Whenever I look back at my life, I look at it with a smile. I'll be honest, compared to the people I idolise today I have had it easy. I know I have. Along with being pretty low maintenance as a person (I don't need much.) I have a great family that have helped me every step of the way.
As I type this I am a couple of weeks away from beginning Year 2 of University. I hate the weeks before anything, it's close but not close at all. I just want to get started you know. A few years before University, I was 16 years old and had to retake maths & English. A year after that, I started to finally push towards University a year behind my friends. It was at that point I started to take Hip-Hop seriously.
To get through all the work I listened to Hip-Hop regularly, listening to their stories and saying to myself "If they can do it, so can I". Obviously it worked since I'm weeks away from my 2nd year in University. But all this is only scratching the surface as to my relationship with Hip-Hop. My first true experience of Hip-Hop (or anything close to it) was in 2003.
Back when I was in primary school, aged around seven or eight, I began taking a CD player to school. I had one Album in my sole possession, Dizzee Rascal's "Boy in Da Corner". Now obviously I wasn't listening to it for the lightning lyric delivery or any of the other reasons as to why I label this album as "The British Illmatic". But it was my first Hip-Hop (I know it's Grime, just roll with me) record and to this day. I can still jam to it. If you have gone to an English Primary school, you would know about the infamous "School Disco", where everybody dresses fresh (for kids under 10 years old) and dances to the cheesiest songs of that time. Now for most people in my age group we look back and love the fact that SClub7 was in our lives. I am not most people.
I HATED that cheesy stuff then and I still hate it now. I couldn't stand that stuff. It is why I relished the chance of going to my fathers health club because as he played his weekly game of Squash or whatever training he did back then, I chilled at the bar listening to the real stuff. No SClub7 in there. I got the classic Nelly "Dilemma", Jay-Z "03 Bonnie & Clyde" to name a few. I was all about the Hip-Hop/R&B of the early/mid 2000's.
Moving a few years to the start of this current decade, I got admittedly snobbish with my music. At the start of this decade popular music was getting less and less Hip-Hop friendly. Bieber and Glee was the flavour and I hated it. The only solace I could find in the charts was Tinie Tempah and he's still one of my favourites to this day. As the decade continued I realised that if I wanted the Hip-Hop fix I constantly craved I would have to go and find it, We now come to the stage when I was pushing for University.
Before those two years I looked back to when I regularly played NBA2K and on one iteration of the game (2K12) there was a song called "Awesome", It was by an artist I never heard of. He goes by the name of XV. Because he was only known in the mixtape world I was the only person I knew that knew of his existence.
Now in this digital world where it's hard to have one thing to yourself, I was fortunate to have XV to myself. Now if you ask my peers that took Media Studies with me they would tell you I constantly played this artist because his music was unique to me. He wasn't mainstream Hip-Hop. He was different and I loved it. He fed me that Hip-Hop I craved for years.
After XV I began to explore history more. After XV I became a Hip-Hop student. From then up to now I have been actively studying Hip-Hop and I feel that it has helped me as I grow into a fully fledged adult.
For me, Hip-Hop has always been there for me, it just took me until recently to truly embrace it and to notice how much it has been part of my fabric. My older sister likes Hip-Hop. Well, she's a music omnivore. My father saw Jay-Z early in his career and still jams to classic Wiley so Hip-Hop was bound to be in my life in some form or capacity, it just so happens that I have embraced it in the way I have now...