westcoasthiphop

PART 4 - Rap, Race & Riots (How the Rodney King Verdict Changed Hip Hop)

PART 4 - Rap, Race & Riots (How the Rodney King Verdict Changed Hip Hop)

 

If there’s anyone that ever wants to understand the state of mind of those during a revolt such as the one witnessed in LA some 23 years ago, ’The Predator’ may be the best depiction. The anger is evident, as is the cry for help. Neglect of entire city neighborhoods creates the attitude in which Cube posses throughout the album. 

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The GREATEST Rapper Of All Time Has Not Reached His Prime.

The GREATEST Rapper Of All Time Has Not Reached His Prime.

 

Throughout my years as a hip hop junkie the NEVER ending debate of who was/is the BEST MC has been the topic of discussion. Wheather it was me and Lil Rob (RIP) arguing who’s better between Mobb Deep or 2Pac, the Grandmaster Caz vs. Melle Mel debates of the early 80s, the Rakim or Kane of the late 80s, or who can forget LL and Kool Moe Dee. Some of these fan rivalries resulted in verbal sparring, but more times than not the battle has been soley faught by the followers of a rapper and not the actual artist themselves. 

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From Spoken Word to Hip-Hop: The Watts Prophets & Kendrick Lamar

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Seemingly born out of the 1965 Watts riots, The Watts Prophets used the art form of spoken word to be the voice that detailed the harsh realities of a time before them, their present, and the perils of a future if the "dead" did not "wake up"! But they also spoke of love and romance, and everyday life in their surroundings. Today's Kendrick Lamar of Compton introduced a fresh voice, detailing his life growing up in the inner city of his west coast hometown. Hip-Hop used to be primarily a voice, a way to tell the truth about the world we live in. This why Mr. Lamar has & continues to maintain the respect and admiration of Hip-Hop's pioneers. Enjoy below the some of the West Coast's finest spoken word and hip hop:

The Watts Prophets - I Remember Watts

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiH7FlS_p3g

Kendrick Lamar - M.A.A.D. City (Featuring MC Eiht)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10yrPDf92hY

'I Remember Watts' vs. 'M.A.A.D. City'

When you hear The Watts Poets say "To light up Los Angeles, it only took one [watt]. I remember Watts...a place where winos and have-nots took their treasured possessions to pawn shops.." are you able to draw any parallels when Kendrick Lamar growls "..Seem like the whole city go against me, every time I'm in the streets I hear YAWK! YAWK! YAWK! YAWK!" ?

Quincy Jones & The Watts Prophets - Beautiful Black Girl

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVINVxJCztk

No Make Up - Kendrick Lamar

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQtWY-ZxFTw

'Beautiful Black Girl' vs. 'No Make Up'

"Hey Beautiful African Girl, I got something I wanna say to you...Girl, I love you. I love you Beautiful Black Girl & I need you so bad" Whew! Color me inspired. This romantic spoken word piece by The Watts Poets was set to music, and blessed by the legendary Quincy Jones. KDot futhers the sentiment when he shares "The roses on your face light up the sky. Those lips are colorful all the time. Do you mind...no make up today? Her prettiness, the wittiness of colors on her skin tone...

As you can see, The Watts Prophets' influence continues on today! Had you heard of them prior to reading this post? Share your thoughts below in the comments.

Hip Hop Smithsonian, EzineArticles Basic Author
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