As a female journalist I have come across a lot of titles that misrepresented my passion for music journalism/writing…groupie, gossip seeker or even unknowledgeable, due to being the opposite sex in a male dominate industry. As if there is no place for a female voice in the industry, shit don’t you know us females, emotional, nurturing beings are probably the most important figures in the industry. Who else is going to care why you do what you do? Who else really cares why your family history has birthed this character or how your mama taught you how to hustle and grind to achieve success? Or what about us Hip Hop heads whom watched bboys get it in, a part of epic freestyles, rep’d as hard as the next dude for the benefit of making Hip Hop a Culture?
Yea, I am sure a lot of debate can be created and why we don’t have a place, or our words are not as important as the next homies…But we have an ear that recognizes dopeness, we have a knack for witnessing excellence before it is created, embodying culture passing it on to our children or rather riding just as hard as the next male in a camp.
At twelve years old I met an amazing crew of bboys/dancers, freestyle extraordinaire’s …I was enamored with the lively hood, the heart, passion…As a dancer I wanted to make sure I portrayed that very experience when I performed. I watched with a perplexing mind while following the footwork shared on the linoleum in the garage of a homies house. I found every break beat to be a beat leading my heart to something bigger than I was. I wanted to learn about New York’s urban culture, the park party rock sessions, how they turned oppressed neighborhoods into an uplifted community with sound. How the art of rhyming could connect scenes or groups of people by elaborating on experiences in their lives and making it positive. How spray paint art, graffiti, was considered to be a crime and how it was simply a way to express reality without voicing a single opinion. It didn’t take me long to find a love for west coast rap and California’s Hip Hop culture…I was hooked. Shortly after I purchased Ice Cube’s “Lethal Injection” album amongst the many nights staying up late recording over my old cassette tapes, meticulously scotch taping over the plastic on top, the hot tracks after nine on my local radio show or eyes glued on the television watching videos and calling in requests on The Box channel. It wasn’t until then did I really see the difference between cities, color, culture and society. I became extremely intrigued.
I have made a life following the likes of many emcees, singers, djs, producers, videographers, labels and the industry. My passion for writing searches the depths of why artists do what they do, why they rap/emcee/freestyle, why they are on a label vs. independently, who inspired them, why they began to pursue this vast industry? I am obsessed with knowing why people do what they do, why they live the way they do, and what, who, or when they had come to be in their very passionate existence….
This brings me to an interview a lot of you, I am sure, have already seen, heard or told about. Dee Barnes, an emcee, tv personality, actress and journalist. Just a week ago, (bout a week ago, week ago…Sorry had to) Dee was given the role in Hip Hop history as the woman Dr. Dre placed hands on, to a woman whom doesn’t know how to let the past go, to a self-seeking person gaining a small run of fame due to the box office hit of biopic N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, forgetting all that she did right in the name of Hip Hop. As always there is two sides to every story, but in this case there are eight sides, and since that traumatic day for N.W.A. and one time close friend, Dee Barnes during an interview with YoYo whom was a fellow emcee in Ice Cube’s “Lynch Mob”, which was birthed after his leave from N.W.A., Cube jumped into the interview, feeling himself (prideful and egotistical) and spoke about his distaste for ex group members and thus brought on a slew of slander, hate and well the physical abuse to Barnes. Again, I was not there, but what I find to be extremely relative is after all these years, an apology was just made from the Doctor himself, but along with others, their justification was served cold.
My point to writing this is, just because we don’t directly do your exact job or art, or we inquire or want to know more, or simply take our time to find out why this, or why that….respect should always be given. You just don’t know where your path will be leading you or the next person. Always be aware of your actions, responses or even reactions and remind yourself that we are in this for the love of music. It’s not a selfish act, we do this because it’s our life and culture, our passion and what gives us air. In this case twenty years went by and it’s still makes a rift in the culture I so dearly love. Hip Hop.