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Will The Grammys And Hip Hop Ever Get Along?

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It happened again!! I can’t believe it!! This is outrageous!! I just watched the Grammy’s and it is clear that I should be upset at something. I don’t know what exactly but somehow, hip hop was robbed!! Why were Pumpkin Head and Sean Price’s images not shown as they viewed the montage in memorial to musicians we’ve lost in the past year? Why was Kendrick Lamar not awarded Album of the Year even though he took home five Grammy’s? Why do we still even say we don’t care but watch every year knowing it’s never going to meet hip hop’s expectations?

If all this is nothing new then why do we still get worked up?

Why was Ice Cube smoking that “Oooweee” 15 minutes after presenting K. Dot with rap album of the year, proclaiming he ain’t messing with that “bullshit” awards show? The answer is simple; Hip hop’s fans (and apparently artists) hate awards shows but, specifically, establishment based awards shows that have precedent for exclusionist behavior. These sentiments aren’t random or arbitrary, of course. Transgressions of Grammy awards past (Nas never winning a Grammy, Will Smith winning a Grammy but not being televised, Kendrick not winning over Macklemore, hip hop not being included as a category until last week, etc…) put hip hop at odds with the awards show before we ever got an RSVP,  so basically it’s really nothing new. But if all this is nothing new then why do we still get worked up? At some point, you’ve got to stop being upset at Monday simply for being Monday.

No one wants to admit it but there’s a little bit of Kanye in all of us.

No one wants to admit it but there’s a little bit of Kanye in all of us (Must. Rest. Childish. Finger humor). We all complain about these award shows not meaning a damn thing then embark on tirades when someone we don’t believe should even be considered gets the award. If you really didn’t give a crap who won then Alvin and the Chipmunks could take home hip hop album of the year and you wouldn’t bat an eyelash.

The truth of the matter is we do care and we will always care. If you are to be considered “the best” then you want to compete against the best and receive comparable accolades. The only solution will either be to not care or establish your own awards shows (so far the BET and Soul Train Awards don’t seem to be picking up steam). Until then, be prepared to be disappointed.

So although Run D.M.C, received a Lifetime Achievement Award and DJ Big Kap did make the memorial montage, and Kendrick received five Grammys and had the undisputed best performance of the night, there were still grumblings (“J. Cole should’ve won…Kendrick ain’t all that…Kendrick shoulda won Album of the Year…is that Pharrell or Sisqo?”) How the hip hop community went from raw, rough and ready to beauty pageant moms is beyond me, but maybe it’s time we just get back to the lab and focus on the music. On the bright side (?), Kanye just released an album so at least there won’t be any drama at the Grammy Awards’ next year….rrright.

DMC

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Recording artist Taylor Swift performs onstage during The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 15: Recording artist Taylor Swift performs onstage during The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)

Pharrell Williams attends The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

Pharrell Williams attends The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

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Crazed Afrykan is a writer / hip hop producer (Nas / Damien Marely) and aficionado of hip hop culture. For over 30 years, he has gained personal introspective into the motivations, rhymes and reasons for one of the most revered genres in modern music. He is also a smug, smart ass with a perplexing penchant for alliterations. You’ve been warned.

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Realigning Your Moral Compass / Don’t Be Humble

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Remember when “keeping it on the low” was a high-valued asset in the lunchrooms of yesterdays past? It was a glorious and magical time where your ability to not divulge information or “brag” would lend you the trust and respect of all… except maybe the person who wanted said info. Conversely, being known as conceited or loose lipped oft resulted in social suicide. Once you understood and practiced the basic tenets of social operation, you were free to roam about the country. Then along came this thing called life and what was once generally accepted social order now requires constant questioning. Oh to be young again!

These days, you may find yourself at a moral crossroads where keeping information “on the low” could result in literal career suicide and stagnation of financial growth. I’ve seen coworkers get promoted because they would inform the entire world of every menial task accomplished like closing the fridge door in the pantry. I’ve also seen coworkers not be given any credit and as far as to be laid off because no one was aware of their value or responsibilities.  Who knew life was gonna be so complicated (besides every single adult?) Of course, “keeping it on the low”  a.k.a humility is just one of many self-inflicted moral codes we use to navigate for a majority of our lives. There are many others (selfish, greedy, manipulative, etc…) Now what if you hadn’t assigned a negative or positive value to these sentiments from the outset? Would you still be so hesitant to engage in their practices?

For the sake of proving my point, What if these “negative” moral codes were simply tools that could not be judged but simply used? Is it manipulative to convince someone to put a gun down and not shoot up a room full of people? Was Winston Churchill being manipulative in his efforts to convince the U.S to join WWII? Is it greedy to understand how much financial assets are required to provide the lifestyle you deem worthy for you and your family then pursue accordingly? Is it selfish to know when to tune the world out to achieve a goal that will be to the worlds eventual betterment?

The world is grander than whatever lunchroom your adolescent moral GPS was manufactured in and navigated you through. Once you graduate to encounter those larger moral obstacles, you rapidly realize that what got your through it before may not get you past it now if you cannot realign your moral code. It seems once one masters a particular set of skills, they immediately become obsolete as life advances everyone to the next level. What’s more likely is a majority of our decision making tools (like morals) are choice and should be treated as such and continuously revisited.  Good Luck.

 

Sidebar; To the aspiring entrepreneurs keeping their amazing ideas “on the low” until they blow up, you are delaying your own successes. To those who find the pursuit of money / capitalism as greedy /evil, you are delaying your own gratitude. Sidebar complete.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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How to Tell If You’re Motivated by Negativity

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We hold in high regard the tactics that allow us to succeed while disregarding that those same tactics stop us from succeeding correctly.  When you and everything around you is results oriented, how those results are obtained isn’t scrutinized when they probably should be. Seeing as how we can’t drug test for positive or negative motivators and no one really cares how you succeed as long as you are successful, why should you even care?

Well aside from your eventual therapist and the people who used to love you but have since left due to your unknowingly toxic behavior, your eventual cardiologist and pharmacist who will have to treat you for stress related illnesses,  you should probably care also.  If you are paying attention and observing the trail of emotional destruction left when using certain motivators,  particularly fear and negativity,  you would care much much sooner.

With that said, here are some hopefully helpful tips so you can identify and begin to correct.

1.  When someone asks you what you want, you typically respond with what you don’t want. “What do you want for dinner?” “Well we had pizza yesterday so I don’t want that and I had Chinese for lunch so that’s out…” Process of elimination is time consuming and quite frankly, if you want pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you should have it. We’ll deal with health choices later. Right now, let’s focus on HOW you make choices in the first place.

2.  The first thought that enters your mind after you say you want something are the reasons why it can’t be obtained. “I want to workout but I have no time. I want to pursue my interests but I don’t have the money.” Everything you currently have, you made the time and money for. It is possible for future aspirations as well.

3.  The motivator is not the desired result, but the ails that might occur if that result is not obtained. “You better get an education or your friends will leave you behind.” “If I don’t catch the early train, my commute is gonna suck!” Or none of that may occur and you day could progress perfectly fine. Since you can’t recoup emotional capital already extended, better not to expend it at all.

4.  You feel you need more in order to begin any task. You just really need to accept that you are enough.

5.  You focus on any time frame other than the present. Speculating on future failures only brings you current stress. Speculating on past failures only brings you current stress. Now speculating on past or future successes may seem beneficial but the fact is, if you are speculating at all, you are probably not present and that is the main ingredient required for success anyway. So don’t speculate!!!

The root of all negativity is fear and when fear is your motivation, you will constantly need to be afraid in order to progress. When confidence is your motivation, all you ever need to progress is to remain present.

I wish you all success in everything you hope to accomplish.

 

Sidebar: Michal Jordan once stated that fear of failure motivated him to accomplish 6 NBA championships. My question to him would’ve been  “How much more rings would you have had if confidence was your motivator and not fear?”  Sidebar Complete.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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Hip Hop Now

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Here’s five acts doing their thing in the first installment of Hip Hop Now.

Chicago rapper Saba‘s new record Care For Me features Chance The Rapper on “Logout.”

From Everything is Fine, a collaboration between rapper/satirists Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, here’s “Zero.”

Tyler, the Creator stays weird and rhymes chicken nugget with fuckit on rap nugget “Okra.”

Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions lost his cousin to police violence and channels that energy into the controversial “Like Me.”

Rapper/actor A$AP Rocky samples Moby‘s “Porcelain” on “A$AP Forver.”

Brooklyn's own MC Krispy E has an opinion about most things you can put in your ear, eye, and mouth holes.

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