Q. Is hip-hop dead?
A. Did you say hip hop?
Q. No, I said hip-hop. The hyphen is silent, but it’s there. You can feel it. You can even dance to it. If you don’t feel it you will never get hip-hop.
A. You mean, like, getting down and/or getting funky?
Q. Do you even know what getting down means? Have you ever gotten down? Ever gotten funky? Have you ever put some stank into your groove?
A. Well, now. So. I’m gonna have to say that would be a negatory.
Q. Maybe I should go to that other answer-man down the street, the one at the card table in that driveway.
A. Oh, he doesn’t answer questions. He asks them.
Q. What kind of questions does he ask?
A. Stuff like Where am I? Who am I? Could you make me a peanut butter and pickle sandwich? Is this your card table?
Q. Look, I heard a rumor that hip-hop is dead and I just wanted somebody to tell me if it’s true.
A. If it helps, the last time I knew for sure that a style of music was dead was in February of 1964.
Q. I don’t see how could that possibly help. I mean, did they even have music back then?
A. Have you ever heard of the five-string banjo?
Q. Hey, man, no need to get nasty.
A. How about folk music?
Q. We were always told to get up and leave the room if anyone used the F word.
A. Before you leave, one more question. Have you ever heard of Chubby Checker?
Q. Can I go now? I have to see a man about a dog.
A. Folk music was huge in the late 1950s and well into the 1960’s. So huge that playing the five string banjo became as common and natural as wearing underwear. Almost everyone was doing it.
Q. What does that have to do with hip-hop?
A. Everybody wanted to cash in. Singers from every kind of musical discipline recorded their own special folk or country album. By everybody, I mean even people like Dean Martin, Harry Belafonte, Boris Badenov, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Pat Boone, Captain Kangaroo. Even Chubby Checker. The guy who invented the Twist. The guy who invented Limbo Rock (N.B. no hyphen.)
Q. Dwight who? This sounds like history. BORE-ing
A. And in February of 1964, Chubby Checker’s folk album hit the stores. Little known fact: It was the last celebrity folk album ever released. Because, at that very moment, folk music suffered a massive heart attack and went belly up.
Q. Everybody has to go sometime.
A. The autopsy said folk music died of too many people singing Kum-bay-ah my lord, kum-bay-ah. Now there was a song with some serious stank on it.
Q. I’m smelling you.
A. But it wasn’t just over-exposure that killed folk music. In fact, the straw that broke the camel’s back wasn’t a straw at all.
Q. Was the camel really a camel?
A. The very same week Chubby Checker stuck a fork in folk, John, Paul, George and Ringo landed at JFK.
Q.And they were?
A. You ignorant boob.
Q. Seriously, is that when Hip-hop came along?
A. No, that’s when Bob Dylan decided he didn’t want to work on Maggie’s Farm no more. Grand Wizard Theodore and Hip Hop were still way down a long and winding road.
Q. Is there any kind of Chubby Checker early warning factor today that will sound an alarm when hip hop’s demise is near?
A. Think Ozzy Osbourne. Or Ted Nugent. When they release a rap album, then hip hop — with or without the hyphen – will be toast in the wind.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.