I want to lend these eyes and with them tell you that I imagine a founding moment of the entire rap genre as we know it along with its drifts. My words are far from being a hard truth and could be uncomfortable or read as an excess of mellow. For my part I can only say that if they are perceived that way it is for their brusque honesty.
The genesis of which I speak to you arises from a rhizome, an unnatural wedding to say of Deleuze and Guattari, in the gesture where a young man (suppose 12 to 16 years old) wants to express his pain, joy or dreams. He is in his room trying to exile himself from the rest, in that process of self-discovery that starts from setting a limit and "shutting himself in" to listen to the popular music of his historical moment. For reasons of locating this moment that will become eternal, we turn to the decoration, materials, style and content of a room in the apartment of a building in New York in the late 70s, by far the early 80s. This gesture could have occurred on several occasions in a number of subjects indeterminately without becoming the ground zero of a cultural turn. As a kind of "pulse" or as when trying to start a flooded engine.
Once the spatial and temporal coordinates are located, the necessary components for the "explosion" must be added. The first of them in a tape player (cassettes) like any of those that were in all the homes of that time and that last since they were born before the planned obsolescence. At a certain point, the song is interrupted, which, at the volume level in which it was located and which allows the feeling of isolation from all exterior to the walls where it is located, causes a shock of silence that comes without warning. The young man does something that he has learned from the elders and that turns out to be practical to stop that silence that bothers him; He takes a ballpoint pen (possibly Bic brand) and uses it to adjust the reel of tape and continue listening to the tune. The young man realizes that he keeps the rhythm in his head and has even been slightly opening his lips imitating a battery. Now he has the rhythm in his body and the vibration is felt by his mouth and hands. Although it is not the first time, this time, the adrenaline "tastes" different. It returns the playback of the track and conflicts with what was playing in your head. Looking for an explanation, he observes the pen in his right hand and an endless number of objects that he recognizes pass quickly through the ocular memory; an arrow, a spear, a bullet, a knife, a stake, a scalpel, a rocket, a magic wand, a drill, a knife ... It is the first time that you can see that powerful artifact with an interest that produces shaking chills. That piece of plastic with a cardiac ink system, which until a few seconds ago was associated with the high school he attends and that has used for years in countless similar pieces, suddenly seems strange, as if it were something else without leaving of being all those who have just hallucinated as a result of the puff of truck smoke that entered through his window, of the volume that has loosened the screws as his grandfather says or the smell of dirty socks that have accumulated in the corner as if from living organism is involved.
On impulse, he takes a sheet of paper and expresses, through rhymes, how much he would like to live elsewhere, to be someone different, in short, to be someone else. He does it in rhymes because he writes a song, he knows it. But for the moment, he does not know that without the tape that was locked, he would not have the need to "take out" those letters because he would never have taken the pen. Without the pen the young man does not write. Without writing and a "bumpy" sound booming in his head, we would never have had a musical genre that has become popular in a relatively short time to the corners of South Africa, the Norwegian forests, the gyms in Thailand or a minibus in the city of Querétaro , Mexico. In that eternal moment the motor of a cultural turn started. And the mother, the brothers or any other inhabitant of the city, realized. It is an act as intimate as it is chilling for those who have the luxury of causing it on themselves.
These are the particles that collided to cause the big explosion, the same ones that exist thanks to the fact that the tape manufacturers did not invent an object in time to adjust the reel. And on the other hand, the designers of the pens gave it a hexagonal shape as an ergonomic matter, improving grip and not because they thought it would work for ribbons. It is true that many things have to happen for such an act to occur, there must be both a taste and a dissatisfaction with music, for example. Taking a pen and literally sticking it in the physical body that contains the music (the cassette), was an act imitated by its practicality, there is no doubt. But it might as well have been a crime.
Melodic purists often say that hip hop "killed" music. Perhaps it was true and only his sensitive ears noticed it, so that the scraping of the pen on the paper at a speed that does not reach that of ideas, seems strange to them. But it makes the story creators (writers) salivate.
The iconic picture of a young man sitting in his dimly lit room, in a park, or in an alley away from the terrors of his home, writing with the hoodie of the sweatshirt that helps him think and does the work of a border with the exterior, could only be given by the magical act of matching two different objects, so strange to each other of origin and purpose, that perhaps the most sensible answer when asking why, is; I don't know, it just happened. As if somewhere, while listening to a pen run on paper in a rush that frightens everyone equally, the laws of the creation and conservation of ideas are dictated. Same that they should not be governed by the principles of matter, but precede them.
Thank you for reading!