst of it all is they genuinely think they’re real Hip-Hop. To me, if it’s not an intelligent message, it’s not real Hip-Hop.
There’s some exceptional Hip-Hop comes from these shores. However, as a person, I am very disillusioned with the UK Hip-Hop scene. This criticism isn’t aimed at everyone in the UK scene, there’s quite a lot of artists I have mad respect for and love what they do but it’s at the wider circles – especially the new breed. There seems to be an insurgence of young, white British hop-hop that for me, lacks any content of what I consider real Hip-Hop. I am a white British male and I grew up listening black American Hip-Hop. Did I get it back in the day at 14 years old? Not completely. I still don’t today, I will never understand what it’s like to be black, American or to have lived in a ghetto. But despite all that, Hip-Hop has been a great teacher. Conscious, intelligent emcees taught me great values. Self-respect, staying true to yourself, self-pride, standing up to others, fighting for your cause and having respect for people. Values I uphold to this very day.
It’s come to a point where someone like English Frank can stand on a stage and say “He’s dumb. I’m not trying to be racist but he is African” I’m not jumping on the “get him” bandwagon a year late – it’s just relevant to this. On a Hip-Hop level, I’m pretty shocked at some of the names I see in line-ups next to him still. What is that teaching the next generation of Hip-Hop? What is that saying about the roots of Hip-Hop? What does that say about the values I was taught?
I see Action Bronson hailed all over the place. I’ve listened to a bit of his stuff and despite the hype, I just don’t get on board. His only subject matter is weed, booze & hookers. This guy is yet another role model to the next generation and slowly but surely, the younger generation will have no idea of what Hip-Hop actually is.
I only sell clothes but to have spoken and dealt with the likes of Lords Of The Underground, Ty, SoulStice, Kenn Starr, Phi-Life Cypher, Mista Spyce, Micall Parknsun (I could go on) has been a great honour for me. Hip-Hop has been shared and I have taken my share and been grateful for it. Talking to some of my favourite artists and being able to hold a conversation with them and feel completely comfortable with it has been the most humbling and enjoyable experience of my life.
Hip-Hop brought all cultures and races closer but now it has become so warped that it is losing its ability to keep bringing the world closer together. To me, it is important that Hip-Hop keeps its soul and that the values of this great music are never watered down and doesn’t become just another genre because it is more than that.