Music and Art In Your Backyard

For The Love of Hip Hop

Dear Hip Hop,

It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Through my own lifespan I have loved and I have despised you. It started out well in the 80s but over time I couldn’t stand your use of the “n” word, the blatant and unapologetic deprecation of women in rap videos, and most importantly, feeling completely unconnected to your message. Don’t even get me started on the lack of distinguished female rappers in your circle! Despite this, it seems that every 10 years you give me a gift…kinda like a bouquet of flowers to tell me how sorry you are for not taking the garbage out or for looking at another woman when you should have been serenading me.

These gifts come in the form of some truly inspirational artists, whose words, sound, and demeanor pierce my very existence, deep down into the vortex of my soul, taking me to a place not of this world; but from this world. These visionaries made me curl up in a little ball and weep. Sometimes, they throw me into a chaotic whirlwind romance. What I really love though, is how their music holds me and tell me that everything is going to be okay. That it has been a rough road and shit got bad, but we rise above. They tell me that there are decent people in the world using their art for good; because with great creativity comes great responsibility. An obligation to share that beautiful talent so the people can heal. And heal we must because there is a path before us and only the strong, the passionate, and the warriors shall survive it.

So for that, I thank you. This is not to say I won’t continue to wrestle with why you bless  2 Chainz with success and yet fail to open doors for the ones who make hearts pound. I have come to realize, however, the lesson you are teaching me; that is, I can only appreciate these gifts in a clamor of sleaze, grime, and banality. Who will see the lone flower that rises from the rubble when there is no rubble for it to emerge from?! Touche. Hip Hop. Touche.

So I will love you for now and some days it will hurt. But. I hope I remember that you love me too and no relationship is perfect. So for now, I will roll back the magnetic strips and playback the last few gifts you have sent me; and I will patiently wait another 10 years for the next diamond in the rough.

Love,

Your Avid Fan.

Tope Eletu-Odibo is Founder and Editor of Bad Girl Confidence. She works for the City of Austin and has a strong interest in Women's issue, social justice, arts, culture, independent music, and personal development.