Published On: Mon, Dec 7th, 2015

22 great hip-hop tracks you can play around your kids

1I’ve always loved hip-hop. I can’t quite remember the first artist that got me switched on to it. I’d love to say it was Tribe Called Quest or Boogie Down Productions when I was 15.  But it wasn’t.

I remember hearing DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s Girls Of The World and Parents Just Don’t Understand on the radio and thinking… this is great! I distinctly remember knowing all the words to Funky Cold Medina, asking my mom to make me Hammer pants and being able to rap along with the KLF, Vanilla Ice and to almost every song on Snap!’s World Power album.

When I was 17, I was hooked on In Living Color. I knew the names of all the Wayans Brothers, I saw Jim Carey rip off Vanilla Ice and drooled over Jenny when she was still just a Fly Girl from the Block. I thought I was the only kid rocking Chuck Taylors and LAs Cross Colours (Post Hip-Hop Nation Academic Hard Wear) in the burbs.

In 1993 things got a little more conscious. Arrested Development was at the Grammys, and sampled horns emanated through Guru’s Jazzmataz and the Digable Planets. It was a done deal. I was sold to the 4 elements of hip-hop: rap, turntabalism, breakdancing and graffiti. By this time, hip-hop was well and truly a part of who I was and what I believed the world was in serious need of… consciousness.

Fast forward to 2015. I’ve just turned 40 and I have two beautiful daughters, aged 2 and 5. How do I share my love of this incredible cultural movement with them? In an age where kids are bombarded with images of sex and violence through pop culture at a ridiculously young age, and in a country where violence against women is endemic and where the rap game takes centre stage to all these things, with a good helping of materialism thrown in for size?

Hip-hop isn’t all about gangstas and b*tches. Well, at least not the hip-hop I grew up to. I’m sure there will come a time for them to discover NWA, Biggie, Tupac, Dre, Slim and Lamar, and marvel at their lyrical prowess and ability to turn a phrase… but not yet.


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