Every year the VH1 Honors pay tribute to Hip Hop pioneers from various aspects and eras of its musical culture. Last year they paid tribute to Def Jam records.. The year before they gave dap to West Coast artists. In other years they paid tribute to many of the early pioneers out of New York.. The show brings forth a unique mix of Hip Hop elders to be honored while some of today’s most popular artists pay tribute by re-doing one of their popular songs.
According to Hip Hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, one of the driving forces behind this event, its one of the ways they attract a younger audience that otherwise may bypass the honors altogether. It’s not like other commercial outlets that normally present Hip Hop music are routinely educating their audience to have a deeper appreciation for bygone eras. Hip Hop on the commercial side is no where like its Rock-n-Roll counterpart where classic material and pioneering figures in the genre are held in high esteem.
Today there are far too many young cats in Hip Hop who have no idea who the pioneers are. Sadly many don’t even care. Hip Hop has been positioned as a music genre that is supposed to only be for one people. Case in point are the recent potshots we’ve heard younger rappers take at veterans like Jay-Z. Most notably artists like Game have referred to him as an old man over 40 who should not be rapping. You rarely hear those slights taken at Rock artists many like Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen or Paul McCartney who still tour while well into their 50s and 60s. That needs to change. We need to change.
This year the VH1 Honors, normally held in the fall are taking place in June during Black Music month. This year pioneering figures from the South aka the Third Coast will be honored. According to Fab 5 Freddy, he has long wanted to feature artists from this part of the country. They have been dominating for a number of years. he didn’t say exactly who will be on the show, however, I do know when I ran into Houston artists Chamillionaire and Paul Wall the other week they mentioned having to do something for VH1 around the honors… We’ll keep you posted as things unfold.
Here’s the interview we did with Fab 5 Freddy
If it was up to me I’d love to see them dig deep and pull out seminal figures like Magic Mike, Clay D, Afrorican, The M4sers and all those folks who were key in the evolution of what was once known as Miami bass. Also included would be 2Live Crew and MC Shy D who I feel has long been overlooked and all but forgotten when his records once upon a time were mainstays.
Of course we have to pay tribute to Texas..The Geto Boys, UGK, Lil Keke the late DJ Screw immediately come to mind. Michael Watts is another who we need to look at.
It would be a major oversight to not honor Arrested Development. Outside of the Miami Bass era I think they were the one group that initially captured the essence of that down home feeling that many of us came to associate with the South. I think Arrested Development is underplayed. In that same vein we have to honor Outkast and the Goodie Mobb. Dap has to be given to the entire The Dungeon Family which includes Organized Noise. Here’s what Speech had to say about Southern music and whether or not its getting a bad rap.
If I had to pick someone from New Orleans it most definitely would be Juvenile who’s career goes back to New Orlean’s humble bounce music days.
In places like Kentucky I would love to see props be given to Underground Mafia.. I think they were way ahead of their time. and unfortunately only had that one album. Below is one of my favorite songs by the group
We cant forget 8Ball and MJG out of Memphis.
Finally we have to look at looming figures from Virginia and Washington DC.. DJ Kool, Missy Elliot and Timbaland are names that come to mind.