Sean Kongery – Paper

Since rap has moved into the sphere of mainstream music in the mid-1990’s, it has always held onto a worn out cliché.

This ever-present preoccupation prevents many people from appreciating the art form of hip hop by giving them an easy way to dismiss it. Low lives celebrating criminality and monetary wealth, they say. And that’s true in many cases, but that’s not the whole story.

Ten years ago I met a veteran DJ of Washington DC’s hip hop inner-circle, named DJ Ragz. Already well known in he 1990’s, Ragz was the forebear of the more well-known DC hip hop DJ’s who came after him and emerged in the late 2000’s. In addition to being a hip hop DJ, he was a jazz and funk connoisseur who later started a group called the Jazz Addixx. I remember once when he said that he didn’t feel comfortable telling people that he was into hip hop because that statement was so easily misconstrued. Hip hop had been hijacked by vapid one-dimensional cartoon characters like 50 Cent.

I love the video above because it pokes fun at the mainstream culture of hip hop’s obsession with wealth. Nearly all well-known rappers embrace money as a central theme in their lyrics: Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, etc. But those aren’t the people you should be listening to. The most most creative and inventive hip hop lives in the cracks between the commercialized figures that everyone knows.

It’s made by people like Sean Kongery.