As the conversation continued on, the man behind the counter informed me that he was born in 1986. Shocked and amazed, I asked him how he knew so much about 90’s hip hop and not just the most recognized names but the underground artists too. The internet was his response. I laughed because it was a very telling response that cuts to the core of just how far hip hop has gone. No longer, are we purchasing music off of sidewalks of NYC boroughs. No longer are we waiting in line on Tuesday morning outside of Sam Goody eagerly anticipating the latest offering from Wu Tang Clan. No longer are we reading the cd jackets wondering who this one or that one is gonna thank in the liner notes. Times have changed and along with it, so has hip hop.
So as I sit back and reflect on whether hip hop is inauthentic or if I’m just old, I’m reminded of the 90’s. An era that saw a plethora of naysayers determined to shut down the genre and call it a fad. Naysayers who somehow forgot about freedom of speech and expression. Naysayers who shunned the baggy jeans, yankee fitted, bubble jackets and depressing stories about life in the lives of teens across America. I reflect, I cross my arms, lean back and think….Tamieka yeah you’re old...but so is hip hop and with maturity comes understanding, acceptance and appreciation. Hip Hop can be inauthentic and I’m old (er).