Profound Hip Hop Quote: Week #4

29 Jan

“But I don’t walk this way to portray
Or reinforce stereotypes of today
Like all my brothas eat chicken and watermelon
Talk broken English and drug sellin’”

—Boogie Down Productions, “My Philosophy”

Unless you were born in the 80s or earlier, there is a high probability that you have never heard this song let alone know who BDP was. I was first introduced to BDP in grade school and eagerly followed their music and then the music career of the front man, KRS-One, into the 90s to present day.  Oftentimes, I would memorize BDP’s songs, such as “My Philosophy,” and “Criminal Minded.” Nevertheless, it was always more than just memorizing; it was also about analyzing.

Rap music came into my life at a very early age.  Yes, I loved the rhythm, fashion and style; most importantly, I loved the idea of it making me “cool” and accepted amongst my peers.  After hearing “My Philosophy” as a youngster and most recently hearing it in my “old School” Ipod shuffle, it reminded me of how those very lines impacted my life.

For years, even presently, I will have the occasional person ask me, “Why you talk like that?”  or bring my “race” or “culture” into question.  Sadly, I’ve even had former employers say that “I’m an exception to the rule” or not like the “others.”  Interestingly, this song is over twenty years old, but the concept still reigns true today.  Why must people act, dress or talk a certain way to be accepted by their people or all people for that matter?  Have you ever felt the need to assimilate to appease the masses or your “own” family or people? I know that I am not a one-dimenisional stereotype and should not be treated as such.

What way do you walk?  What image are you trying to portray?  Is it necessary to live up to the negative stereotypes?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:

Instead of brothers, BDP uses brothas, and instead of selling, BDP uses sellin’. It is not uncommon for rap lyrics and many types of creative writing, to use a specific type of vernacular or common day speech because it is the voice of the writer or the persona or it has a better flow or sound because of the syllables or meter in the line. Keep in mind that many rappers who are well-versed and considered lyricists tend to familiarize themselves with the standard grammar rules prior to breaking the rules in their lyrics.


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