A Message to Hip Hop at 50 from Janae Shaw

Dear Hip Hop,

You are frequently replicated, but you have yet to be copied. You are more than a musical genre; you are a phenomenon. You, my friend, were born in the depths of a culture of the early 1970s in the Bronx, and your name alone tells volumes. DJing/turntablism, MCing/rapping, B-boying/breaking, and visual arts/graffiti are your four primary categories, and no two are alike. The simple mention of your name draws attention worldwide, allowing people from all walks of life to participate.

Many prodigies strive every day to preserve your name at the forefront. Only actual talent geniuses can uphold your label; you are something that cannot be taught. DJ Kool Herc, Grand Master Flash Run DMC Tupac, Biggie Nas, Jay-Z, etc. You may change into something new through time, but you never forget your roots.

I knew you were special when I heard your voice for the first time. You revolutionized the game with a combination of sounds, rhythms, and beats, topped off with an artist’s lyrical poetry. You share your magnificence with other genres, including the seductive ways of R&B, the smoothness of Jazz, and the sorrow of the Blues; you do it all.

Your authenticity is often challenged simply because you need to match the mold. You have been called names that have attempted to break you down and damage your effect. Always remember why you were made and by whom you were created. You, my friend, are the creator of such a tremendous culture.

My dear pal, You have turned 50, and what a journey it has been. Your influence can never be measured, and I envision you attaining more and more goals as the decades pass. Your future is as bright as the sun and never changes for anyone. As Tupac once said, “keep ya head up.”

Sincerely, Your Friend Janae Shaw

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