There is a lot you can learn by spending time in New York City. New York has cultures from the world over, but the best culture in New York is that of New York. If the U.S. is a melting pot, New York is the blender where everything is chopped, diced, and mixed. People in the U.S. adopt and share traditions and then combine some other influence or cultural aspect to fuse together something nobody has seen before. The U.S. is this in macrocosm, while New York is this mixer in the microcosm.
And that's rap, hip hop. Rap and hip hop culture in general are a result of this combination, arguably straight out of New York, but definitely straight out of the U.S. Rap might have been a natural inevitable progression out of R&B which occurred simultaneously throughout the U.S., but New York is hip hop and vice versa.
I love rap and everything hip hop. Without the influences of street poets, some who I knew, some who I seen from afar, and some who seen become stars on TV I don't think I would be right and definitely wouldn't be me. I listen to beats and rhymes all the time. Don't get it twisted though, there is a lot to rap I don't like; influences, trends and personas. I don't think it is necessary to call attention to these negative trends as they span the spectrum and might be immediately recognized and later glimpsed as well.
What I really want to call attention to is the power of rap and hip hop, rooted among the exiled politically and expelled financially, rooted in truly bohemian and proletariat streets. The power that rap has to set trends is unlike anything else. It is verse, beat, flash, grace of the streets. One of the biggest influences on rap and hip hop is the Nations of Gods and Earths, a community group out of Harlem and Brooklyn with roots leading to Malcolm X. Their influence on rap and hip hop cannot be understated, and as far as this listener is concerned have only influenced it positively with little influence on the negative rap trends.
I don't claim to know the entirety of the NGE philosophy, but a main theme which was impressed on me at an early age and has been proven 100% percent right throughout my life experience is the 85, 10 and 5% theory. 85% of people are dumb, deaf and blind. 10% are plotters who scheme on the ignorance of the 85%. And 5% are the poor righteous teachers who try to show the 85% what is up. When I first learned about this I didn't quite understand it, but recognized value in the sentiment.
The more I learned about politics and poll tricks the more sense the 5% made. Below is Orwell's notion of the numbers as presented by a fictional character in the fiction story. Seeing Orwell mention the 85% inspired me to research and found that others, two of which I quoted below, thought of the concept as well. Why are more empowering trends such as the 85, 10 and 5% not more commonplace while ideas about fake or ignorant trends are so prominent? Rap and hip hop have the potential to influence people in any number of ways. Rap and hip hop are the culmination of American ideals of free speech and free thinking, which is perhaps why so many hip hop sites were shut down last week.
"Nobody has ever seen Big Brother. He is a face on the
hoardings, a voice on the
telescreen. We may be reasonably sure that he will never die, and there is already considerable
uncertainty as to when he was born. Big Brother is the guise in which the Party chooses to
exhibit itself to the world. His function is to act as a focusing point for love, fear, and reverence,
emotions which are more easily felt towards an individual than towards an organization. Below
Big Brother comes the Inner Party. Its numbers limited to six millions, or something less than 2
per cent of the population of Oceania. Below the Inner Party comes the Outer Party, which, if the
Inner Party is described as the brain of the State, may be justly likened to the hands. Below that
come the dumb masses whom we habitually refer to as 'the proles', numbering perhaps 85 per
cent of the population. In the terms of our earlier classification, the proles are the Low: for the
slave population of the equatorial lands who pass constantly from conqueror to conqueror, are
not a permanent or necessary part of the structure."
~From 1984, By George Orwell
"Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think and the other eighty five percent would rather die than think."