Art of Bars I: ‘The Test of Time’

DesiHipHop Contributor: Zakir “Rebel” Khan

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The Difference Between Rappers Vs Emcees

Being born and raised in New York City during the continuing rise of Hip Hop culture in the 90s deeply affected my perspective in regards to the growing movement itself as well as the different directions I’ve seen it being taken. I was always taught about the significance of my words and the cause & effect of what I had to say ever since I started going to school in 1994. I attended Sister Clara Muhammad School in Corona Queens New York from Kindergarten to fifth grade. Clara Muhammad was the first wife of Elijah Muhammad and the mother of W.D. Muhammad. These names may not mean much to the average self-proclaimed Hip Hop head of today but once you have done your research, you will begin to understand what that family’s different schools of thought have contributed to the culture as well as to the colored community as a whole. The fifth element of Hip Hop is knowledge and as far back as I can remember, that is what I was taught is the most important. Knowledge is, what I feel, separates the rappers from the Emcees.

Too Many Rappers: Not Enough Poets

Fast forward to today and you will see the overabundance of rappers due to the easy avenues for one to record and produce their own music independently. Though there is much benefit from this, there are also some negative aspects that come with it. Back in the day there was only one thing an artist needed to make it; Skill. Today you notice that the majority of people who make it big, strike deals, get air play, are interviewed and pushed to the masses are the ones who fit a certain mold to cater to a certain type of audience. Not to mention these are the times where you can buy your fame and publicity because if you have the cash to pay websites, DJ’s, famous artists to help promote or make music with you, you have a better shot of going viral than someone who simply has skill and is struggling financially.

Need twitter followers? Click. Done. Or how about vanity Facebook fans to show off? Another Click. Money transferred. Facebook fans upgraded. However, the reality is that these one-click wonders are not even close to being one hit wonders. Once their mortgage payment comes due, they fade away as quickly as they arrived. Despite all of the forces working to push and promote one dimensional rappers, there has always been a core group of real Hip Hop heads who stood the test of time and will always outlast any fads they try to infuse with the culture.


Stay True To Yourself

As a New Yorker, I have to admit; I am emotionally invested in the representation of Hip Hop culture to the masses. It affects me when the culture is misrepresented by the pop artists who claim Hip Hop and are promoted to the public as such. I used to be sickened by the repetitive, one dimensional, auto-tuned, misogynistic, over sexualized, party pop music that rappers put out but over the years as I have matured and realize that to them; its just business. They are doing what they feel is best to make a quick buck or get a quick buzz as they ask themselves what is it that will help me reach more people faster? But there are some “entertainers” who only know the Hip Hop lifestyle as one of glamour, drunken partying, or macking women; in which case they are making music that is true to themselves. Nonetheless I can’t stress enough the difference between a rapper and an Emcee as well as the difference between what they do is what makes Hip Hop music what it really is.


“Hip Hop Reinvented Everything”

Hip Hop music introduced something new, yet familiar, to the universe. There is something about the music that resonates with everyone, no matter their age or background. Grandmaster Caz said “Hip Hop didn’t invent anything. Hip Hop reinvented everything.” Over the years you will notice that despite the different corporations’ intentions to direct the future of the movement, despite all the fads that came and went, the one thing that always remained is a core group of artists, producers, writers and fans who not only understand the true meaning of Hip Hop but represent it in everything they do; and some of them will mercilessly rip apart anyone who tries to fake the funk by misrepresenting the culture. Hip Hop is growing in every community worldwide, especially in the Desi community. I cannot express how grateful I and others like myself are to have the support the team at to help boost our voices and broaden our reach. As the movement grows, our worldwide Hip Hop family grows and unites together; the team as well as the fans worldwide recognize the true meaning and representation of Hip Hop.

From the heart of a Real Hip Hop enthusiast to the world.

Peace & Love, from New York.