The Evolution of Hip Hop

I’m watching a documentary series on Netflix at the moment called ‘Hip-Hop Evolution’. It is a look at the role of hip hop and rap music in society, how it started and evolved.

I have an interest in hip hop and rap music, primarily because of the importance of words in rap and hip-hop music.

Call it street poetry, call it stream of consciousness verbal diarrhoea, call it rhyming-I make a living from the use of words, whether writing them or interpreting them-and I have always had a love for words, reading, writing.

These guys, these rappers, come from chaotic deprived backgrounds in Compton on the West Coast, from New York, from Detroit trailer parks and yet, they somehow were sufficiently interested in words and rhyming to see rap and hip hop music as a way out, as a way to get off the street.

The Rose that Grew from Concrete’ is Tupac Shakur’s book of poetry, written when he was 19 years old and the title reflects the miracle of some of these young lives, tragically cut short in Tupac’s case at the age of 25.

It’s a well made series of documentaries with interviews with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and other rappers and hip hop artists and deals with the West Coast, East Coast rivalry and the violence that bubbled under the surface for many years, and the evolution from the more commercial hip hop music of JayZ and Puff Daddy back to the self-appointed guardians of the ‘true’ hip hop.

It’s worth checking out.


Is Twitter Addiction Real?

Are you a regular user of Twitter?

I’m not, although I do use the platform to push out links to blog posts or videos I have made concerning Irish law or business. I do this on ‘autopilot’ by using a scheduling tool called ‘Buffer’.

There is plenty of such tools but this is my favourite for it is easy to use, reliable, and free for a certain number of accounts and scheduled posts per day.

From time to time, however, I have resolved to get involved in a more real, present way and ‘engage in the conversation’. But I have found that it is an inefficient use of my time which can be spent more productively and efficiently on other things such as writing blog posts or making videos.

Twitter addicts

I noticed, however, a number of people who seem to spend all of their waking hours on Twitter. And I could not figure out-still can’t-whether this is for professional reasons, personal reasons, or perhaps some type of addiction to publicly share their thoughts about, literally, anything.

I do recognise that Twitter is probably an excellent tool for journalists and the power to share real time breaking news that is happening around the world is its strength. But this is also its weakness as it allows any headbanger with access to a smart phone or pc the opportunity to publish the most hate filled, racist bile and conspiracy theories.

That’s the price to pay, it seems, but it is a high price.

But to go back to the Tweeters who appear to be ever present day and night on the platform, is it an addiction? An illness? A need for recognition? A need to be heard? A need to be read? Some sort of affirmation that they are alive?

What do you think?


Growing Old

It’s my birthday this week and I have been thinking about growing old, and what it means.

I think I have come to the conclusion that growing old is when you do not want to learn new things.

Growing old is when you do not want to make YouTube videos.

Growing old is when you are not enthused about finishing reading a book because, now, you get to pick a new one again.

Growing old is when you grow more sedentary and put on weight.

Growing old is not losing 3 stone since August.

Growing old is not hustling and grinding as if you were still 23.

It’s probably certain and self evident and an ineluctable fact that I am growing old.

But it doesn’t really feel like it.

Ready for School (the saddest thing)

It was the saddest thing I heard in a long time.

The teacher asked the little lad where he was the previous day, told him the whole classed missed him. The little lad told her he was up and ready for school at the usual time but nobody else in the house got up until 11.30.

So he didn’t get to go to school.

In my daily life, at work and at home, I am surrounded by books. I make it my business to be surrounded by books and believe education is a lifelong process and attitude.

But the vision of that little lad being ready for school and nobody in the house bothering to get up before 11.30 to bring him was a sad and graphic one for me.

If nothing else it reminded me of how much we take for granted in our day to day life; being got ready and taken to school when I was a boy was never an issue and something that I thought happened to every child.

Unfortunately, even in 2019 in a wealthy, educated country such as Ireland, that’s not the case.