Is the old Hip Hop coming back? Is the market too cluttered with everyone trying to take a piece of the game? Was Big L better than Papoose? Is ‘The Bridge Is Over’ better than ‘Piggybank’? Is the old Nas better than the new one? Was P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Diddy, or whatever he goes by ever any good as a rapper? Questions pop up comparing the old school Hip Hop and the new artists and industry trends all the time. The truth is that even the Beatles and Elvis Presley were considered trash music at the time. Jim Morrison’s songs were viewed as overly commercial, appealing to the youngsters back in the 60s and 70s. On the Hip Hop scene it was Afrika Bambaataa who was viewed as a gangster from the Bronx. NWA was perceived as spreading hate and violence. Mobb Deep was seen as a couple of damaged kids who were up to no good.

It would be wrong to argue that all of today’s music will become just that – a classic, when time passes. The current Hip Hop scene is overly saturated with people who want to rap for money or fame and not for the art itself. Still, every new stage brings something wonderful and foul at the same time. The key is viewing it as a whole and not a part of it at a time. No matter how bad your neighbor’s rap may be, people are at least trying. This is the true triumph of Hip Hop. Hundreds of thousands of people, in a country of 300 million, celebrate the culture by making an attempt to enrich it. Whether they do it well or not, it would be like blaming a little kid for not winning a Nobel Prize for mathematics. Some will rise up through the confusion of today’s underground Hip Hop. Some will fail. Papoose put out mixtapes for 10 years before scoring a 1.4 million deal. Remy Ma was on the grind for 6 years before putting out ‘There Is Something About Remy’. Jae Millz is still trying to ‘Bring It Back’. Amil is working in a supermarket in New Jersey after taking part in the largest Hip Hop tour of the time with Jay Z 7 years ago. There are many more stories of rise to fame and failure to the point of no return. The important thing is that both, the artists of the past and the current ones, make Hip Hop what it is now.

VH1 saw it just that way. After honoring the Hip Hop veterans in its 3rd annual Hip Hop Honors ceremony, they put the ‘old school’ and the ‘new school’ together. It happened literally on the same floor. It was a basketball floor of the Brooklyn campus of LIU. The line up was astonishing to say the least. There was a team of ‘old school’ and a team of ‘new school’, representing just that.
Old school team had a roster of some of the New York’s best of all time: Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers; Melle Mel of the Furious Five; Pete Rock, one of the inventors of jazz music in Hip Hop; Grandmaster Dee of Whodini; Kurtis Blow, who made Hip Hop hits before ‘Rapper’s Delight’ even came out; and a slew of others.
New school had: Chris Brown, who brought non-stop screams from the female teenage spectators; Jae Millz, constantly working on his Hip Hop and b ball game on and off the court; Remy Ma, always looking fly while working on her new album full time; Saigon, who is coming up the ranks with some of the freshest rhymes and flows on today’s scene; Pharaoh Monch, who had a show later that night with Talib Kweli; and more.

Opening the game, Meah Pace sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Straight from her UPN show, Meah combined Beyoncee’s charm and Rhianna’s innocence. Young B brought on her ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ with her. Then at half time, Fat Joe popped up and did a few songs. Doing the recent, but already classic BX anthem ‘New York’ he reminded of the pre-Piggybank time when Ja, Jada and Joe were some of the hottest rappers in New York. Performing ‘Lean Back’, he got everyone singing along in the seats and Remy doing her to the EZaaa. Then he did a song from his new album Me, Myself and I, slated to come out in the next month. Lot’s of pressure is on this Bronx MC with his album. He has lots to prove and even more to disapprove. It was good to see that his flow has not changed. Solid beats and catchy rhymes were in full effect and so was Joe.

As far as the game is concerned, it was a friendly spectacle with some unexpectedly impressive performances. Old School started off on solo play but adjusted their game by second half. New School was dominating in scoring and possessions throughout the entire match, with Chris Brown scoring over 30 points on his own. Then in the last quarter Old School had finally caught up to the rhythm and put up the D worthy of a team well-rehearsed. New School was still just playing around, waiting for Brown to keep at his miracles and slowly running out of breath. With 2 minutes left and the score finally tied, Chris sat down and Remy stepped in replace him. Remy managed to provide the necessary destruction to the opposing team throughout the game. By the end and the prize in sight, she just became another player thou. Old School emerged victorious by 2 points with possession at the final buzzer.

A fun and entertaining game came to end with the ultimate goal well accomplished. It was a day of celebrating Hip Hop’s old and new. Whether it was Chris Brown putting a 3 pointer on the board or Grandmaster Dee scoring on a jump shot, both teams scored for the same cause of honor Hip Hop.

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