Hip Hop & Connection to Roots

Nas – I Can 

I Can” is a very informational and meaningful hip hop song that was created in 2003 by Nas. “I Can” is the second single from Nas’s album, God’s SonNas dedicated this song to the youth, mainly young black kids.

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Cover of "God's Son"

He uses his status and creativity in the hip hop culture to send a positive message to our youth with this song. Nas was a very popular hip hop artist during the time he composed this song. He uses kids in his song as well as in the video to help attract more kids to listen to the positively influential song. This song is very meaningful and informational to kids, especially Black kids. As far as the video, there are many things used and shown that link back to African roots. This shows how important and influential Africa is in our present society.

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Afrika Bambaataa

Sean Wilson 2004, Afrika Bambaataa, Tokyo

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In 1982, an artist by the name of Afrika Bambaataa created a song by the name of Planet Rock. Soul Sonic Force is the name of the group featured in this song which consisted of Afrika Bambaataa, Jazzy Jay, Mr. Biggs, G.L.O.B.E., Whiz Kid and Pow Wow. This is a classic hip-hop song, mainly created for break dancing. This song is very inspirational to the hip hop culture as well as this specific style of dancing. I really like this song because of the message it gives to its listeners, the connections it gives trough African culture, and the positive influence it gave on the hip-hop culture.

Afrika Bambaataa is known as the godfather of hip-hop. He formed the group called Zulu Nation, which was his crew originally called “The Organization.” At first the group consisted of a break dance crew, but eventually there were emcees, DJs, and graffiti artists included.

Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force. Download now

Image by jakelevine via Flickr

This song is more than just something to dance to. This song was for people to come together and have fun and create peace. In this video, there were many people of different races break dancing together. This shows how this song helped focus on dance and not color of skin. All these different people having fun dancing, break dancing, and battling, show a sense of diversity. Another reason this song is so diverse is because of the clothing the artists wear. They wear African clothing and colors and Native American feathers. This shows the connection with their African culture and understanding of Native American history.

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Classic Hip Hop Albums – A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest

“People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”

People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of ...

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This album is the debut album from A Tribe Called Quest.  The album hit shelves in 1990, at the beginning of the golden age of hip hop.  The album shows a variety of different topics in a humorous way.  This being the first time the group hit the scene left them able to experiment on different styles and bring a new form of hip hop to the scene.  The album covers many different samples from different genres of the past.  This shows the connection the group has with the past as well as an appreciation.  The singles from this album include; “Can I Kick It?” “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” “Bonita Applebum”.  This classic album earned 5 mics in The Source in 1990, and was added to The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums.

“The Low End Theory”

Cover of

Cover of The Low End Theory

This album was the groups second album released in 1991.  The album shows a strong connection between jazz.  The album shows a distinct connection between the two different forms of Black music, hip hop and jazz.  The album lyrically shows a strong social conscience over the smooth mellow sound of jazz.  Jarobi left the group and Phife had discovered he had diabetes, so this led the group to step up their game and make these intellectual topics to the tracks.  The album featured these popular singles; “Check The Rhime” “Jazz (We’ve Got)” and “Scenerio.”  Rolling Stone listed it as #154 under The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

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A Tribe Called Quest

Who is A Tribe Called Quest?

The Lost Tribes (album)

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This hip hop group titled A Tribe Called Quest consists of 4 members; Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi.  This group used their individuality and creativity to make hip hop songs and lyrics.  This group formed in their high school days in their hometown of New York in the 80’s and gained their popularity in the early 90’s.

Q-Tip and Phife Dawg were childhood friends and met Jarobi and Ali in high school.  Q-Tip and Phife Dawg are the MC’s who perform the lyrics, while Ali Shaheed DJ’s.  Jarobi was considered in the group because he was always with them.  He goes with them on tour and sings along with the group and is responsible for the voices in the background of some their songs, but he was more of a close friend to the group.

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The Golden Age of Hip-Hop

The Golden Age

Hip hop in The Golden Ages is by far the best period in time for hip hop.  Most people would agree with me and say that the 90’s was the peak of hip hop.  Hip hop was truly diverse in this point of time.  You had hip hop music covering things from gangster rap to party music and many other content basis for hip hop emerged during this time.  There were artists from all over the U.S. making hit songs.  Southern artists, west coast artists, and east coast artists all had an impact on the culture.

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