Q-Tip, the Gatekeeper

The following are a series of posts to Twitter by producer/MC Q-Tip, offering perspective as to why HipHop culture stays on guard for inauthenticity. The posts, in all of their unedited glory are, together with typos, etc., eloquent and articulate.

[Q-Tip is a member of A Tribe Called Quest, Native Tongues and the Universal Zulu Nation as well as a solo artist and producer of other artists.]
HipHop is a artistic and socio-political movement/culture that sprang from the disparate ghettos of NY in the early 70’s

Coming off the heels of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT and approaching the end of the Vietnam war it was a crossroads 4 America

specially for blacks in the US our neighborhoods were PROLIFERATED w/a rush of HEROINE

our school systems here in NY dungeon traps with light for learning

blk men some of whom didn’t return from tours of duty n the ones who did came w/war baggage (agent orange, addiction, ect..)

these men had families but due to these events and throw into the mix the public emasculation…

they proved to be handicapped parents. The surrogate parents? The STREETS

the streets of gangs, crimes, and the hustlers coddled us and swept us up

but! Being a spirited, rhythmic & expressive people music art dance outlined our existence

it proved a way for us to exhault to scream to dance to laugh and find OUR VOICE

we weren’t at the time skilled musicians as kids. We had records, turntables, ideas and INGENUITY

being natural chemist we took from whatever was availed to us and we created something mighty and special

we cut breakbeats back n forth we took a hybrid of Jamaican toasting along w/ radio jock rap( hank Spann, Gary Byrd, ect.) and

we put our rap down..

it was a neighborhood thing really. Black and Latino Kids were carving out their space and it became infectious

eventually Keith Cowboy coined the phrase hiphop . Yrs later the first rap record was recorded and now we r moving

but during these strides this country still had the monster of racism and racial insensitivity breathing and ruling

believe it or not young black n Latino lives specifically weren’t acknowledged in mainstream American culture unless Ofcourse..

the convo was abt gangs , being criminals or uneducated. And hey! Like I stated early our families were rushed our schools

sucked and we were left to put devices to survive

but HIPHOP showed that we had DEPTH, fire, and BRILLANCE

the music was undeniable! It moved from NY N became national and even GLOBAL

hiphop now was FOR EVERYBODY!! All of those who cld relate to the roots, the spirit, the history, the energy.. It reached YOU

it touched your spirit n took u up. We magnetized you! That’s what BRILLANCE does

now u are fulfilling your dreams … BUT!

you have to take into account the HISTORY as you move underneath the banner of hiphop. As I said before

hiphop is fun it’s vile it’s dance it’s traditional it’s light hearted but 1 thing it can never detach itself from

is being a SOCIO-Political movement. U may ask why … Well

once you are born black your existence I believe is joined with socio-political epitaph and philos

based on the tangled and treacherous history SLAVERY alone this is the case

it never leaves our conversation… Ever. WeAther in our universities our dinner tables our studios or jail cells

the effects still resononates with us. It hurts… We get emotional and angry and melancholy

did u know president Clinton was the ONLY PRESIDENT to apologize for it?

did u know that remnants of slavery exist today thru white privilege? When certain “niceties” r extended your way because of

how u look? Isn’t that crazy? I say this 2 say u are a hiphop artist who has the right 2 express herself however she wishes

his is not a chastisement this is not admonishment at ALL this is just one artist reaching to another hoping to spark insight

into the field you r in. I say this in the spirit of a hopeful healthy dialogue that maybe one day we can continue

I’ve been on twitter a long time and this will probably be my last series of tweets pretty much but

I’m Kool with it as long as I got to share this w u. Zzzzzzz’s up! Peace!

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Mentorship

Imagine a HipHop culture in which each active participant, successful in their own right, undenianly talented in the arts and/ or business of the culture taking a protégée; imagine the master and apprentice leading study and practice groupsamong the youngest in art-and-culture cwntered schhols founded by practicioners of the culture instead of just the university-approved pop culture professor and rap star guest lecturer.
Imagine organizations like the Universal Zulu Nation, Rock Steady Crew, Temple of HipHop at the forefront of this effort.

Now… If we can continueto imagine, we can biild.

Great interview from 3/9/14…

Vocalist/poet/educator/commentator; the Bay Area’s Epiphany Castro hosts a weekly 2 hour gab called Epiphany’s House I was her guest and we listened to great music and talked of our backgrounds in it; What mentoring means to me; lots lots more. Check her out every week on Blogtalk Radio, home of other great spoken word & performance poetry related shows.

Suggested reading for HipHop cultural study [an ever growing list]

The Gospel of Hiphop, KRS-ONE
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, Jeff Chang
Hip-Hop Revolution, Dr. Jeff Ogbar
Fight the Power- Rap, Race and Reality, Chuck D
Black Noise- Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Tricia Rose
Have Gun, Will Travel: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Death Row Records, Ronin Ro
Gunshots in Me Cookup, Selwyn Seyfu Hinds
Bomb the Suburbs, William “Upski” Wimsatt
Total Chaos- The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, an anthology edited by Jeff Chang; features Bill Adler, Suheir Hammad, Kevin Coval, Staceyann Chin, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Rha Goddess, Danny Hoch and more
The Art of Getting Over, Stephen Powers
Don’t Rhyme For the Sake of Riddlin’- the Authorized Biography of Public Enemy, Russel Myrie
The Ice Opinion, Ice T
The Dead MC Scrolls, Saul Williams
No More Prisons, William “Upski” Wimsatt
B-Boy Cynics Getting Weeded in the Garden of Delights, Adam Mansbach
These Are The Breaks, Idris Goodwin
The Anthology of Rap, edited by Adam Bradley & Andrew DuBois- a collection of lyrics from popular rap and HipHop music.