Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hip hop culture

This one was almost titled "Hip hop culture and the lack of it in Whatcom County" but I thought I'd just label it otherwise. There is a major lack of hip hop culture in Whatcom County, it's more like country or rock culture, but where I grew up, it was a strong hip hop culture. People say the word hyphy and if you're from Nor Cal you know what I'm talking about. Not that Monterey is necessary Nor Cal, but we always considered it Nor Cal because it's in close proximity to San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland. When I was in high school New Jack Swing was popular, as well as Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. Tupac died in my junior year and Biggie died in my senior year. The funniest part of this all is, while I listened to the hip hop that my friends and classmates listened to, I was more into the alternative scene than anything. Not exactly Nirvana, but Elastica (remember them?), Offspring (ohhh the Offspring...they are currently in my truck and it brings back some memories!), and No Doubt were a few of my favorites.

In my junior year, I took a dance class after school (Modern Dance) and realized that I was not into the stiff and technical side of dance). We had a substitute teacher one day, and she told us to just freestyle to Michael & Janet Jackson's "Scream". I let loose. It was then that I realized that maybe hip hop dance was the way I wanted to go, and despite living in an area that had a lot of hip hop culture, we did not have a hip hop dance class! I ended up taking a Jazz dance course at the local community college the summer before my senior year (taught by that substitute teacher, mind you!). To this day, I have yet to have taken a hip hop dance class and I am hoping to get to the point where I'm strong enough (and regain some balance because my balance SUCKS) to actually take a Hip Hop Dance class for fun.

My daughter has expressed interest in Hip Hop dance, so in the spring of 2007 I enrolled her in a local Hip Hop dance class through the local Y. It taught hip hop and ballet and my daughter absolutely hated ballet. I chuckled when she told me this, because my dad made me take ballet in 6th grade and I, too, hated it. I had to laugh at the "hip hop" that was taught, it wasn't really hip hop but again, this is coming from someone who grew up with the hip hop I realize my expectations are a bit biased. Plus the teacher was ballet-trained, so it was not really her style. Yesterday I lamented to some co-workers how I really wanted to enroll her in a quality hip hop dance class. One told me that if she becomes serious about it, and I'm willing to shell out money and time, Vancouver (British Columbia) has some really good dance studios. I think I'll wait to see where it goes, but in the meanwhile I am looking for closer alternatives. This child of mine loves break dancing and b-boys, for some reason, and has tried on her own to break dance (it's cute!). We watch America's Best Dance Crew on MTV and she is always amazed (especially when it comes to the tricks the b-boys do, such as Supercrew). Personally, I'm more of a dance person, but some of the tricks do amaze me as well.

It's been five years since we moved up here and I still cannot get into country. I don't think I ever will be able to. Now, when I say "country" I mean the new stuff, or the extremely twangy stuff. Elvis and Johnny Cash I do not mind...but the rest of it, I just do not get it. I know that is how some people feel about hip hop, but I have tried to like country. Okay, so I like the Dixie Chicks but really, that's about it, and even some of their stuff I can't stomach (it's the twangy sound, no offense meant to anyone). However, I love rock- especially classic rock, and most recently we watched a Led Zeppelin concert on one of the VH1 channels. How my daughter can know the words to Immigrant Song is a mystery to me. Give me rock and hip hop any day (and I love the collaborations- like "Walk This Way" with Aerosmith and Run DMC, or the more recent Linkin Park and Jay-Z collaborations).



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