There is no old school, no new school. Just true school-The Precious Jewels
Like we have always believed as The Precious Jewels, being engaged in any one of the four elements of hip hop (graffiti, DJing, emceeing and breaking) is a calling. It is the realization of something bigger than yourself. It is something akin to the religious calling that many great religious icons have experienced. Let me give just three examples involved in being a true school hip hopper (or Hiphoppa)
Like many prophets, true school hip hoppers find that they are positioned in a world that is tough and competitive. They see the injustice that is suffered by many people in their society, in a variety of forms. This may be a sudden realization, as in the classical epiphany, or it may be a gradual realization based on observations that have been lying dormant in the mind of the individual, something that he or she has been observing for a long time. Because of this they are driven to do something about it. There is usually a pressing need on the true schooler to speak out, to voice their views. They believe that they can say something to expose what is going on. This will usually happen by cross reference between the personal and the social, in that the true schooler uses personal experiences to make social commentary, and social experiences to make personal commentary. It is usually a process of deep reflection, intense introspection and self critique. The true schooler is therefore called into being, born of this need to say something about the nature of things in the world.
Once the true schooler has reconciled himself or herself with this calling, they must now give themselves a name that will represent what they are about. All the greats have done this. Malcom X changed his name from Malcom Little, Mohamed Ali from Cassius Clay. The nature of the true schooler’s content is reflected in their name. KRS-One has a real name, but he also has a name that represents his content as a true schooler. His name reveals the value and belief that he has that knowledge helps society (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone). Once the conversion has taken place and the name has been assumed, there is no going back. The name may change over the course of the true schooler’s journey in the true school, indicating different stages of growth/experience/thought in their life. But the name will always be the symbol of what the true schooler represents, who they perceive themselves to be, their general outlook on life. It positions them, gives them a role, and they give themselves a role in society by assuming that name. They must live up to that name.
Just like Jesus went out and performed miracles, true school hip hoppers must do performative works of art that say something, that have a positive message. They must try and heal the nation. They must educate, they must make people have fun, but responsibly so. Their art must convert the bleak into the beautiful, it must uplift but never deface. They must try to eliminate all the social ills that destroy our communities. So as true school hip hoppers we always have positive self and social transformation on our minds. This has been done in a variety of ways by true school hip hoppers in the past. The Temple of Hip Hop have held seminars in which they talk to people about the social value of hip hop, emphasising as part of these talks Black Pride and Black Power. In South Africa Black Noize have formed Heal The Hood, an organization that aims to take youth in the Cape Flats away from gangs and drugs. These names are self explanatory of the works that these true schoolers do. The temple is a place of spiritual respite and peace. They denote peace and healing (Heal the Hood), things that we need desperately in our communities.
So what are we saying? Hip hop is a Godly element. Elisha’s name was changed to Elijah, Abram to Abraham. KRS-One has a real name, but he also has a name that represents his content as a true schooler. This is a name that represents his spiritual self, the self that reaches out to help and inform others. Being a hip hopper and assuming a hip hop name is a step towards healing, towards helping others come to some important realization about their lives. True school Hip hop has a very transformative power.
I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on hip hop’s most problematic element: rap. People should not be rappers just because they believe they can rap. They must have rapped out of a true need to contribute to society, to inform, give insight and shed light. Their self transformation, their conversion is not born out of selfishness because that helps nobody. They must go out and do positive works, say things that eliminate or address all the social ills that poison our communities. Then they are true school hip hoppers. True beams of light and agents of change.
Peace and One Love