The realization that I liked hip hop happened for me when I was in my senior year of high school, at the very beginning of the year. I didn’t like hip hop before that time because I had grown up in 90’s California in the Sacramento area and all of the stuff that I heard on the radio was west coast mainstream stuff. I heard Tupac, NWA, Snoop Dogg, and all that stuff that was blowing up over on the left side of the country, and I honestly just didn’t like it. In senior year I discovered, quite by accident, the nerdcore hip hop scene, and oh goodness, that really quickly spiraled into a love of hip hop.
At first I was laughing about how a bunch of nerds were rapping, and then I decided to take a shot at it myself, and I discovered that I was really enjoying the community (Rhyme Torrents circa 2006). I was one of them, and I identified with them. I realized that these people weren’t making fun of hip hop as much as they were expressing themselves with it. Up until then I had though in such a mainstream way about hip hop music and it never crossed my mind that there was much else to it than the drugs, money, booze, etc. This was it. This was my introduction.
I was listening to a bunch of hip hop then that I don’t listen to now, a bunch of stuff coming out of the nerdcore community that’s kind of dated already, with low production value and terrible breath control. Everybody was just trying new things out, getting a feel for it. Through all this I discovered, thanks to Doogie Howitzer, Canadian hip hop. My mind was transformed.
I was downloading everything I could get my ears on from Canada, and I discovered during that year that the East coast was putting out all good hip hop in the nineties. I heard B.I.G.’s Ready to Die, Nas’ Illmatic, Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers, and started listening for that raw, powerful hip hop sound that really just makes you feel what they’re feeling. You can get sucked into it and understand why they're saying what they're saying.
Hip hop is an art. It took me 16 years to realize it, but there’s no doubt about it. Now I can’t help but get my greasy paws on anything that’s got a beat. Now I dig through CDs at my local music store looking for anything and everything I haven’t heard before, and I browse the internet daily hoping to open up my hip hop consciousness.
Now I’ve been awakened to a world of music I never thought existed. What else is out there that I haven’t even heard yet? I hope I stumble across something right now. I may have come into it late in the game but I'm never going to leave.