From the misconception of pidgin/English bars to that of how you dress or even walk.
There is also the argument as to how you must make rap music to be called hip-hop and the infusion of the various other elements.
Today, I may not exactly know all that Hip hop is. But I definitely know certain things that Hip-hop is definitely not.
- HIPHOP is not a function of what you wear: While there is a seemingly acceptable dress code within the culture, from the days of baggy jeans and oversized tops to today’s slim pants on fitted gears and a snapback to go along with some shiny bling here and there, you could still be a Vector or a Jay Z pulling off the Suit and Tie and still be hip-hop.
- HIPHOP is not a function of your location: Evidently, you don’t have to be born in New York, Lagos or brought up in Jos to be hip-hop, you can be from Nassarawa, Benin or even Enugu and still be hiphop, see the likes of Phyno, Erigga.
- HIPHOP is not about the language: Let’s leave the Local VS International rappers debate for a bit, the likes of Classiq, Phyno and the late Da Grin have represented the culture very well. Don’t you just enjoy Phyno when he is all energetic belting the lyrics to ‘Alobam’, the same way Mode9 in precise English gave us brilliant story telling on ‘Cry’, it transcends the language as long as the elements and application of rhymes and poetry are in place.
- HIPHOP is not by association: That you roll with M.I or backed up for Eldee at some point or even write for a music blog doesn’t make you hip-hop, remember a time when Maintain switched the beat of that Indian song and automatically assumed it was hip-hop? And Vic-O is definitely not Hip-hop.
- HIPHOP is not by gender: There is no rule that states that only males can be rap heads or hip-hoppers, the likes of Eva and Blaise are testament to this.
- You don’t have to be a rapper to be HIP-HOP: The likes of Solo Dee, JAJ the mecca don, Obi Asika and even DJ Jimmy Jatt are probably more rooted in the understanding of the culture than a lot of those who do rap music out there. Rap is just one arm, the voice of the hip-hop culture.
Ehis Combs Ohunyon is a music lover and writer, follow on twitter @ehiscombs