P’s Perspective Episode 7 ” Keepin It Real ”
Keep it real. The term “Keep it Real” is one that was created through the culture of Hip Hop, and what I mean is that Hip Hop the CULTURE gave birth to certain terms, energies, and ways of life that might be perceived in a totally different way by those that exist outside of the culture and its influence.
For starters, when we said “keep it real,” what we really meant was to do what’s genuine to us, and what feels right by us. Simply put, to keep it real is to be true to oneself. Now, let’s stick with that line of thought for a moment as it relates to Hip Hop and the culture as a whole. In the beginning, there was no money involved, so the use term or the way of life for those who were a part of the Hip Hop world at the time, was really just our way of embracing the reality of ourselves and our situation, instead of talking about how we wished things were or wanted them to be. As we saw images of Rodney King being abused by the police, we all sang “Fight the Power,” we all felt united, and we kept it real in the sense that we spoke out, and we boycotted (and people in LA rioted) for the sake of being true to ourselves and acknowledging the truth of our situation.
Then came the attention, and along with it came the money.. and America finally saw that the Hip Hop culture was special, artistic, expressive and most of all, genuine. There was a truth there that couldn’t be manufactured in a corporate boardroom, and capturing that truth was a way into the minds (and pockets) of a large part of the country. They were getting an inside look at life in the inner-city communities and the tour was being led by people directly from those communities. Remember, while everyone is and was fascinated by this lifestyle, not everyone was brave enough to come experience it – and as a result, a person could now get paid to “keep it real.”
I remember I had a friend who said, “I’m gonna be Russell Simmons – I’m always gonna rock jeans and my kicks…” To us, that was the essence of “Keeping it Real” – that no matter how much money you made, you stayed true to your upbringing.