Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love, Simplicity, and Hip Hop

I love graffiti. I love the artistry of it, the colors, the expression…and it’s just cool to look at. I always wished I was a visual artist of some kind. I never mastered it. Although I can draw a fantastic stick person. I can draw one in a hat. I can draw one without a hat. I can draw one who wishes he was wearing a hat…very complicated stuff. Anyway, I was recently asked the question "when did you fall in love with hip hop?" for a really cool blog and I thought it was an interesting question. Being that I’m standing in front of this fantastic artwork and being that it happens to be graffiti, it seems like an opportune opportunity (yep, you just read that) to explore what this question got me thinking about…


 When did I fall in love with hip hop? That’s a hard question. I tried to think of a defining moment, but nothing stood out. There wasn’t one big song/event/concert that gave me pause and made me aware that it was something special. For me it was gradual. I wasn’t allowed to listen to it as a kid, so my brother and I would sneak and listen to it at our cousins house in the basement and I remember seeing posters of  artists on their walls that intrigued me through their style and their attitude.  I remember going in my brother’s room and watching The Box (+ 100 cool points if you remember that) and waiting for someone to order something good. I remember us listening to the radio for songs to come on. We would learn the words to songs we loved listening over and over to catch the fast lyrics and, what we didn't understand at the time, was we were also getting a unique education about life, history, and culture - hip hop will do that for you.  We were also watching video’s we weren’t supposed to (don't tell my momma). Hearing things that moved me or just gave me a different kind of energy and influencing my style in ways I didn’t quite understand until later, but those things were my gateway. 

 I got to thinking, wow, what if I’d never been introduced to hip hop? It has influenced the direction of my life so much over the years. It helped me fall in love with dance and it plays a HUGE roll in my dance career now. Those times in my brother’s room were a bonding time for us -  where we found common ground, I learned from my cousins and we still share a huge bond through music. Sometimes the simplest of things – hearing a few songs while hanging with your family – can shape your life in ways you wouldn’t imagine. 

I suppose rhyming over a beat can be considered simplistic to some, but I find that true artists use the "simplicity" of a beat (the "simplest" of which are usually quite complex if you listen closely) to convey a textured message, full of layers and ideas that make you press replay (or turn the tape over to fast forward it so you could turn it back over to listen to it again... +200 cool points if you know what I'm saying) until you catch all of the intricacies of their flow and their words.

In keeping with this acknowledgement of the simplicity of it all, this outfit is quite simple. The visual interest comes from details – lacing and color of the shoe and the texture of the top -  a great foreground for the amazing work behind me. The weather still thinks it’s early spring, so it’s influenced by cooler temps, but the light colors and the crop top still make it springtime acceptable. If you're dealing with cool temps, too, opt at least, for light colors and spring shades and interesting detail. The good ol' "pops of color" work well here. Show your toes, show a bit of skin, pretend it's warm. Sometimes denial is your friend. But only sometimes, so use sparingly.

Now – I want to hear from you. When did you fall in love with something that shaped your life? Was it a type of music? Art? Fashion? What did you fall in love with that inspired what you do today? I’m anxious to hear! Share, por favor!!

Photos by the one and only EricP.

Crop Top: Cliche' Mpls
Jeans: H&M
Shoes/Midi Rings: Aldo

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