The Hip Hop Culture
Hip hop is one of the fastest growing cultures amongst a vast number of youth in the world including Zambia. Hip Hop is of African American descent, dating back to the 1970’s in New York, and accepted as an international culture of peace and prosperity when a document called ‘The Hip Hop declaration of peace’ was presented to the United Nations on May 16th 2001. Many Hip Hop followers will tell you that Hip Hop is more than just a subculture comprising of Breaking or B-boy dancing, Graffiti art, Scratching or Turntablism, Beat boxing, DJing, MCing and Fashion; but a means of overcoming poverty and violence inflicted upon minority oppressed communities giving a voice to the voiceless.
Churches and other religious sectors would find it blasphemous, and Colleges and Universities would find it an interesting topic to know that one of the founding fathers of Hip Hop and men in the forefront of pushing the boundaries of Hip Hop as an established, Lawrence Krishna Parker aka K.R.S One an acronym for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, wrote the first 600 page Hip Hop bible that places emphasis on the divinity of the culture, which he says will in 100 years’ time take over the major religions in the world such as Judaism, Islam and even Christianity. K.R.S One who often calls himself ‘Teacha’ has also founded the Temple of Hip Hop which is collectively a Ministry, Archive, School and Society (M.A.S.S), where he ministers and educates students and followers with a goal to preserve the Hip Hop Culture and also use it to promote a more conscious approach to Hip Hop and to maintain that Hip Hop is a genuine political movement too.
The transition of Hip Hop to a religion is said to have stemmed from the days of slavery when African Americans were denied their right of religious practice as slaves and forced by their masters into Christianity. Upon freedom and gaining their right to religion many sought out the ‘truth’ and this led to the mushrooming of various religions such as the Nations of the gods and the earths, black theology and many more; mostly additions or subtractions of ideologies from major religions mainly Islam and Christianity.
In Zambia, the Hip Hop culture has also had a large impact. The Hip Hop Association was established in 2007 as a registered arts and culture organization, and as a member of the Zambia Association of Musicians. It was formed to empower the youth through the various mediums of hip hop. You can see a lot of Hip Hop cultural influences in the youth in Zambia by the way the events that normally take place having substantial elements of hip hop and the popularity of various Hip Hop artists. Notable artists include The Holstar, Slap Dee, Macky 2, and groups such as Rich Boii Attitude, 2wo-1ne and Zone Fam. The youth’s dress code has previously been inspired by the hip hop genre, although currently, the hip hop artists around the world have been going for a more rock/indie style. Whatever is seen as the latest fashion trend in hip hop music videos is likely to be stocked up very quickly in numerous retail outlets. A perfect example would be when Lil Wayne, one of the most notable hip hip/rap artists today, developed a skateboarding interest, something previously donned by Pharrell Williams hence his nick name ‘Skate Board P’; shops in Zambia would stock up with skateboards which would sell out in a short period of time as a result of the fad.
The Zambian Hip Hop culture seems to be growing at a steady pace and the hopes for the future is that it gains the same level of momentum as that of the hip hop artists, on the international scene. With all said and done the question still stands to weather hip hop should be a religion or should it remain a cultural movement.