Where did the term hip hop come from? Did it originate here, on Earth, or is it a global phenomenon? Is there such thing as the Hip Hop Jesus?
I was first exposed to hip hop in elementary school in 1988. I was a fan of the rap group NWA. The lyrics were brutal, hard and brutal. You could see where they were coming from. It wasn’t all just just a love affair. It was about a culture and a time when no rules existed for those in power. I also enjoyed the artwork and the music.
But as the years went by, this culture started to become increasingly more mainstream. I think that’s when Hip Hop Jesus appeared on the scene at the time. I’d become exposed to the idea of the movement and the movement quickly became part of who I am as a human being. I started hearing the news that members of the movement, including myself, had died or been diagnosed with mental illness. It was an epidemic for us at that time. If you had lost a member of the Hip Hop Jesus Movement, you would see that headline in the newspaper the next morning. “Hip hop suicide! Hip hop suicide!” As the years went on, I started to appreciate that the Hip Hop Jesus phenomenon wasn’t actually all that extreme. If you had your head held high, if you had your feet on the ground, you could take care of yourself. However, I wanted to be safe and I wanted something to be done about the disease of youth suicide.
When did the name Hip Hop Jesus gain some traction?
It was a little after I graduated from college. I started hearing that name a lot. I think it’s important to have that kind of stigma surrounding it. As an audience, everybody wants to be part of this movement, to be involved in it. But it’s important to understand that there’s a larger message being conveyed during the day from those who are actually taking care of these lives.
How does the term Hip Hop Jesus describe the movement today?
In the past, the term Hip Hop Jesus would be a description of the hip hop culture at that time, but now you have to define what actually constitutes hip hop. The term Hip Hop Jesus is now a metaphor for a broader movement of youth empowerment and self-respect. The movement includes not only members of the Hip Hop Jesus Movement, but other groups which are also involved in the movement, such as The Clique, Outkast, Cypress Hill,
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