Memoir: Hip Hop Therapy…

Ever So Clear, Bushwick Bill

This tune brings back memories of Yo MTV rap, those teenage years of care-free living…

Fortunate to have been brought-up in a middle-class home, there were still times when it was just impossible to see the future clearly. This was partly down to decades of being governed by corrupt, oppressive and vision-less politicians.

The middle-class was shrinking economically and physically as the mass exodus continued to the west — brain drain at astronomical levels. Majority of those left were demotivated and exhausted, owing to the constant struggle to survive. It was almost like the ruling elites were against the citizens.

Universities were ridden with gang culture, kidnapping, prostitution, gang violence, corrupt lecturers, corrupt undercover police officers. The socio-political climate created the right environment for growth of an urban Hip Hop culture.

As a result, middle class African kids could empathise with the struggles and challenges of the underclass in America. Movies like New Jack City, Mo Better Blues, Poetic Justice, Deep Cover, Jungle fever…, became part of the social fabric.

Every now and again, there were house parties, beach parties, pool parties, club scene, Fela Kuti, festivals, table tennis, pool, weights, local drinking spots… Or just lounging, discussing politics, football and having a go at each other.

But when times were tough, I reached out for this track among others. It opens up with the line,

“See, most of my life I never had s**t. I felt like an outcast, treated like a misfit…”.

I simply shut my eyes, listening and giving thanks with the knowledge that my situation could be worse. As put by English reformer and Martyr, John Bradford,

“There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.”