Sunday, January 11, 2009
If You Don't Know Now You Know
The film, "Notorious," comes out this Friday. It's the story of one of New York's finest, The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls. It's hard to believe he's passed away over ten years ago. For someone who wasn't in the rap game long, he had a huge impact. He came along at a time when West coast rap was all the rage. People had almost forgotten that this rap thing started in New York. Big Poppa busted onto the scene and reminded them.
I'm a fan of the hardest of the hard rap music. I don't mean the bitch, hoe, I sell drugs and i'm rich version. I'm talking about hard beats and lyrics that come from the heart. Biggie Smalls was right up my alley. I never found his lyrics gratuitous. It always felt like he was telling a Brooklyn tale.
I was born and raised in Harlem. We moved to the Bronx when I entered junior high school. It was the beginning of this thing some people now call rap and the people who love it call hip hop. It was fun. It was not only about putting words to music, it was also about graffiti, break dancing, and the electric boogie. I remember going to jams in the park and having a ball. I even grabbed the mike a few times. My name was Tricky T. (It was cool in the eighties) The dance battles were amazing.
Somewhere down the line, hip hop turned into rap and I lost some of my interest. I still listen to it, just not all of it. I often find myself wondering what it would be like if Biggie was still alive. He was just about to blow up when he was killed. He had so much potential. New York mourned for a long time after he died.
I remember the day he died, March 9, 1997. My husband and best friend threw me a surprise birthday party the night before and we had a lot of fun. He woke me up the next morning to tell me Biggie had been shot and killed in California. I couldn't believe it. Hip hop had lost one of its best.
I don't really listen to rap music anymore. There's too much bling bling and look at me going on. That's not hip hop. I prefer to look back to the fun days. I'm sure that's how those in my parents generation feel about r&b. Don't get me started on that.