So, I attended the 1st of 5 classes in 9th Wonder's Hip Hop In Context class at NC State a couple nights ago. That shit was dope. We covered everything from the Griot Tradition of Story/Truth telling in West Africa to The Black Panthers 10 Point Plan to Big Bank Hank stealing Grandmaster Caz's rhyme on Rapper's Delight. There was a nice mixture of people in there too. Young and old, all races and experience levels with Hip Hop culture and music. I was in there taking notes too, lol. There were about 100 people in there. Something like that. 9th actually had us all introduce ourselves and say a little about why we wanted to take the class. Hearing where everyone was from and their reasons for being there (e.g. fellow 80’s babies who love 90’s Hip Hop like myself, people who don’t know anything about Hip Hop, and folks who were registered by loved ones as gifts). Class was in this auditorium room at Hunt Library. So, 9th had his DJ equipment and a white board on the stage. This was actually the first time I got a chance to get a good look at the Serato Software that most DJ’s use now. I was familiar with its basic function, but sitting there in the room and seeing it on the big screen, along with seeing 9th use it was cool. I’m no DJ, but it looks pretty user friendly. I can imagine most DJ’s getting the hang of it quickly. Anyway, unless he was behind the turntables, or jotting down something on the board he was walking up and down the aisle talking to us. I was in the 3rd seat in my row, but at a point I went to the bathroom. And when I came back, I didn't just wanna walk back to it because I would have had to walk by or around him at the time. So, I sat in the first seat of the row 2 rows behind my seat. He was standing right next to me for a minute and when he mentioned the show Good Times and asked what it was about. I said, "Bad Times". He laughed and kinda bumped me like "Man, say that again". I eventually got back to my seat when he went back to the stage to do something. As I mentioned earlier, I took some notes and per the request of some folks who were interested in reading them, I decided to type them up and share them with you. I’ll also post some other things that I didn’t write down that evening. I’ll be sure to do it each week to chronicle my experience with the class. I’m looking forward to doing that, and looking forward to Part 2 next week!
My Handwritten Notes From Class 1:
West Africa - The Griot Tradition of storytelling. Telling the truth of what is happening in your community, life, etc. Speaking your truth.
Spirituals were created by the enslaved so that Massa couldn’t understand their plans to make and form revolution.
1924 - Immigration Act. In 1965 the original 2% intake was increased to 70% under LBJ. Lots of people went to The Bronx, New York.
Motown – Founded by Berry Gordy in the 1960’s. Gordy didn’t want anything to do with the Civil Rights Movement. He didn’t want their music to be a voice of black people and our struggle. He wanted to make music for everyone.
1965 – Cross Bronx Expressway (CBE) physically divided The Bronx. It created and/or increased the racial, and socioeconomic divide in the area as well.
“Without music would we know each other?” – Unknown
1968 – 13 year old Clive Campbell went to see James Brown perform in Trenchtown, Jamaica. Years later Campbell moved to The Bronx, and went on to become the recognized Father Of Hip Hop, by then he was known as DJ Kool Herc.
James Brown put the accents of his music on the 1 and 3 beat instead of the 2 and 4 like the Motown stuff. He wanted his music to hit from the start.
Taki 183 – Graffiti Pioneer. He was the first person to tag (write his name) on public property in New York. His first tag was in 1972. This later influenced fashion designer Marc Ecko, who put 1972 on his clothing because of Taki 183.
Black Panther Party – We discussed the 10 Point Program.
Cointelpro – A counter intelligence program that was created to stop the Black Panthers.
Clive Davis – He got 60 MBA student to go out and study how to sell music to upper class blacks. He picked certain people to go out in the community and get a feel for the market. Colonizing the neighborhoods.
A Few Extra Notes:
These are a few extra things I didn’t write down, but remember from class…
9th told us that Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five actually didn’t want to make “The Message” because of the success of “Rapper’s Delight”. Flash and his guys wanted to make a song like Rapper’s Delight so that they could have similar success. They had to be talked into making The Message.
Speaking of Rapper’s Delight, the group Sugar Hill Gang was put together by former singer, and music executive Sylvia Robinson. She founded Sugar Hill Records. The company was named after the Sugar Hill neighborhood in Manhattan.