The Grammy-winning MC rapped a heartfelt freestyle in a tribute video to hip-hop culture, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter is giving honor to hip-hop in a unique way. The Roots frontman and co-founder teamed up with BET for a special video tribute to the genre, honoring its 50th anniversary.
The video, titled “Dear Hip Hop,” is just under five minutes long, shot in black and white. Trotter told Rolling Stone about the inspiration behind the video tribute.
“This is a Love Letter to Hip Hop for me because hip hop is the love of my life,” Trotter stated. “No matter what medium that it is that you’re working in: if you’re painting a picture, if you’re writing a book, [or] if you’re writing a song. Those works of art that resonate the most are when you actually pour your true self into it.”
Throughout the piece, directed by Benny Boom, Trotter rhymes about the history of hip-hop and what it’s meant to him as images of hip-hop’s culture flash on and off screen between his rap. He freestyles about the origins of hip-hop in New York City, name dropping fashion innovators Dapper Dan and June Ambrose.
The two-time Grammy winner continues, rapping about the first days of the DJ and the graffiti artist. “What came after was the scratch of the grand wizards and grand masters/one topic of discussion was whose hands were faster than the 6 train, where the illest tags were plastered.
Later on, he gave props to the MCs, shining a light on the female rap pioneers as well. “They could never be kept in a vault,” Trotter rapped. “There’d be no Kim or Nicki Minaj without Pepa and Salt. I hope Cardi B and Megan thank Latifah, and Lyte, and L. Boogie. Superheroes who were eager to fight.”
Trotter would end the piece with an homage to the late Migos member Takeoff, while expressing how the heritage of the culture has lived throughout the generations.
“The rites of passage that passed down from the griots, in search of caption, hear in the absence of egos, extraordinary ethos, Takeoff from the Migos, we rose to become entire ecosystems, it’s wild to think about how long the people have listened, now 50 years down the line…”
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