The “N” word and ownership of Hip Hop
I’m a big fan of Hip Hop, in fact it kinda changed my life. When I was about 17, I was introduced to Hip Hop properly by an aficionado at my first job at Debenhams. He cut me a tape (yes, I’m that old, we used to listen to music on analogue media!) of a number of quality rappers including the one that became my most favourite; Rakim from the unstoppable Eric B & Rakim. I learnt that Rap itself was not necessarily about glorifying violence or materialsm, but in fact Rap was about a love for language, about creating potent metaphors and similes and having something intelligent and worthwhile to say. As a result of this discovery, I started to naturally extend my own vocabulary and as a result became more articulate, which at the tender age of 17 helped me distinguish myself amidst many of my peers whose palette of words were often limited by the foolish pursuit to sound more ‘street’.
I still do love Hip Hop, not that vacuous stuff that is massively popular, I prefer my Hip Hop thoughtful and thus truly powerful in moving listeners and making people think. These days my favourite Rapper has to be Immortal Technique.
Recently, I was at the Edinburgh Festival where my friend, festival flatmate and fellow comic; Ola The Comedian was invited to perform on BBC Radio 1Xtra‘s Hip Hop Comedy Night. I went to watch Ola perform that night and I found his routine both intelligent and hilarious, as he covered subjects like flippant use of the “N” word and also ownership of the Hip Hop industry. Very original and intelligent, listen to it below.