Michael Ray De Los Angeles.
♛ email: MichaelRay@LoraxCommunity.org
Los Angeles, CA, 2015.
Hands down, this discovery has been a long time coming. Over the last 30 odd years changes within the music industry, urban neighborhoods, and the advances in technology and social connectivity have opened up new possibilities for music fans. From how we discover, listen to, share and distribute audio; and every genre of music has been affected. That said, it was only a matter of time before a new element was in the world of hip-hop was discovered.
The fundamental elements of hip-hop:
Breakin—dance/synchronization with Nature’s rhythm.
Emceein—utterance of existence/communication with Nature.
Graffiti Art—art, writing, and the symbolization of Nature.
Deejayin—manipulation of Nature/tool making.
Beat Boxin—imitation of Nature and Nature’s sounds.
Street Fashion—tribal clothing, body art, hairstyling.
Street Language—tribal communication.
Street Knowledge—tribal wisdom/survival skills.
Street Entrepreneurialism—tribal trade.
However recent discoveries within the urban jungle suggest that a new element has been unearth, literally. This fundamental element has been dubbed “|0|” by hip-hop archivists, and vinyl enthusiasts, and its discover is said to change the world of hip-hop– from clothing, to graffiti, to lyrical content. The element appears to have been long forgotten but has been alluded to in songs like “Be Healthy” by Dead Prez and “Industrial Revolution” by Immortal Technique. Both songs address the social inequities and third-world living conditions found in the modern urban landscape.
So what is this newly discovered element of hip-hop? Well, for that answer, I would like to direct your attention to Ron Finley, a true O.G. and Gangster Gardener, a pioneer that has changed the landscape of Los Angeles– and the dialogue we have about green space. In a TED talk, Ron Finley highlights how being a Gangster Gardener, can be sexy, humbling, life changing, “ecolutionary,” honorable, and respectable. These ethos tie together all the elements of hip-hop; Breakin, Emceein, Deejain, Beat Boxin, Street Fashion, Street Language, Street Knowledge, Entrepreneurialism. Being a gangster gardener is the quintessential element that hip-hop has kept burred while in the search of new ways to push the envelope– through auto-tune, reality television shows, etc.
Now, that this element has been rediscovered there is no telling what may become of traditional hip hop ethics, and the content of hip-hop. Will graffiti be replaced by garden murals (a la Michelle Moss Wurlitzer of Chico California); will raps about fresh beats become raps about fresh beets; will street fashion include dirt stains, garden gloves and sun hats? Only time will tell.
Gangster Gardener: one who knows how to “plant some shit.”
Michael Ray De Los Angeles
Bachelors of English Literature
Humboldt State University.
Freelance Writing, Editing, & Cinematography
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