NewsHakeem Jeffries Pens Hip-Hop 50 Essay For African Voices

Hakeem Jeffries Pens Hip-Hop 50 Essay For African Voices

The Source captured Jefferies full open letter, which kicked off with the iconic opening of The Notorious B.I.G.’s hip-hop classic “Juicy.”

“It was all a dream. I used to read Word Up! magazine. Salt’n’Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine. Hangin’ pictures on my wall. Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl,” he wrote.

“It was through these venues that we were first exposed to the latest artists, including the rise of LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B and Rakim, KRS-One, MC Lyte, NWA and EPMD,” Jeffries shared. “After hearing new records, we couldn’t wait to talk about the compelling music we were just exposed to during homeroom or in the cafeteria the next day.”

The politician went on to reveal that his early career dreams included becoming a hip-hop superstar under his monikor at the time “Kid Fresh” or playing for the New York Knicks.

“Neither of these worked out,” he admitted. “Nevertheless, I still fondly remember my highest profile rap battle against a classmate named Sam, right in front of Midwood High School after the last bell. While memories are hazy, one of my boys seems to recall that I won the showdown on points.”

Jeffries continued. “Music is a soundtrack for our lives, none more compelling for me than Hip Hop. To this day, it allows me to mark and reflect upon different parts of my life based on the records that were banging at the time.”

He went on to share some of the notable moments in hip-hop that carried the former New York State Assemblyman through his school years.

“MC Run could do no wrong upon hearing Sucker MCs as a pre-teen. The BDP conflict with MC Chan captivated us in High School. When A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” featuring Busta Rhymes was played during a Kappa party at College In The Woods up at Binghamton, the crowd went wild,” he wrote. “And my eventual graduate school roommate while I was at Georgetown, Adrian Fenty, introduced me to Dr. Dre’s classic album “The Chronic.”

He credited rap legends like Dre, Snoop, Ice Cube, Tupac, Wu-Tang Clan, Fugees, Nas, Biggie, Lil Kim, Mobb Deep, Jay-Z, DMX, Outkast, and Ludacris for helping to change the landscape of the art form forever. Even while in law school, Jeffries stayed in tune with conversations around hip-hop that filled the room.

“When the Notorious B.I.G. dropped “Who Shot Ya” during my first year of law school, it lit up the parties hosted by aspiring Black lawyers at NYU and Columbia,” he shared.

The essay continueed with nods to his sons who keep Jeffries updated on the current trends in hip-hop and the genre’s continued evolution. He’s taken his love for rap music to the House floor despite the opposition he faced.

“So I asked the team to check the congressional record and validate my suspicion that other prominent artists like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen had been acknowledged on the House Floor by Members of Congress in the past. About an hour later, a staff member confirmed that all three had received multiple congressional tributes. I responded: “Great. Christopher Wallace is about to get one as well.’”

The Constitution’s promise to uphold the hopes and dreams of the American people has been what Jeffries has kept in mind when finding ways to incorporate hip-hop into his political work.

“That has meant authentically bringing to Washington all that Hip Hop music has represented for the communities I am privileged to serve,” he concluded.

“During this challenging time in America, House Democrats will continue to fight For the People. And I will continue to do my best to always represent for the culture.

Source: Black Enterprise

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