the dead emcee scrolls-saul williams

“When a people are cut off from their language, their culture, their religion and traditions they are forced to adopt, adapt and forge new ground over old wounds. Much has been said about the dangers of stripping people from their roots. What we seldom hear is the story of those born naturally into societies that are steeped in age-old traditions that have felt unable to find or pursue their individual paths because the ideologies of their culture have not evolved at the same rate as them. In this sense, traditions can subjugate and restrict the rate of the growth of a people. In some cases, when a people are freed from their past they are given an opportunity to start anew. Hip-hop, like its African American creators, is born of this newfound independence. It is our generation’s opportunity to start from scratch. Hip-hop is a revisionists’ draft of history. It is a state of mind that refutes all states but its own……It is the voice of the newly emancipated as they begin the process of being able to clearly state and declare their independence.” (106-7)


2 thoughts on “the dead emcee scrolls-saul williams

  1. “We are defined by our ability to resonate and shape sounds. Word. Therefore what we say is of the utmost importance. What we say matters (becomes matter). That is why the spiritual communities have always had people recite prayers and mantras aloud, because they know that they will affect global consciousness and reality itself. We seem to have once, subconsciously, known that in hip-hop as well. Our earliest slang, “word,” “word up,” “word life,” “word is bond,” all seemed to revel in this knowledge. As Guru said, “These are the words that I manifest.” We nodded our heads in affirmation and then when Biggie named his first album Ready to Die we all acted surprised when it happened. Word is bond, son. Plain and simple.” (171)

  2. “Man, this love of hip-hop is like investing in a marital relationship, way past its prime, simply for the sake of the children, not realizing that we are actually fucking up their entire conception of relationships. They will be forced to work it out for the rest of their lives, falling in and out of love.
    I’ve outgrown you.
    I enjoy my memories of you much more than I enjoy our present moments. You allowed yourself to be defined by something less than yourself. But then, I never really stopped loving you. In fact, I love you more and began to love you through your manifestations in others: a breakbeat in a Led Zeppelin song; braggadocio in a Guns n’ Roses song; a breakbeat sped up to twice its speed in a drum and bass song. In my estimation, Portishead is hip-hop. Tricky is hip-hop. Bjork is hip-hop. And they are hip-hop in ways that you have failed to be. Perhaps, they are hip-hop’s illegitimate children.
    If hip-hop is a parent, it is negligent, not nurturing, and hardly responsible. But I can blame no one but myself. I expected too much of you without making my own contribution. I quit rhyming at the age of seventeen. Maybe my quitting hip-hop led to hip-hop quitting on me.
    Regardless, y’all have succeeded in making my earliest inspiration hardly an art form, hardly the voice of the youth anymore. You guys are boring, predictable. And maybe that’s why I’m working with Rick Rubin now. This is part of his karma.” (144-5)

    from the “scrolls”:

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