KRS-One's recent speech (documented on this blog) at KU had quite the impact on the local scene, or so it seems, judging by the activities organized by the 'heads over at HipHopKC.com. Citing something called "The Ninth Overstanding," forum "avatar" NRG (who is actually Necia Gamby, the mother of rapper Joe Good) at HHKC posts a list of activities that aim to strengthen, unite, congeal, cajole, confuse, etc., the local hip-hop scene. There'll be panel discussions with local MCs, b-boys and DJs (this is hip-hop, mind you, not gangsta/street/mob/'hood/stop snitchin' music), club nights and a kickball tournament. Because nothing says We Are Hip-Hop like kickball. Just watch this video if you don't believe me.
And if you really wanna get serious, then get yo' ass to church.
On the side of the HipHopKC forum main page there's a poll that asks "Wanna discuss hip-hop philosophically?" From 75 votes, here are the results:
Wanna discuss Hiphop Philosophically?
Yes, I thought you'd never ask -- 37.33 % (28)
hey, that might be fun -- 17.33 % (13)
I will if there's a topic I'm feelin -- 26.67 % (20)
I can, I'm just not often inclined too -- 2.67 % (2)
What's the point, lets just be hiphop -- 12.00 % (9)
hey I just come here to voyeurize the place -- 0.00 % (0)
No, don't wanna go there -- 4.00 % (3)
(I guess I forgot to vote, otherwise there'd be a 1 for question 6.)
In this segment of local hip-hop, the musicians and fans take the concepts informing the music nearly as seriously as the making and promoting of it. In other words, they might spend as much time debating the philosophies of hip-hop as trying to sell it. While a less-talk-more-rock approach might benefit local artists more in the short term, it could prove interesting to watch the 20-something MCs who are dedicated to Kansas City ( Good, Approach) grow into older, wiser 'heads who have developed a uniquely KC vision of hip-hop.
That said, I'm a bit dubious as to the value of setting aside every third week in May to celebrate hip-hop with "community events" just because KRS-One thinks it's a good idea. I mean, this whole Temple of Hip-Hop thing... It sounds kind of, well, dorky. And "dorky" is not a word that the local scene should risk being associated with. In any form of popular music, taking yourself too seriously and being too earnest often leads to art that's boring and/or worthy of ridicule. Then again, the opposite approach leads to bubblegum. Strike a balance, not a pose. The best way to do is to be. A bird in the hand is what you get when you can't get no bush. ... Yeah.
I think it would have been cool — and netted more publicity — if the Hiphoppas had brought in one or two out-of-town shows, all-ages, featuring reasonably well-known national artists. Easier said than done, I know, but maybe next year they can set the goal of booking an all-ages Granada show with DJs, B-boy battles and headliners like P.O.S. or Psalm One. That would leave less time for philosophizin' but more time for fun. And it would get peoples' attention.