President's Day: Who Belongs On Hip-Hop's Own Mount Rushmore?
Today, February 15, marks the state and federal holiday known as President’s Day. It is a time to set aside petty differences between red and blue to honor our country’s leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
With no mail service, closed stores and federal courts all unopened to the general public, this leaves us with some free time to posit the question that is sure to rile up hip-hop fans around the country: Who would make our hip-hop Mount Rushmore?
This will always be a great debate since this is a conversation that impacts the game and makes all sort of feelings come out. With Mount Rushmore’s already established in basketball, baseball and even the blogging/journalism world, we admit that it is quite impossible to just fit four individuals into these hallowed spots, but that’s not going to stop us from trying.
So, representing the best and brightest leaders of the hip-hop generation, these are our choices of who belongs on the hip-hop Mount Rushmore.
The George Washington of Hip-Hop Culture
Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc, is known as the “Father of Hip-Hop,” thanks to his block parties in the South Bronx, New York City. Emphasizing the “break,” which focuses on the stop-time portion of a song, Herc is the origin where we saw the DJ, breakdancer and MCs stem from. Without him and those parties at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, we wouldn’t have this global force known as hip-hop and rap culture that we’re enjoying to this day.
The Abraham Lincoln of Hip-Hop Culture
Responsible with ushering in rap into boardrooms across America, Russell Simmons, better known as Uncle Rush, created Def Jam to help break down the barriers that dissed hip-hop. A serial entrepreneur and business magnate, Simmons blew the doors off its hinges and enabled rap stars to build their own music labels, create their own clothing lines and get involved in the upper echelons of the entertainment business.
The Theodore Roosevelt of The Bars
A legend in the booth and on the streets, the MC born Lana Moorer has proven that she’s not only a fierce lyricist on the M-I-C, but also one of the true greats representing hip-hop culture. The Brooklyn bars-brutalizer stood out amongst the perceived “men’s club” Golden Era of hip-hop with strong musical prowess and precision. With 30 years in the business, MC Lyte is still light as a rock, yet she’s taken her skills and branched off into leadership roles, philanthrophy, voice acting and public speaking. From MC Lyte came a direct line of talented rhymesayers such as Queen Latifah, Bahamadia, The Lady of Rage and Rapsody.
The Thomas Jefferson of the True School
A true pioneer in filmmaking, visual artistry and hip-hop, Fred Brathwaite, more popularly known as Fab 5 Freddy, led the charge of bringing the culture out of the ghettoes of the South Bronx to the downtown New York creative scene. As a regular guest on Glenn O’Brien‘s TV Party, Fab 5 Freddy was the bridge between the underground forces from Debbie Harry and Andy Warhol to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Lee Quiñones. Immortalized in numerous ways, Freddy was the direct connection between those in rap to those in graffiti to those in entertainment, which cemented him amongst the greats when he became the first host of the first hip-hop music video show, Yo! MTV Raps.
Who would you add to Hip-Hop’s Mount Rushmore? Speak on it here or tell us your thoughts on Twitter!