A message to Hip Hop at 50 from Issys

Dear Bestie,

Hey girl! I am writing to you to just say hello and check up on you! I have been thinking about you recently and want to know what has been going on in your life. I was just thinking about how I haven’t talked to you in quite awhile and remembering how we used to hang out as kids in Chicago. You literally used to come to my house and we would play with my brothers while listening to music. Literally all types of music, I want to give you your props and credit because I am in love with music. Those days in the summer where you would just come over and we would have a listening session to the radio. We would switch between 92.3, 102.7, and 107.5WGCI. It was magical. Because of our listening sessions, it made me appreciate music while growing up with you. You know as you grow up you have your own interest, hobbies, and passions. I, of course, know yours, which is music and early childhood. You went to school to become a teacher and to wokr with kids and toddlers. I know or at least knew who you are. It has been 6 month since we have talked and we are in our 20s but I can say that I am really grateful that I met you and I have the honor of growing up with you. You were there for me and stayed by my side when nobody else would. Most people don’t have that opportunity in life and I am extremely grateful that I was able to grow up with a person like you. You can tell me what I have done wrong and vice versa. You can always keep me grounded and I appreciate that more than you know. I keep coming back to music because that is what kept us together. Of course it wasn’t the only thing but you would come over my house when our favorite artists would drop their songs and like I said, we would listen to them on the radio. You taught me that it is more about just what you are hearing bu what you can listen to, with that being the beat, the lyrics, just everything, production included. I didn’t know the technical terms until I went to Spelman and took African American Music. I don’t know if I ever told you but the music we used to listen to, there is so much to it. There are producers and back stories that go with everything. I didn’t know there were sub-genres of music. For example, we used to listen to hip hop and r&b the most on the radio. Once I took African American music, I learned that there are sub genres to everything. When I say everything, I mean everything. There is a place for every song and no one song is subjective to one genre. Songs can be more than one genre. One thing I didn’t know was that there was a sub genre of hip hop called Grime and Horrorcore. When you really think about it, horrorcore would be songs like Crossroads by Bone Thugs N Harmony, songs like that that will scare you and also songs that are very upbeat and have a metal rock inspired beat but with a hip hop beat, lyrics, and a hip hop rhythm. Another thing I did not know was how female dominated the hip hop game was. The first female in rap was MC Sha’Rock and she really set the standard and allowed for women like MC Lyte and Queen Latifah to dominate in the hip hop industry as well. Of course the hip hop industry was male dominated for a very long time but if you don’t do your research, you would never know about the ladies who contributed to the game. To be quite honest, some gentlemen took inspiration from females. For example, Biggie took after Lil Kim and has gone on record to say that he appreciates Lil Kim’s work and listened to her music when he was stuck writing raps. Another inspiration that males took from females was very much so the fashion. I think with guys, there wasn’t really importance to what they were wearing but with ladies, they had to look a certain way to pertain to males and women for their audiences. Men then started putting on elegant clothes and putting their best foot forth when it comes to clothing and their style. Fashion has very much changed over the years and I feel as though that women have played a major part in that. It wasn’t really recognized until recent years but females always had an influence in hiphop, people, especially, males, had a hard time openly saying it. I’ve gone on a rant, you must be very irritated with me. I am sorry but you know how I am. When I start talking about music, especially hip hop, I can just go on and on because it’s a passion for me and you. When I talk about hiphop like this I know you won’t be mad because you appreciate the information as well. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the information I learned throughout the years. From b-girls to mixing and mastering a beat for an artist, I have learned a lot and I am more than willing to show that to you. I am so excited for the state of hiphop in the future and I hope you are too but I am mainly just writing this letter to talk to you. I missed you bestie! Write me back! 


Issys Russell

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