Hip-hop is a form of music that people either love or hate. As soon as they hear “we don’t love them hoes,” they immediately dismiss hip-hop as unaesthetic, and they disdain the whole culture. Rap is only the voice of hip-hop. There are other elements to hip-hop such as DJing as the sound, b-boying as the motion, and graffiti as the visual. My appreciation for hip-hop is deeper than the music itself. Unlike many Vietnamese Americans, I struggled to learn English through books and classes; therefore, I used hip-hop to study English, which explains the tone, grammar, sentence structure, and style in my writing.
As much as I love rap music, it is damn near impossible to convince my cousins, who are doctor, dentist, pharmacist, college professor, and computer engineers, that hip-hop is a work of art. Back in the day, it was not so hard to breakdown how Rakim‘s lyricism is art even when he uses the analogy of an addict to describe his obsession with hip-hop: “I’m just an addict, addicted to music / Maybe it’s a habit, I gotta use it / Even if it’s jazz or the quiet storm / I hook a beat up, convert it into hip-hop form / Write a rhyme in graffiti, and every show you see me in / Deep concentration, cause I’m no comedian.”
With today’s hip-hop, breaking down the music as an art form is much harder. As much as I dig Cam’ron‘s vibrato flow as well as his silly but witty figure of speech, his lyric is unfeasible to support. How could we even explain something like this: “First pile up in the rear, I style up in my gear / Stallion of the year, medallions in my ear / Whips on my fists, houses on my wrists / Your budget on my neck, your spouse on my dick / Posters on the wall, posted on my balls / Dick in her mouth, I tell her (I’m getting money nigga)?” Well, as you can see, all he’s saying is the money you spent buying his record is on his bling while your wife is on his thing.
Not that I need to persuade anyone to listen to hip-hop, but I still believe that rap is a powerful music that allows artists to express themselves. As far as I am concern, rap music will never be fully blossomed in Viet Nam. Besides the lack of knowledge from the imitated Vietnamese MCs, Viet Nam has no such right as freedom of speech.