Hip-hope sage Q-Tip, one of the founding members of A Tribe Called Quest, took to Twitter to have a discussion with Iggy Azalea about her ongoing beef with Azealia Banks. However, unlike the tweets from hackers @TheAnonMessage, who threatened to release a sex tape of Iggy Azalea unless she apologized, Q-Tip took a more thoughtful approach. In a long series of tweets, he explained the history of hip-hop as a sociopolitical movement and argues that an artist’s engagement with it must acknowledge those roots. It’s a primer that goes beyond conversations of appropriation to get at how artists — regardless of race — can engage with the medium.
These are some of the choice tweets:
The entire message is well worth reading, so here it is written out in one paragraph. It is transcribed as is:
HipHop is a artistic and socio-political movement/culture that sprang from the disparate ghettos of NY in the early 70’s / Coming off the heels of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT and approaching the end of the Vietnam war it was a crossroads 4 America / specially for blacks in the US our neighborhoods were PROLIFERATED w/a rush of HEROINE / our school systems here in NY dungeon traps with light for learning / blk men some of whom didn’t return from tours of duty n the ones who did came w/war baggage (agent orange, addiction, ect..) / these men had families but due to these events and throw into the mix the public emasculation… / they proved to be handicapped parents. The surrogate parents? The STREETS / the streets of gangs, crimes, and the hustlers coddled us and swept us up / but! Being a spirited, rhythmic & expressive people music art dance outlined our existence / it proved a way for us to exhault to scream to dance to laugh and find OUR VOICE / we weren’t at the same time skilled musicians as kids. We had records, turntables, ideas and INGENUITY / being natural chemist we took from whatever was availed to us and we created something mighty and special / we cut breakbeats back n forth we took a hybrid of Jamaican toasting along w/ radio jock rap( hank Spann, Gary Byrd, ect.) and / we put our rap down.. / it was a neighborhood thing really. Black and Latino kids were carving out their space and it became infectious / eventually Keith Cowboy coined the phrase hiphop. Yrs later the first rap record was recorded and now we r moving / but during these strides this country still had the monster of racism and racial insensitivity breathing and ruling / believe it or not young black n Latino lives specifically weren’t acknowledged in mainstream American culture unless Ofcourse.. / the convo was abt gangs , being criminals or uneducated. And hey! Like I stated early our families were rushed our schools / sucked and we were left to put devices to survive / but HIPHOP showed that we had DEPTH, fire, and BRILLIANCE / the music was undeniable! It moved from NY N became national and even GLOBAL / hiphop now was FOR EVERYBODY!! All of those who cld relate to the roots, the spirit, the history, the energy.. It reached YOU / it touched your spirit n took u up. We magnetized you! That’s what brilliance DOES / now u are fulfilling your dreams … BUT! / you have to take into account the HISTORY as you move underneath the banner of hiphop. As I said before / hiphop is fun it’s vile it’s dance it’s traditional it’s light hearted but 1 thing it can never detach itself from / is being a SOCIO-Political movement. U may ask why … Well / once you are born black your existence I believe is joined with socio-political epitaph and philos / based on the tangled and treacherous history SLAVERY alone this is the case / It never leaves our conversation… Ever. WeAther in our universities our dinner tables our studios or jail cells / the effects still resonates with us. It hurts… We get emotional and angry and melancholy / did u know president Clinton was the ONLY PRESIDENT to apologize for it? / did u know that remnants of slavery exist today thru white privilege? When certain “niceties” r extended your way because of / how u look? Isn’t that crazy? I say this 2 say u are a hiphop artist who has the right 2 express herself however she wishes / this is not a chastisement this is not admonishment at ALL this is just one artist reaching to another hoping to spark insight / into the field you r in. I say this in the spirit of a hopeful healthy dialogue that maybe one day we can continue / I’ve been on twitter a long time and this will probably be my last series of tweets pretty much but / I’m Kool with it as long as I got to share w u. Zzzzzzz’s up! Peace!