Hip-Hop Is Really Old

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I was just thinking back on this Skinny Boys joint, "Jock Box." This was back in the days of dinosaurs when you couldn't have a rap group, without having a beatbox. Jock Box was The Skinny Boys entry. This joint came out twenty five years ago, and the reasons I liked it as a ten year old are not the same reasons I liked early Boogie Down Productions and I don't think those are the same reasons I liked Nas. 


I do a lot of talking here about lyrics. But that's mostly because I don't know enough to discuss hip-hop, musically. Still it's worth noting that very often--especially with the Skinny Boys--I just liked the sound. It's also why I shy away from hardcore judgments about today's scene. Aesthetics in art change. There's no reason to expect them not to.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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