Hip-Hop History | Letters | Chicago Reader

Hip-Hop History 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Dear Reader,

I was pleasantly surprised upon finding that the Reader had taken the time to review a hip-hop concert [Rock Etc., August 25]. However, my surprise quickly turned to disgust when it became apparent that the writer sent to cover the concert knew nothing about hip-hop. Whoever thinks that the Pharcyde revolutionized hip-hop subject matter has absolutely no knowledge of the history or evolution of the music. Rosalind Cummings should refer to the late 70s when the Cold Crush Crew, Treacherous 3 and other non-"nihilistic" and "violent" hip-hop groups were the norm. In other words, in the 20 years since Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc began rockin' hip-hop in the parks of the South Bronx there have been countless groups who have covered a wide variation of themes. I'm pleased that you are giving hip-hop respect by giving it space in your paper but please make sure that the writers you assign to cover the music understand and respect the music from a proper historical and cultural perspective. Thank you.

Nat Creole


Rosalind Cummings replies:

I'm afraid that you misunderstood my review. I never said that the Pharcyde revolutionized hip-hop. I said that in the face of predominantly violent and nihilistic lyrics, theirs were innovative and fresh. The Crush Crew and Treacherous 3 were indeed revolutionary--they were the forerunners of a musical form that was dismissed as a novelty during the time they helped create it--and Afrika Bambaataa and his Zulu Nation preached positive lyrics way before hip-hop lyrics became violent. But since we're in the 90s, I prefer to look to current groups and lyrics for comparison.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
September 24
Performing Arts
September 18

Popular Stories