Love can be the same and differ across the board at the same time but it also depends on the target. Your love for family will differ from the love of your partner, pets and assets. You love them all; no degree less, but the love is differently tailored for each.
“I’ll search the whole world for that special girl/When I finally find you watch our love unfurl/I need love” – LL Cool J on “I Need Love”. I only heard this 1987 hit after a decade after its release and it still resonates with me to this day. The message is clear and its impact on my life is evident.
This is the one feeling that replicates itself amongst hip-hop heads; connecting with the music. Regardless of the message within, hip-hop heads will tell you how they relate to the music, the lifestyle, the metaphors and hooks of their favourite songs – the love they have for this culture. Love can be the same and differ across the board at the same time but also depends on the target. Your love for family will differ from the love of your partner, pets and assets. You love them all, no degree less, but the love is differently tailored for each.
I’m constantly listening to hip hop music from Raekwon to Juicy J. Everything that is classified as hip hop passes by my ears and I then choose on which sound gets my a nod from my heart. I love everything hip hop, from the rhymes to the beats. I fell in love. Personally, I think I love hip-hop as equally as I love my lady. The first time I met her, I had my earphones on and probably marveling at the story-telling, the bragging and rhyme schemes of a certain rapper. I paused the music to converse with my then to be girlfriend. I paused hip-hop for her – that’s love!
At the thought, Amu’s “Since I Met You” rings loudly in my head. The hook,especially, “My life has not been the same since I met you”, and with that I have hip-hop on one side and my lady on the other as the entities that come to my mind when I hear those words. I feel like The Lost Boys when they said, “I’m in the mix I can’t help it, I’m in love with two women and I don’t wanna let none of them go”. Hip hop has taken me through the roughest times of my life when all I had was rhymes and beats. I used to look at Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy” video and say, “One day, I wish for that life.”
But the sad thing is… my lady dislikes hip-hop.
The excessive cursing, the bragging and the objectification of women in abundance – she hates that. To a certain extent I can agree, there are rappers who do and there are rappers who don’t. I put it on my head that not ALL hip-hop is bad. I have encountered situations in my life when all I had was my favourite rapper’s words to console me, motivate and echo my celebrations. The sounds of my dear hip-hop stood by me when I celebrated, I was humming Busta Rhymes “Its a Party” when I got my final Matric results, and when I got accepted at university, Nas and Lauryn Hill’s “The World is Yours”. Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances I had to drop out and then, coincidentally, Kanye West dropped “Graduation”.
All my life I had hip-hop as my solace of joy as I reflected on sadness and whatever troubled my mind. It has been my mentor, my teacher and loyal friend. Having a girlfriend who is all of that and more is a blessing, however – sadly – she doesn’t relate to what brought me to the point of being with her. I do not fault her for that, she don’t share the same connection I’ve had with hip-hop. I adore the sounds of my favourite music genre for all that it is and at the same time dislike some of the aspects it portrays.
I defend hip-hop with all of me and sometimes, I say we can go our separate ways. And each time it goes back I feel it in my heart what a kindred connection we have and I fight for my love of hip-hop. That is the type of relationship I have with the beats. Ironically, that’s the same relationship I have with my lady. When we good it’s all lovey dovey, when things are sour, because of our commitment to each other, we fight for our love.
I hold no judgement on my lady’s mindset about hip-hop, in fact that’s one of the things I love that about her. I’m just looking to join the two entities I love and hopefully have us walking down the aisle to the sounds of Proverb’s “Marry Me”, get down at the reception to Kanye’s “White Dress”, maybe even have Meek Mill”s “House Party” blaring through the speakers to celebrate our union.
I want to have candlelit dinners to the sounds of Slum Village “Closer”, maybe even play Nas’ “Daughters” when our first child is born. Finally, have her recite Common’s “I Used To Love H.E.R” with me. A man can only dream.
I find myself reciting Erykah Badu’s hook “Hip hop you are the love of my life” with thoughts of hip hop and my lady. That’s that real love.
Do you have to choose ,between the one you love and the music you love?
Written By: Siphiwe Zwane (@SDotJR_)