The second law of thermodynamics is known as entropy, which states that over time, a person, place or thing will move from a perfectly ordered state to a disordered one. While in its original context, entropy relates to heat and energy conversion, it can also be applied to the physical life, with the slight exception that human intervention can sometimes prevent, or at least slow down the speed of entropy. Think of a house that needs serious restoration: over time, it will eventually decay, and if no one tends to it to prevent this, that house will eventually crumble into itself. However, if someone decides to take the initiative to restore it, whether by replacing or repairing the foundation, priming and painting the walls and adding extra support, one can save the house.
Over the last fifteen years or so, entropy has had an impact on Hip-Hop. The decline of the authenticity of the music and the life force of the culture seemed to start in 1997, at least in my eyes, and while I cannot pinpoint the exact cause, many will agree that the inundating of big corporations firmly planting themselves like a plaguing virus played a big role. These ravenous vultures found a way to deceitfully exploit the music and culture, and as the main manufacturer, extracted it out of its original essence, and diluted it into something that was unnatural and unfamiliar.
Using the metaphor of preventing a house from declining into a dilapidated state by the use of extensive maintenance, why can’t we as advocates of Hip-Hop culture use this same concept to help save, or at least preserve the original conditions of the culture? I catch flack on this site at times for being “stuck in the 90s.” While this may be partially true, I don’t look at it this way; I see it as a way to help preserve the “best part” for the younger generation. I understand that there are some younger heads who simply do not wish or care to learn about the history of this culture, and that’s perfectly fine. In due time, and given the right conditions, they will eventually want to educate themselves. I do this for the bunch that do want to learn. After all, our duty as older heads is to teach the youth, and this does not only apply to music. What good is the knowledge a school teacher has gained via higher education or life if said teacher does not apply it and share it?
The now generation has a variety of measures and tools to enlighten themselves on Rap history, and should be taking full advantage of this. As a child growing up, I did not have access to the internet which was still in its beta stages, and those who did have internet access also had long enough paper to be able to afford it. Nearly everything I’ve learned thus far was from being an autodidact, by reading books, magazines and everyday socializing and as much as I’ve absorbed, I still find myself learning more and more each day.
Instead of criticizing and condemning the MC who’s “keeping it real” or “making music like it’s still 1995,” salute them for doing their part in preserving and maintaining the culture and manifesting artistic awareness. You also can do your part by teaching the babies. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 years old or 30, if you have the knowledge, pass that shit on! I’m sure you’ve heard the old African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child,” so teach the babies! The children of today will be the leaders, educators, MCs and gatekeepers of Hip-Hop for the future. God bless the child that can hold his own.