26 Things Every Hip-Hop Head Should Do Before They Die

Some people say Hip-Hop is dead. Others say it’s just dead to the people who liked it for the wrong reasons. Me personally, I feel that Hip-Hop will never die as long as I got love for it, but I can see how the feeling can get a little hazy in the current climate. So, to get back to the essence of the culture, we have compiled 26 Things Every Hip-Hop Head Should Do Before They Die (In no particular order). In the list, we give you ways to claim your Hip-Hop junkie status (But PLEASE don’t take this too seriously). Thanks to the rest of the nappyafro crew for helping me get this list together and I hope to get more suggestions to add to the list. Oh yeah, we already know that there are only 21 reasons listed here…that probably means it’s more to come.

Blast “Fuck Tha Police” at least once in your lifetime
The song may be 20 years old, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less relevant. With Sean Bell, Jena 6, and a lot of other incidents, this song still gets me hype. So yeah, bump this one in you ride, out you window…whatever; bucking the system is Hip-Hop.

Own at least 5 legitimate classic Hip-Hop records (see our Classic Material for some suggestions)
You can’t say, “I still haven’t heard the whole Illmatic yet”, and be a Hip-Hop head. Or “Damn, I didn’t know there was there was a skit where Biggie got dome on Ready To Die”. Whatever bitch! In this day and age of illegal downloading, you still gotta own some Hip-Hop classics (ATLiens, Illmatic, The Chronic, Paid In Full, The Blueprint, The Low End Theory, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, etc.). MP3’s don’t count and you get extra points for vinyl.

Attempt to make beat
Look, we’re not asking for a masterpiece here or for you to become the new Pete Rock and make a sequel for “T.R.O.Y.”. Just like we think every Hip-Hop Head should kick at least one freestyle, we think the producer side is just as fair game. So whether it be Pro Tools, a MPC, or Fruity Loops; get to it.

Kick a freestyle over Lil’ Wayne’s “A Millie”
When Lil’ Mama and Jigga did it, it was good. When Asher Roth, Ne-Yo, Jadakiss, and Fabolous did it, it still was good. When Bow Wow, Amil, Dolla, or all the others (Who shouldn’t have) did it, it really opened the doors to the average Joe Schmoes. Yeah, this beat may been done to death, but its okay if you freestyle over it now. Hell, when foreigners take the immigration test, you HAVE to freestyle over “A Milli” to get citizenship in the United States. No lie.

Celebrate mother’s day with a classic mother’s day song (“Hey Mama”, “Dear Mama”, etc.)
When Mother’s Day roles around, what are you bumping? “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men? Hell no! “So Alone” by Men At Large? Wrong! If you a Hip-Hop Head, you better be bumping 2Pac’s ode to Afeni Shakur, Jay-Z’s “I Made It” or a million other Hip-Hop songs dedicated to Mothers.

Listen to beef songs between rappers and decide who won (2Pac vs. subliminal Biggie jabs, Jay-Z vs. Nas, etc.)
I personally know people who got into a fight purely based on the Biggie vs. 2Pac feud. I even know people who stopped speaking based on the DJ Quik and MC Eiht battle (Yeah, MC fucking Eiht!). But these kinda debates are what make Hip-Hop so great right? So be it Nas vs. Jay, LL vs. Canibus, or even Pastor Troy vs. Master P; listen to the records and pick a side…NOW!

Use an Auto-tune device at least once.
T-Pain brought it back, Weezy fell in love with it, and Kanye did whole album with it. Why not you? Snoop Dogg used it, Tony Yayo used it, Gucci Maine used it, Royce Da 5’9” used it (I think that covers all the bases doesn’t it?). Almost everybody has used it, so go head, put a little T-Pain on that shit, and go crazy with it! “I puuuutttttttttttttt oooonnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!”

Own a Boombox, or at least an iPod with Boombox style speakers
Even though Radio Raheem may not have been a real character, our love for his devotion is no less. This is probably the only time where an “iPod version” won’t get points deducted. For extra credit: Get some five finger rings and a dookie rope chain, and take you boombox to your local street corner.

Do some sort of graffiti in a public place (try not to get locked up)
Out of all the elements of Hip-Hop, Graffiti is by far the most overlooked. You don’t have to be Chris “Daze” Ellis to give back to this almost forgotten art by bombing in a public place. Just remember these tips: Your house doesn’t count, it’s probably better to wait until its dark, and nappyafro.com will not be responsible for legal fees.

Visit the birthplace of Hip-Hop (Bronx, NY)
You probably heard about the recent purchase of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in Bronx, New York for $7 million (The place where Kool Herc hosted his first parties eventually leading to the birth of Hip-Hop music in the early 1970’s). Well, even if you don’t have that kinda bread, you still can visit (It kinda like a pilgrimage to the homeland right?).

Kick a freestyle in a cipher/or battle
Okay, let’s be clear: We mean a straight freestyling! No, “Oh you mad cause I’m stylin’ on you” sucker punching. No, “Look at his face now!” bullshit either. I think a lot of people have forgotten that it’s all about the lyrics and it should always stay that way. So yeah, at least one time you should kick a freestyle in a cipher or in a battle just to see how it feels. It’s sad to say, Eli Porter may not be “The best maine!”, but even he knows this.

Learn at least a verse from “Rapper’s Delight” & a verse off Paid In Full
Okay, we can explain this in two parts: The reason you need to at least learn a verse from “Rapper’s Delight”? It marks a huge landmark for the culture and is probably considered to be the song that first popularized Hip-Hop in the United States and around the world. The reason you need to learn a verse from Paid In Full the album? Well, since that is arguably Rakim & Eric B’s best, you might need to show love seeing as if it wasn’t for Rakim, we all might still be rapping like Kurtis Blow (No disrespect).

Own a pair of Adidas or an Adidas suit
We all love Air Force 1’s & Dunk’s, but you can’t forget to show some love for the original Hip-Hop shoe of choice (Jordan’s are still the shit though). Run DMC popularized them, but you can extend the legacy (Extra credit if you rock the tracksuit too).

Attempt to breakdance & pop lock
Yeah, we’re really don’t have a problem with “Whoop Rico” or even old standards like the “Harlem Shake” or “Bankhead Bounce”, but if you really wanna do it big like a Hip-Hop head should, you gotta try to land a “6-Step” or “Helicopter” (Yeah, the handstand thing!). And hell, even my Mom can do “The Robot”.

Scratch a record
Don’t get it twisted, novices will fuck up a record doing this one (Ain’t no way around it). But this gives props to the DJ. My first record? Oh, I think it was Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away” with me scratching some LL Cool J’s “Bad” over it. What?

Get into an argument about Hip-Hop
For the regular Hip-Hop Head, you probably already do this anyway. Me personally, I get into arguments about Hip-Hop with people I barely know. “Is Jay-Z a biter?”, “Why Tupac is not that great?”, “Is God’s Son better than Stillmatic?”…Don’t get me started on that one.

Drum out a beat at a lunch table
Before hopeful beatmakers had MySpace pages and were putting their beats on YouTube, the first place they would test out the skills was during lunch period (People still do this). What’s more Hip-Hop than beating on a table while someone freestyles?

See these movies: Style Wars, Beat Street, Krush Groove & at least know who O-Zone & Turbo are.
This one is about research. You remember when Ginuwine did the broom routine at the end of “None Of Ur Friends Business” music video? Yea, he didn’t make that up. Watching these movies is kinda like watching an adult’s baby videos. “Wait a minute; The Cool Kids didn’t invent that style?”

Attend a big music festival/concert (Rock The Bells, Hard Knock Life Tour, Up In Smoke, etc.)
While you may have to sit through a few musical acts you don’t care about, the big music festival/concert is still very enjoyable. Besides getting some live music; you also feel that you share something with most of the people around; the love of Hip-Hop. Now, let’s hope nobody starts shooting…

Educate a youngster about Hip-Hop
When my nephew tells me that Weezy is the best and come at me kicking some Lil’ Wayne rhymes, I think it’s my duty to explain that while Wayne is good, all those line you just spoke of contain rhymes that where originally lines from Jay-Z, Outkast, UGK, and Nas. We all should give back like this every once in a while.

Attend your favorite artist’s concert/show
Years ago, I had a chance to drive 3 ½ hours to see The Notorious B.I.G. Yeah, I had to go to school early the next morning. Yeah, my friend’s car was a piece of shit that constantly broke down. And yeah, I probably didn’t have enough money. But, every time I think about it, I feel like somebody punched me in the nuts for missing my only chance to see Biggie. So if your favorite rapper comes to your area, make it a mission to go see them.

Note: Why only 21 Things instead of 26? Click HERE.