BEIRUT – it’s been a second since my first encounter with hip-hop, and after spending more than 25-years as part of the hip-hop massive, i measure that moment by a much different measurin’ stick now:
straight up – hip-hop is part of a greater umbrella of soul music that existed before the term hip-hop was ascribed.
so. when i remember my uncle Vachik (god rest his soul) playing a 45 rpm of the sugar hill gangs’ ‘rapper’s delight’ in the early 80’s (1981 i think), what i realize now is that my parents had actually introduced me to hip-hop much earlier in my life.
my dad was into blues and jazz. my mom (god rest her soul) was into arabic and brazilian rhythms. (and yes, i had a crazy dosage of classical music from both of them that has since become an integral part of how i see hip-hop evolving – hip-hoporchestrationand arrangement – thanks to los angeles’ carlos niño and miguel atwood-ferguson – and in my estimation – thanks to the huge references to david axelrod – whose lifeworks where given new life in large part to the efforts of my brothers in soul brian cross (aka b+) and niño.)
i think – when i go far back into the parents’ record collections, it was yusef lateef’s ‘love theme from spartacus‘ from the album ‘eastern sounds’ (prestige, 1961)
or it was ahmad jamal’s ‘the awakening’ off of the album with the same name (impulse, 1970)…
that gave me my first sample impressions of hip-hop.
of course, what i recollect here…is really me making up my own sense of history years after the fact. still, i want this first entry to be one that let’s readers know that i am totally indebted to my own parents’ good taste and sense of soul that made it possible for me use this lens to color everything on this blog- more to the point, the black-American traditions that spoke to their souls – – ‘beats and breath’ of my own life and visions.
peace to all those that have contributed to my well being.