Nostalgic chants of “Eenie Meeni Mieni Mo… My mother said to pick this one and you are not it” instantly take many back to the days of their youth. When the only thing you had to say to be included in any activity was “Can I Play?” For some, these memories are as vivid as they were yesterday. Even while reading the first line of this Blog, began to say their own rendition of the same. Generation X, 80s babies, Reagan era kids. Whatever you may call them, they will be known as the generation that played and grew up in the streets simultaneously with Hip-Hop.
Generation X grew up in a time where Hip-Hop itself was still “young” and in the early stages of asserting itself as a legitimate art form and culture. The 80s will always be known as the era where Hip-Hop began to diversify as the styles developed and became more complex unknowingly to the X Generation. We were always just a little to young to stay up late nights and go to the block parties. A little too young, to understand the political message by Public Enemy. A little too young to get in the first Hip-Hop clubs. We were, on the other hand, old enough to listen to our older brothers or sisters talk about the parties, rap lyrics and the clubs. We were a generation waiting to get older so we too can enjoy this new phenomenon called Hip-Hop.
With Hip-Hop anonymously growing around us, we would spend hours in the street or fields playing games. Hot peas and Butter, Monkey in the Middle, Scatter, Kick ball, Hide and seek, Dodge ball and the list goes on.
Other generations will say that they too played games, but none can say they were able to hear RUN-D.M.C blasting from a boom box, or Slick Rick playing on HOT 97 in the corner store. Whether we drank from the water hose or chugged the sweetest red Kool-Aid until we stopped just long enough to gasp for air, the latest Hip-Hop album could be heard.
As we got older and grew into society, so did Hip-Hop. We went from playing in the streets, to lip syncing every major artist’s latest song (when I’m alone in my room, sometimes I stare at the wall…), learning the newest dance steps, and trying to imitate the fashion. We were able to stay up a little bit longer and see the street battles, go to the block parties and stand outside the club to see the action.
Skip a few years and we are now old enough to play the lyrics for our children. Old enough to throw block parties. Old enough to own the clubs. We are old enough to remember when this all started.
We grew up with Hip-Hop. We grew up IN Hip-Hop. We supported Hip-Hop from day one as in turn, Hip-Hop supported a new culture that our generation helped to create, maintain and spread around the world. We’ve seen trends come, go and now come back. We are not considered the pioneers of Hip-Hop, but we are the ones who took the spark of the originators of the 70s, and ignited the idea bright enough for the world to see. Am I prejudiced towards this? Yes! Am I speaking off of emotions? Maybe.. do I care? NO! I am a member of Generation X and this is Hip-Hop.