How To Handle A Hip Hop Backpacker
HOW TO HANDLE A HIP HOP BACKPACKERby: Michael Miraflor???That???s not real hip hop.??? ???I never watch MTV or BET or listen to the radio.??????I miss the good old days of hip hop, circa 1994.???There are those hip hop types who you love to hate. The so called ???educated??? coffee-house intellectual types that love to talk about the declining state of hip hop music, as if its best days have long past. They talk about current hip hop music objectively because they think they are above it; their iPods are only filled with the ???good shit.??? You know, old school BEP, Common, The Roots, Talib. The entire Stones Throw catalog. Only revolutionary or obscure cats make their playlists. Holy war to them is the radio mainstream vs. the indie underground. And they still refer to Lauryn Hill as L-boogie. Those who have encountered such hip hop righteousness know not to get into any sort of philosophical argument, unless they are well equipped to do battle. Remember, these are the cats who probably wrote their college theses on the historical importance of Run D-M-C and the postmodern brilliance of Madlib. They never ever back down and make you feel like shit for copping the new Mike Jones album. So how exactly does one prepare for such an encounter with a backpacker?Let him or her take a couple of easy jabs at you. Make them feel like they???re winning. When they ask you what kind of music you listen to, say reggaeton and 50 Cent. Better yet, say your favorite joint is the reggaeton remix of ???Candyshop.??? At this point they???ll think you???re an easy target. When they ask where you cop your music, say you only buy CDs at Best Buy and regularly download the Top 10 ranked hip-hop songs off iTunes. Sensing blood, they???ll next ask you who your favorite MC is. Answer this unacceptably, and they???ll pounce all over you and try to ???educate??? you on how little you know about ???real??? hip hop. Wait until they start to salivate and raise their eyebrows in anticipation. Then calmly and confidently say the name that automatically breaks a backpackers will: Kanye West.The Louie Vitton Don is an anomaly to most backpackers. Someone who transcends the boundaries of what is mainstream and what is conscious simply cannot exist. It defies hip hop physics. How can someone from a major label like the ROC get his inspiration from A Tribe Called Quest? Be street and culturally conscious? I mean, did you see the ???Diamonds from Sierra Leone??? video? Straight killed it son! Kanye has the rare ability to make a political statement without sounding preachy. The teachers and the kids love Kanye.Then go on the offensive. Remind ???em that the self proclaimed ???first ni**a with a Benz AND a backpack??? makes beats for both Jay-Z and Common. Dare them to say that Big L, B.I.G and Nas should not be respected for their lyrical prowess, regardless of their lyrical content. Have them admit to watching BET uncut at 3 in the morning like everyone else.Once their guard is down, break bread. Remind them that hip hop was never meant to be stagnant or one-dimensional. He???ll admit that he loves grinding at the club as much as the next man. She???ll admit that her favorite jams are ???Hollaback Girl??? and ???My Hump.??? After a few laughs, have them listen to ???5 years from now??? off the recently certified platinum Who is Mike Jones?, and ask them if that was not the most poignant and relevant shit that they have heard in the past 6 months. Even Common himself didn???t directly address issues like Iraq, voting, and taxes on the critically acclaimed-but-yet-to-go-gold Be. Admit that album sales aren???t the issue, and that Mike Jones??? rise to the top should be celebrated along with Common???s return to form. Because at the end of the day its all one family, one love, one struggle.Then go home and write Kanye a thank you letter, for restoring faith in another lost hip hop soul.