Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Hip Hop Head vs. The Backpacker

The Hip Hop Head vs. The Backpacker

What's good y'all? I've been a hip hop fan since 84 (The Breakdancing era), but ever since '88, I've been a hip hop fiend. In '90, I begun purchasing every album that caught my attention that would ultimately become classic gems.

Hip hop inspired me as a person, an artist, a poet, a rhymer, a storyteller.... whatever.... It was a huge inspiration. But y'all get the drift... right?

I can recall many great moments & great songs in hip hop history that got me respected by other hip hop fans in school & then later on the net.... so much I got crowned the Hip Hop Guru. LOL. Becuz I not only turned young heads on to old classics, but I turned old heads back on to underground gems.

Although I hate the state of hip hop today on the radio, I do respect some of these cats becuz it would be DEAD... if we stayed stuck in the past. I blame my disapproval on the fact that it's showing no growth. B/c I grew up to the culture, I would like to see it grow with me, instead of feeling I have to grow out of it.

Hip hop is the only music where this is the case. But what I speak is out of love not hate. Love/Hate..... that is the key difference btw a true hip hop head & a backpacker... which brings me to why the title.

Many years ago, during the Boot Camp Clik/ De La Soul "Stakes Is High" era... I would've declared myself a Backpacker, but that was before I realize what a Backpacker really is. I only claimed it, b/c it sounded cool & I was feeling more of the rappers considered as real by "backpackers." But as time would tell, especially in this day & age, I realize I never was..... & I'm glad I wasn't & that's purely based on my opinion.... b/c I know everyone has their own interpretation (just like snitching).

So what's the difference btw the hip hop head & a backpacker?


HHH's are more opened to other music styles & more than likely listen to their favorite rapper if he decided to go another direction with his music. Even if they don't like it, they might be apprehensive to buy another CD from them, but they're gonna give them the benefit of the doubt.

a BP would automatically dismiss it based on the first track & vow never to buy another CD from them again.


When the fav. rapper of an HHH finally gets exposure & sells records, he/she's happy for them & proud to state they've been fans from day one.

When the fav. rapper of a BP finally gets exposure & sell records, they turn on them calling them a sellout & only focus on the negative things they didn't like about the album.


HHH might not like a lot of rap music on the radio, but they will acknowledge the few or some radio joints they like or any pop rapper they'd never buy, but they like the single.

BP's hate everything & everyone that plays on the radio & gonna constantly try name of rappers no one has ever heard of as being tighter.


HHH embrace hip hop as a whole regardless of region or style. They might prefer one over another, but they won't dismiss the other totally.

BP's only want to hear 1 type of hip hop... usually conscious rap... & hate on anything that's not thought provoking or lyrical to the point that even HHH's have to listen to it 3 times to get the metaphor.


HHH are more prone to hate specific music on the radio.

BP are more prone to hate rappers on the radio... PERIOD. 50 Cent can drop the illest verse, they'll still hate him, b/c he's 50 Cent. They will not give any credit to any rapper that doesn't fit their credentials of what hip hop is.


Although HHH & BP's might share the same love for hip hop... but HHH is more likely to critique a certain rapper & point out the good & bad things about them or their music, based on their taste without being hateful.

BP's are more territorial & despise with a passion anyone that doesn't please them as a brand.


HHH are usually hip hop fans that grew up in the culture & sometimes outside of it but developed an appreciation for the root of the art, yet can still respect the newbies, while embracing the origin.

BP are usually posers (usually from the burbs, but can also exist in rural & urban communities as well.) who jumped on the bandwagon after being exposed to hip hop by either an HHH or another BP. They come across as overly self-righteous & only gravitate toward conscious underground rappers who are just as self righteous & overly negative about everything & everyone. They're like the Republicans of hip hop. LOL


HHH can hate a radio rap joint, yet still dance to it while in the club.

A BP can't shut the hell up about how much they hate a radio rap joint when it comes on in the club.


HHH either love, so-so like or hate a rapper's music based on the sound, the rhymes, & everything about the music ... collectively.....

A BP either love or hate! Point Blank! To them, all underground artists are nice, regardless of how wack they are, or how gimmicky, off-delivery, amateurish or preachy they might try to come off. And all commercial rappers suck & are to blame for hip hop's demise regardless of how they sound. To them, The Carter 3 is wack... although they've never heard it. And Asher Roth is god, although he sounds like Eminem.


HHH = Hip Hop + Love + Respect + Inspired

There you have it. LOL


Muhammad the Harlem Sk8rboi said...

You gave a deep analysis of both Hip Hop fan groups. I guess that I'm a little of both, but I would put myself more in the camp of "Hip Hop Heads." I do love underground Hip Hop like Dead Prez, Papoose, and a host of other, but I love Jay-Z, Nas, DMX, etc. IDK if many backpackers would approve of the Wu Tang clan right now, but I definitely know that the so-called backpackers despised them in the 90s while Hip Hop Heads adored them. On average backpackers hate any rap music or artist that gets pop recognition, and none of them seem to understand that skills are skills. They can say that Jay-Z have become pop, but I can't think of 5 dudes in the underground circuit who could destroy him in a battle. Just b/c an artist is underground doesn't make him nice & the same goes for mainstream rap. I love Gangstarr to death, but I do realize that Guru couldn't touch Nas if he snuffed him. lol I can't stand 50 Cent, but it's from a personal standpoint. He has some skills, and I do rock to some of his music when I go clubbing, but I can't stand his personality. Backpackers need to grow up, and usually when I see a backpacker they are younger than I. So there you have it

Phellah G said...

What up Muhammad. I have backpacker tendencies, but I do acknowledge good music even if it's from an artist I don't particularly like.

I feel you on the 50 thing, b/c honestly, I'm not too fond of him as a person either just the way he stir up beef for recognition instead of putting out good music. When I stated that, it was in reference to those that will never acknowledge him in a positive manner.. as far as musically... no matter how much of an asshole he is. B/c honestly, I never particular liked LL's character back in the days, b/c he came across with having an ego, but I liked his music (well.. his earlier music).

I've heard a great number of underground rappers that I thought totally sucked. But I believed the hype I was hearing from some that swore up & down about how nice they were. And I agree. If a rapper sucks, he sucks... UG or mainstream. I like Skyzoo, but he can't touch Ludacris.

Most of the backpackers now I see as posers fronting like hip hop heads. When HHH embraces all forms, whether they prefer one over the other. A HHH can like Coke & Pepsi, but may prefer Coke. While a BP is strictly Coke & lash anything with the Pepsi name. lol

Andrea said...

I am SO a HHH. This was so funny. I love me some cerebral hip hop but I'm also a lady, I like to DANCE. I hate going to hip/hop shows where its just a huge backpacking sausage fest of statues or people waving their arms!

I've been in love with hip-hop for so long I've seen it come around... used to get teased by my punk rock friends, then skaters started liking it... now it's main stream. I still love it, but I love many aspects and I can appreciate a variety of music like always.

Thanks P.G.

and the colors are so sparkly in this blog lol. lovely.

Phellah G said...

Hey Andrea.

I used to tell folks in a heartbeat, I may never buy a Franchise Boy CD, but I wasn't too proud to "Lean Wit It Rock WIt It." lol.

I've never really been to an underground rap show venue, although I've been invited to a few. But most of the artist I listen to, their music is definitely not meant for partying.

I remember back in 90, it used to piss me of how white kids were hating on rap music & one guy actually called in jungle music. And what made it worst, when they would acknowledge liking "some" rappers, they'd acknowledge .... Vanilla Ice. Typical.. huh? Too bad they didn't know he was jacking every rapper at that time. Now it's big, & everybody's down while jacking urban slang.

LOL @ the colors. I was trying to figure out a way to separate the comparisons from the rest of the blog & decided to do that.

Princess D said...

So basically a HHH loves the music and a BP is just into being ANTI everything main stream right?

I think you are a HHH

Princess D said...

Still kicking rocks and mumbling

"stupid blogspot"

Phellah G said...

Hey D. I knew I'd break you in eventually. (My mission is complete... LOL) But that's basically it. BP's are not as open minded when it comes to hip hop music.

Jay_fever said...

I guess I tight rope the line between being a hip hop head because there hvae been times in my life where I have personified damn near all of these. Right now I guess I lean more toward being a hip hop head.

Phellah G said...

What up Jay? You're definitely a hip hop head purely based on your music selection. You have great taste & it's surely based on the music & not the artist. When I heard Lil' Kim's "Suck My ..." on you're myspace site, I felt like... damn, I thought I was the only person that actually loved that joint. The BP would be to busy focused on her plastic surgeries & sexual content to acknowledge anything musically from her.

Nomad said...

What's up Phellah. I'm a HHH and a reformed Back-Packer. Listening to Jay and Biggie took me out of that era. I watched them grow as artist from the Lyricist Lounge and showcases at the Castle in the Bronx. As the grew and became popular artist I grew in my musical taste as well. Good Post

Phellah G said...

Thanks Nomad.

Funny thing, I started out fan of rap on the radio, until the Golden Era. Even when I called myself a Backpacker back then, I really wasn't. Cuz even though I embraced the more lyrical cats, I still was a loyal fan of the LL's, Heavy D's, Salt-n-Pepa's & so on.

I hated I didn't know about the Lyricist Lounge until their first compilation CD's, that's still one of my favorite hip hop compilation album of all times that turned me on to Talib Kweli, Rah Digga, Wordsworth & many others.

Prof Big said...

I know I am a HHH. I have a friend who is a BP, and I realized what you were saying when a few years ago The Roots finally started selling albums. Around the time they did the live album with Jay Z.

Now all thru college we always said "why can't a group like the Roots sell a million?" When they finally did he hated them. Same thing when Redman finally went platinum in the early part of this decade.

I do not care if the whole world likes you or only I know about you, if you sound good to me I am going to support you.

Great blog bro.

Phellah G said...

What up Prof Big?

I knew someone like that too that did the same thing. I could debate with them about rappers I don't like, but they have a straight aneurism talking about them. I mean straight hate with a passion. LOL. I used to think to myself, "damn it's just music, it ain't that serious." LMAO.

I loved it when The Roots performed with Jigga live, Even though I wasn't too crazy about the Phrenology album that proceeded. It did grow on me later, & I still support their music.

I noticed how some changed up on Common when he started selling records. True I didn't feel Electric Circus like a lot of others. But I was still glad to see him as a true artist get props & definitely embraced the follow up albums (Be & Finding Forever) like I did his earlier works. While BP's only wanted to hear the "broke" Common Sense of the 90's.

futureheart said...

It seems like you're labeling people and deciding what they like and don't like. People who prefer underground hip hop don't necessarily dis all mainstream shit nor do they necessarily disregard other types of music. stop hating and stop putting words into other people's mouths. you're being just as elitist as the people you're trying to hate on.

futureheart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phellah G said...

@ futureheart. First of all, it's not hate that's spewing, it's my opinion based on a music I love. If the shoe fits, it is what it is. Nobody's generalizing anyone, but this is based on shit I've noticed from hip hop fans in hip hop sites. If you're not like that, cool. Its not about you. Even if you are... still cool, cuz what you eat don't make me shit. But don't act as if fans like that don't exist that trash anything that's mainstream or turn on an underground rapper once they sell. But I'm "hating" for acknowledging that? wow. lol.

If I'm generalizing, you're just as guilty with your statement, if not more. B/c you don't know all ppl to make that assumption that no underground hip hop fans diss or disregard pop & other music.