I have given a Hip Hop presentation several times, and there are a few features of my presentation. I have primary a goal to distinguish what Hip Hop culture is, identify it, and set it apart from the lame stuff they call hip hop that the entertainment industry jams down throats.
I gave this presentation to my community of Friars; the Student community in Chicago, and the Home community here in San Diego. I gave it at our International Augustinian Youth Encounter in London. I gave it in the religion classes Fr. Alvin Paligutan OSA at Saint Augustine High School.
In some cases I opened up with Marco Polo and Masta Ace’s song Nostalgia, in order to get an idea of what real hip hop might sound like. It is DJ centric, and old school in style, but very modern.
The first point I like to make is that Hip Hop is first about the Beats, the Rhythms, and the DJ. A lot of people think its about the rapper, or the flashy guy in the music video, or the words. At best, the lyrics, the MC comes second, but hip hop started with the DJ. When DJ Kool Herc set up two turntables, to loop the breakbeat, that is when Hip Hop started.
The second point, is that there are four elements of Hip Hop. The DJ/Rhythms, the MC/Rhymes, the Bboy (Breakdancer, so named because they dance to the breakbeat, not because the contortions break their bones), and the Graffiti Art/Artist.
Third, DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa can get credit for really founding Hip Hop culture. All of them were DJs, and all of them made major contributions. Grandmaster Flash invented the Mixer/Fader to smoothly play breakbeats, he is also the first one to use the Turntable as a musical instrument. Afrika Bambaataa really got it together, and spread it worldwide. In fact, they were all spiritual men, but Afrika Bam saw himself on a mission.
I also like to credit some MC’s like KRS and Rakim, some of the illest. I didn’t present Guru, If I had more time, I would spend some more time on him.
I talk about the content of hip hop music, as well. It is much more diverse then the humdrum so called “gangster rap” on the radio. I try to challenge them to think critically. For one, if it were really gangster, why is it all over iTunes, and MTV, and completely socially acceptable. And why, if its so gangster and criminal, is it that the major fanbase are white suburban rich boys, and the promoters rich white record executives. There is nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING controversial about gangster rap, which ignores the social injustices in our world to dwell in silly fantasies. Real Hip Hop address the real issues. It is socio-conscious, politically active, spiritual, religious, intellectual, emotional, and everything else that touches upon the human experience.
I even showed them Mr. J. Medeiros music video “Constance” which was banned from MTV for being too graphic. It is a song that exposes human trafficking and child pornography. If you were to watch it compared to the stuff that is actually on MTV, you wouldn’t think it graphic at all. So is gangster rap really edgy? Apparently not, this seems to be edgy, Underground Independent Hip Hop that actually challenges the status quo.
I also show them some of my own original music, after sharing how hip hop has personally effected me for the good.