Feb 04

bayete ross smith

Recently I ran into world class photographer and artist extraordinaire Bayete Ross Smith and we began to talk about Hip Hop, the culture, the music, and whether or not the movement was dead. My argument was that the Hip Hop we cherished since childhood was on it’s deathbed and that we need tor accept that as fact.

Bayete disagreed on the death sentence of Hip Hop, reminding me that it was so much more than popular music and personal preferences. He explained it so eloquently I had to share it:

If Hip Hop is something you are, you’ll find it thriving. You just can’t expect to get it through mainstream media outlets very much. Connect with the M.C.s, DJs, Graffiti writers/visual artists, B-Boys/physical performers and other creative innovators locally.

I find Hip Hop wherever I go. But you have to seek it out. Counter Culture is not always easily accessible.

Also in terms of good music, well, in addition to Kendrick Lamar, Action Bronson, Elzhi, Joey BadAss, etc… There’s also Big K.R.I.T., Oddisee, and Honors English. The latter is actually produced by a friend of mine from Florida A&M Khari Cain a.k.a. Needlz.

Killer Mike’s RAP Music album is dope and so was The Pledge 3. I like Big Boi’s new album a lot, though it is more in an alternative Hip Hop direction than straight Hip Hop. MF Doom’s work is always good; he’s got about 8 albums starting with Operation Doomsday that you can pick up.

“like any art to get the good stuff you gotta dig”

Phonte’s last album was dope. Two other young boys from Chicago: Chance and Kembe X have mad potential, there’s also the rest of that “Black Hippy” crew. Not to mention all the Hip Hop En Espanol cats who are doing it and a bunch of kids from Africa. I can keep going but like any art to get the good stuff you gotta dig.

Technology makes it much easier to find good music, as long as DJs are cutting, scratching and mashing shit up, and folks who paint are bombing. We’re still here.

You can follow Bayete on Twitter at @bayetekenan and check out his professional work at http://bayeterosssmith.com

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