I got word that Malcom McLaren passed away right as I was arriving in Denver for AWP and it really shook me up. Not in the same way it would if a friend or loved one passed but in the way that I feel a lil bit more of my childhood is slipping away.
I also feel a big sense of loss for the hip-hop culture as a big part of what made ole skool hip-hop also begins to disappear and by that I mean serious cross-collaboration. I’m not talkin’ bout a rapper laying some rhymes in the middle of a pop song or some glitzy marketing campaign jazzed up with a random lyric. I’m talkin’ bout the days when a DJ would dig deep in his crate and pull out the most left-field joint he could find and challenge the crowd to move to it. That was the true spirit of Afrika Bambaata and Kool Herc, not the auto-tune world it’s turned into.
Damn, I sound like such an old man.
Let’s take a step back and think: If young adults don’t even know the 40 year history of hip-hop; how do we expect them to know about the Civil Rights Movement, the Holocaust, Apartheid, United States Expansionism, the Aztecs, the Incans?
Yeah, I am an old man.
The quick hip-hop history you need to know is that not only was Malcolm McLaren the genius behind the Sex Pistols but he was also one of the first outsiders who saw the true possibility of hip-hop. How a dude from London walks into a house party in the late 70s Bronx and says, “This will be a global phenomenon,” is beyond me. Here’s the poem:
for Malcolm McLaren
[Poem was here.]