I’ve always been proud to say that my music taste is extremely eclectic. I love everything from Frank Sinatra to Tupac to The Fray (my favorite band!–>check out my earlier post about them!) and back to The Temptations. Listening to music is one of my favorite past times so, naturally, I was really excited to start college because I knew that I would be exposed to new genres of music and falling in love with new music is one of my favorite things to do! But lately, I’ve really been trying to delve back into my hip hop roots. I guess I have my older sisters to thank for my love of hip hop. They were the ones that kept the 80s and 90s hip hop blasting from the stereo in my home when I was a little girl. Since I’ve been trying to reconnect with good, genuine, traditional hip hop (not that tired, played-out, trashy music that Lil’ Wayne calls “hip hop”), I find myself listening to Kendrick Lamar more these days.
If you call yourself well-educated on hip hop, then you should recall the “West Coat-East Coast” fad that began in the late 80s and has been revitalized due to Black Hippy. Black Hippy is a group of upcoming West Coast rappers from California. Their music is reminiscent of that old-school, laid-back, gritty yet honest sound that was so relevant to the 80s and 90s. The group consists of four rappers: Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar, and Ab-Soul (pictured below from left to right).
Kendrick Lamar is my favorite, but I really feel like this group could revolutionize hip hop in a new way and take it back to where it used to be. You know what I’m talking about. That kind of music that required you to sit and just delve into its lyrics. Or you could just be riding in the car, chilling with your friends, listening to the beat as you drive down the street. You know what I mean? It’s…relatable, it’s real, it’s conscious, and it provides something that is lacking in today’s definition of hip hop: substance.
Kendrick Lamar, a rapper from Compton, California, is, as far as I’m concerned, the reason for why Black Hippy has gained recognition now, though Schoolboy Q is definitely up there, too. His musical style reminds me of a mix between Lupe Fiasco, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and 2Pac. The one thing that really did it for me was the fact that Kendrick and Ab Soul created this movement called “HiiiPoWeR (stylized by holding three fingers in the air – hence, the title of this post).” Originally a song from his independent digital album Section.80 (which is really awesome, by the way), “HiiiPoWeR” was intended to be released to further the HiiiPoWeR movement. A quote from Lamar in a HipHop DX interview gives a brief explanation of the movement:
“A lot of people don’t understand. They think it’s just a song. It’s really a big movement that we’ve got in L.A. that’s spreading like wildfire,” he said. “Hiiipower: the three i’s represent heart, honor and respect. That’s how we carry ourselves in the streets, and just in the world, period. Hiiipower, it basically is the simplest form of representing just being above all the madness, all the bullshit. No matter what the world is going through, you’re always going to keep your dignity and carry yourself with this manner that it don’t phase you. Whatever you think negative is in your life. Overcoming that and still having that self-respect.”
HiiiPoWeR has common roots with the movement, T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. (The Hate U Gave Little Infants Fucks Everyone) started by late West Coast rapper 2Pac. T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. tells us that neglecting our young children can lead to future problems, not only for the child, but also for the community. HiiiPoWeR and T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. both seek to uplift a nearly broken generation that is being destroyed by society. And I think that’s something really special and incredible. And way overdue.
Because I love Kendrick Lamar so much and want other people to know about him and love him too, I had the idea to dedicate a whole post to him. You’re very welcome.
P.S. Not that kind of high.
HiiiPoWeR – Kendrick Lamar (from Section.80)
Where it started.
Swimming Pools (Drank) – Kendrick Lamar (from good kid, m.A.A.d city)
No Make-Up (Her Vice) – Kendrick Lamar (from Section.80)
For you, ladies.
Keisha’s Song (Her Pain) – Kendrick Lamar (from Section.80)
This song does it. I still remember the first time I heard it. My sister and I were driving to Boston for the first time. It was August 13th, maybe three or four o’clock in the morning. Everything was quiet, including me. And I listened to the lyrics of this song while my eyes wandered through the darkness illuminated by the car’s headlights. And even after the song ended, the lyrics stayed with me, bouncing around in my head. The lyrical brilliance of this song is something special.
Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar (from good kid, m.A.A.d city)
“Threes in the air. I can see you are in sync.”
Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst – Kendrick Lamar (from good kid, m.A.A.d. city)
The deepest, most poignant song on the entire album, Lamar wrote from the perspective of siblings of Kendrick’s friends that he had written songs about on Section.80 and good kid, m.A.A.d city. Hence, the title, “Sing About Me.”