Last night, I was laying in my bed thinking of a way to get some people to open up about their views and experiences. What better way then to ask them how hip hop has changed their life?

Such a broad question. I know. But I asked it like that purposely to see the different responses I’d get.

My DMs instantly flooded with amazing paragraphs. Deep, reflective, and personal. Here are the 10… Or 17… (Lol) responses that spoke volumes:

 

“Hip hop changing my life is an understatement. Hip hop is there for us whether it’s good or bad times. It’s not about being a thug or backpack/ “weirdo” rapper. Hip hop is the truth. Pure joy and happiness. Love of my life.”

Submitted via Twitter by @LeosOvaErrthang

 

“Hip hop has changed my life in so many ways. It literally made me feel invincible. I see people like me from where I’m from become something. I’m from Detroit, so is Big Sean, Big Sean performed at the White House- that’s a come up. I get to see my culture, and my people liberated through music. It’s people who could have fallen victim to the hood, but they didn’t. Now they’re helping other people. As a black woman, I get hype seeing cold female MCs. It makes me feel like we can conquer and battle racism & sexism. We have a voice. It’s just empowering. If hip hop didn’t exist, then I wouldn’t even have anything to major in at College, because I’m going to school to own my own label. Music not only changed my life, it molded my life. It is my life.”

Sumbitted via Twitter by @IvanaTheRuler

 

“Hip-Hop made me confident in myself, and proud to be who I am. As someone who grew up in a majority white suburb, I used to struggle with what I felt a “black man” should be, and how I felt like society wanted me to be. I remember hearing 2Pac for the first time, and feeling all the raw emotion, and experiencing the different facets of his personality. It made me feel like no matter if one day I felt overly aggressive, or extremely passive another. I was still me – a black man. Hip-Hop made me, me.”

Sumbitted via Twitter by @DanielNoelD

 

 

“Hip hop is one of the greatest art forms. The lyrics and instrumentation combined together can change your mood and spirit. I am a artist and music has always helped me with my creative process. As a child Outkast used to inspire me to draw and paint. Everything from the words, snares, the drums, etc. helped me get my mind right if I was going through something. As an adult, I am now a graphic designer and music is still a driving force in creative. Big Krit, Kendrick Lamar, Mick Jenkins, and so on take me to a place with their art form.”

Submitted via Twitter by @Big_Aristotle_

 

“Hip hop has inspired me to be the best person I can be. Most rappers/artists come from a poverty stricken background, that have an inevitable path to be another drug dealer or gang member. They are raised in a endless cycle of being stuck in a ghetto. An instead of following the norm of their peers or submitting to peer pressure, they use their situation and surroundings to turn it into poetry. Their music is a reflection of their society, and they inspire others (in their past situations) that they, too, can make it out of the cycle.”

Submitted via Twitter by @Dominick_Gonzo

 

“Hip hop gave me a voice and an identity. I was always the weird smart kid, and growing up in Southside Jamaica Queens, I didn’t fit in. The only reason I got a pass was because my older brother knew all the thugs, and I happened to play basketball. I felt like I needed to get it to fit in, so I started gravitating towards the lifestyle that is oh-so-popular in inner city neighborhoods. However, hearing Kanye West and the College Dropout made me realize: you didn’t have to be a thug, or anything other than yourself. He rapped about God, Polo, money and women. ALL the things I loved growing up. Especially God. Hip-hop saved my life, because it taught me I could be myself, and be loved for it.”

Submitted via Twitter by @NobleLyfe_

 

“Sophomore year of high school year, I had a surgery and lost my memory. I didn’t remember people, my family, my boyfriend, no one. I felt like I was at an ultimate low. I was on Suicide watch for a long time. But honestly, J.Coles music helped me overcome that. I honestly believe he is underrated. He probably doesn’t have the biggest impact in modern hip hop, but he has impacted my life. I’m a Sophomore in college now. Things aren’t easy yet, but I always go back to his mixtapes when I need a push.”

Submitted via Twitter by @___dreamvillain

 


“HIP HOP has always been my life! As a kid I loved Lil Wayne. I would sit in front of the radio, and listen to both of the whole Drought 3 discs. I was always a creative writer, so It was fun to try and decipher all the metaphors and similes Wayne would throw out. Hip Hop definitely had a big impact on me. It opened my mind at a young age, and inspired me to think in new ways. It had me understanding problems in the real world before I faced them, and when I would encounter the same complications with relationships, and people – hip hop helped me get through them.”

Submitted via Twitter by @Kay_Rillo

 

“Hip-Hop is everything to me. I don’t know where I would be with out it. It’s always been there for me when no one else is around. Tupac’s lyrics have touched my soul since I was in 1st grade. Songs like “So Many Tears” and “Unconditional Love” make me feel like someone understands my pain, and understands my loneliness. Even modern artists inspire. Especially Joey Bada$$. His 1999 mixtape got me through my first semesters of college. His strong ambitions at a young age fuel my hunger and drive. Hip-Hop is more than music to me; it’s my healer. Chance the Rapper got me off pain pills. After a bad break up, I started poppin prescriptions on the daily. Songs like “Chain Smoker” and “Wonderful Everyday” made me feel like everything would be ok. Hip-Hop is my first love, and best friend. I would be lost without it.”

Submitted via Twitter by @Jordan7Neves

 

“Without hip-hop, where else would I find lyrical content? For example, what other artist would say “We’re bustin funky compositions as smooth as a prism, so check it while I kick it to this funky ass rhythm.”? No other artist has that kind of lyricism or wordplay that Quik had. Not even MJ could say shit like that. Also, which other artist makes instrumentals that soothe the soul better than No I.D., or “chop up the soul Kanye”? Hip-hop/Rap is the ultimate entertainment for me. It’s been there musically since day 1, and it’ll never leave me.”

Submitted via Twitter by @C2TheIsco

 

 

“I don’t know if I was destined to be a hip hop head, or if it was in my blood.. but my dad was signed to (I think it was) ‘Lil Troy.’ The dude who raps “Wanna Be A Baller”. From a young age, all I heard was great hip hop. My dad had a love for it, but I didn’t realize how much you can love music until I heard Nas’ debut album, Illmatic, when I was about 11 or 12. From then on, I fell in love with the lyricism, the meaning, the world play, the production. No little aspect went unnoticed. From the smallest samples to the most recognizable. From the moment I heard Illmatic, I knew my love for hip hop would never be the same. It will grow to be something that I will never let go of.”

Sumbitted via Twitter by @gaugedearsh4wty

 

 

“Hip Hop has had a greater effect on my life than anything else I can think of. It’s taught me more than my parents, it’s made me feel more love than my own family, and it has helped me get through the difficulties I’ve faced (more than any of the incredible woman who’ve ever belonged to me). I’m not undermining the importance of any of these people either, rap music has just played such an essential role in shaping the person I am today, that there’s no way anyome could do the same. It’s bigger than all of us in my eyes. This music has given me the most powerful passion for existence. An outlet to express my deepest thoughts and feelings. A marker to see how I’m progressing/evolving. The ability to make something from the mental plane a tangible reality in the form of creation. An avenue to positively change people’s lives – and show them a new perspective. A fulfillment I don’t know how I would ever possibly achieve without it. A love so strong it’s outlasted and overpowered any feeling I’ve experienced in all my past romantic endeavors. But most of all, Hip Hop has given me a purpose. And that is the absolute most valuable thing you can possess in this world.”

Submitted via Twitter by @doctorxen 

 

 

“Hip Hop is my bestfriend. When my pops was in and out of jail, and my moms was always working to provide.. all I had was my Outkast CDs to keep me motivated. My dad ran the streets & so did my homies I hung around. Hip Hop made me different. Hip hop was the driver that steered my way of thinking. Hip hop was my best friend, and I’m grateful for artists like J.Cole, Kanye, Outkast & manh more that showed us that life gets better.. bad times don’t last forever. I am thankful for these artists, because they have inspired me to do for people, what they did for me. Thank God for HipHop “

Submitted via Twitter by @1vonneastar

 

“Last November, I started to relapse back into the depression I’ve been dealing with since I was 13. While I still needed anti-depressants to help cure that illness, I started to listen to A Tribe Called Quest, Kendrick Lamar, and classic Kanye on a regular basis, which helped with the process. Stuff like Kendrick Lamar’s “i” and the entire “Low End Theory” album just helped calm me down and feel better about myself.”

Submitted via Twitter by @Dakota_Schmidt

 

“I have always loved hip hop. Didn’t know why, i just had a connection to it since birth. I didn’t realize its true potential and meaning until i was 11, and started getting into N.W.A and Wu-Tang Clan. Since then, I have completely immersed myself in the music, soaking up all the knowledge that all these mc’s dropped on wax. I can honestly say that I have learned more from hip hop than any text book I have ever opened. Knowledge that has shaped who I am, and has had an influence on how I see the world. Hip hop has had a huge role in how I see and experience things when it comes to relationships, family, friends, school, work, politics, news, fashion, dance, art in general; other races and ethnicities, and other cultures around the world. Society doesnt give enough credit to what hip hop has done for the world over the past forty-something years. They tend to treat it like a fad that will soon go out of style, or treat it as a genre that has no meaning to it. That its sole purpose is to spawn “turn up” tracks to party to. But that is not what hip hop is. It’s way more than that. Hip hop has shifted american culture to a point of no return and there is no denying that. and thats an amazing thing. While our country is still fighting and there are many walls that divide us, hip hop has broken down a lot of those walls and has gotten us closer to each other. Hip hop is the voice of the people, the real people.”

Submitted via Text by Instagram user @Hecs15

  

Receiving all of these answers really opened my eyes to the different ways that Hip Hop can inspire, impact, and really change people’s lives.

Hip hop isn’t just music. Hip hop isn’t just rappers you hear on the radio. Hip hop is a movement. a culture. a voice. a feeling. a movement. Hip Hop is a way of life.

-Mikaela

 

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