Tag Archives: KRS-One

Profound Hip Hop Quote #28: Ready to Self Destruct?

16 Jul

“I don’t understand the difficulty, people
Love your brother, treat him as an equal
They call us animals mmm mmm I don’t agree with them
I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what your proving them
Take heed before I lead to what I’m sayin’
Or we’ll all be on our knees, prayin’

—Stop the Violence Movement, formed by KRS One, quoted lyrics by Heavy D “Self Destruction”

Self DestructionAccording to the homicide statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 176 homicides this year (including July 15, 2011).  (Crime Maps & Stats)
Of course, this data does not account for other violent crimes such as armed robbery, rape and aggravated assault.   Is there something about the summer or hot weather that causes people to be even more violent than in the winter?  Is it that more people are just outdoors, so they are bound to resort to violence to address issues of contention they may have.

What about when it comes to people of color?  Are some people innately more violent than others, or does the environment in which people are raised or presently residing play significant roles in how they behave?  Last year, there were 306 homicide victims, as reported on Philly.com. Interestingly,  60 of the homicides involved people who were classified as white, and 242 of the homicides involved people who were classified as black.  This means that nearly 20% of the senseless deaths were white people, and nearly 80% were black people.  I am no sociologist or statistician, but this information is alarming.  In regard to neighboring counties and townships, many of them do not have “murder maps” because homicides at the rate they are occurring in Philadelphia would be considered an anomaly in those areas.

What conclusions would you draw if you just went according to the data and did not get to really know the people involved, their plights and struggles? (Not that this in anyway justifies the actions of these violent acts)  “Self Destruction” is a classic rap song where KRS One brought together some of the most renown rappers of the late 80s and early 90s for the “Stop the Violence Movement.”  Even though some of the slang terminology utilized in the song and some of the allusions may be dated, this song sadly still reigns true today.  Most people have heard the phrase, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”  Heavy D uses this very same message in his lyrics, “They call us animals mmmm  mmmm I don’t agree with them. I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what you’re proving them.”  I’ve heard people refer to blacks and latinos animals.  There are even teachers who do not think twice about using such a derogatory term.  Perhaps you don’t care about what “they” think, but do you care about your family, friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, etc. who may eventually wind up on their knees praying and mourning the loss of a loved one?  We’re all in this together, or at least we should be.  Don’t let our people, neighborhoods, towns, cities and nations self-destruct!

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Heavy D chose to drop the “g” from the words “sayin” and “prayin” for dialectical and meter  purposes.


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.