Filed under: Not Your Average,Print Work,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Remember that corny backpacker phase when everyone was harping on about the elements of hip-hop? That shit was for lames, dames and flames. You wanna know what the essence of hip-hop is? Racking. Call it stealing, shoplifting or even the Five Finger Discount – that’s the real heart of this here game. Think about it – rapping over break-beats is stealing someone’s music and making it better. How else is a twelve-year old kid going to go bombing? Who’s got money for paint at that age, when there’s cheeseburgers and weed to be had? Same goes for music. Back when we still gave a fuck about records, throwing a stack of wax under your jacket was the only way you could cop all the latest import singles from New York. I still remember the first time I bagged-up a record (Rakim‘s “Follow The Leader” 12″) at Central Station, while an older writer I didn’t even know kept watch for me. How amped do you think I was to get that platter back home and give it a spin? Nothing’s changed these days. Peep Brad Strut’s “Monopoly” clip and you’ll see him balling his own CD, while the Beatnuts famously declared “if I can’t afford a record I’ll bag it!”
Don’t get it twisted and think this is a tirade about how the kiddies have it easy with all the downloading off the interwebs and whatnot – never that. That’s just stealing for the 2000 era. My point is that boosting shit is more hip-hop than print hoodies, white sunglasses and tight salmon polo shirts will ever be. Pretty much everything worth anything needs to be thieved. How else are can you get your hands on quality porno mags and hard liquor when you’re a teenager? Rolling dudes for their shit also remains a staple of hip-hop. From the days of sheepskins, Pumas and gold ropes to the diamond-encrusted watch and platinum fronts era, the opportunity to gank someone’s shit off them by fair means or foul at a rap show remains the great leveler. I got pissed when Kanye admitted that he stole drums sounds off Pete Rock records until KRS-One told me that he did the same thing to Marley Marl when he made “The Bridge Is Over”. Jay-Z and everyone one under sun have made careers ripping-off Biggie and Tupac. Don’t get mad – just steal their shit.
Thirstin Howl III - “John, They’re Stealing (Part 1)”
Originally published in Acclaim Mag #8.
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