In this world, it seems we hear more bad news than good. The same holds true for hip-hop; the negative often seems more prevalent than the positive. In light of that, I’d like to share a story of the positive impact hip-hop has had on my life.
Growing up, I didn’t want for anything. I lived in safe suburbia and my parents had the ample means to care for me. That’s not to say I was spoiled, but it is to say I was, and am, fortunate.
However, growing up in suburbia didn’t shelter me from everything. I went to a high school that had around 2,500 students in it. In fact, the place was so full of students they had to create two full-sized buildings; one for the freshmen and sophomores and one for the juniors and seniors.
The large number of students meant a lot of things, but socially it meant this: find a clique or be left out in the cold. Unfortunately, the latter was my case. In ninth grade, I was skinny, quirky and a little spastic. Subsequently, I was the victim of bullying for my first few years of high school.
Anybody who’s been bullied can tell you that it’s no picnic. Many days I dreaded going to school. I was 15 and alone, and I needed a refuge.
That’s when I found hip-hop.
In the spring of 2006, T.I.’s “What You Know” invaded the airwaves. I had liked rap before this, but Tip’s cool demeanor and DJ Toomp’s ear-candy production had me in love with it. For the next few years, hip-hop became my refuge. I would go home after a tough day at school and jam out to my man T.I. His music was mostly about being the king of the south, but when I listened to it, I felt strong enough to be king of the world.
Eventually, high school got better for me. I joined the football team my senior year and had a blast. By the time I had graduated, I was at the very least friendly with pretty much everyone I knew in my class. I was able to hold my head high as I accepted my diploma.
This isn’t a sob story. Rather, it is a testament to how positively powerful hip-hop can be. T.I., along with many other hip-hop artists, got me through some hard times. Now a junior in college, my love for hip-hop has brought me to this site, where I write on a consistent basis. I’m majoring in journalism and have a good head start, and it is safe to say hip-hop is one of the reasons I made it through tough times in high school to be where I am now. So no, I’m not blaming hip-hop. I’m thanking hip-hop.