National Geographic : 2007 Aug
LETTERS Hip-Hop Planet As a member of the hip-hop generation, I was interested to hear the author's perspec tive as an older person, from the outside looking in, especially considering that I am white and he's black. Hip-hop is indeed the young world's culture. I have made friends digging through rec ord shops from Berlin to Santo Domingo. If hip-hop brought blacks, Puerto Ricans, Italians, and Jews together in the 1970s streets of New York, think what it can do for the young of Somalia, Sri Lanka, or Palestine. LOKI DA TRIXTA Brooklyn, New York The hip-hop I listen to has messages that concern much more than women and drugs. They communicate the hard ships of poverty, warn about the future of society, and take stances on political issues. I felt insulted when I read that the only reason I like hip-hop is because black people are innately cooler than I am. Please take note that some white kids appreciate a vivid musical cul ture that captures the true cre ativity and passion of rappers. BRENDAN ROCHFORD Santa Cruz, California James McBride quotes an African rapper as saying that hip-hop belongs to Africa because of the hardship there. Third World countries don't have the market cornered on Corrections, Clarifications April 2007: The Global Fish Crisis The name of the skipper pictured on page 55 is Barry Fitzpatrick. pain and anguish. I love the fact that hip-hop has spread faster than the want for inde pendence that it inspires. All I ask is that America get credit where credit is due. DAVID BUENO-HILL Los Angeles, California McBride's analysis and history don't ring true to old timers like me. We grew up in Chicago housing projects and were directly involved in the evolution of the music that morphed into hip-hop, and we didn't need the help of New Yorkers and Africans. HOSEA L. MARTIN Chicago, Illinois Give the early hip-hop musicians their chops-they made something new, just like Hendrix did with an elec tric guitar. Hip-hop may well be similar in structure to older musical traditions of countries like Senegal. If so, it would make sense that it would be picked up in those coun tries, especially if the music appeals to people who feel oppressed or held in poverty. But then, what teenager doesn't feel oppressed? The music didn't come full circle. It just appealed to a whole lot of people worldwide. SCOTT TROUTMAN Altoona, Pennsylvania I know there will be readers who will not understand why this article was included in the magazine. I commend you for attempting to make people look beyond the offen sive lyrics of gangsta rap and see that there is much more to hip-hop than that. KRISTI R. 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