On August 11, 1973, hip-hop was born at a party thrown by DJ Kool Herc at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. Forty-five years later, hip-hop is the most ubiquitous cultural entity in America — everyone’s a rapper, everyone wants to be part of The Culture.
Although hip-hop has ballooned into a massive, sometimes misused and often innovated upon, entity, we’re still able to trace the genre’s lineage with relative ease.
Hip-hop may be young, but the genre’s influence exists outside of Western time. Listening to these new school artists wax poetic about songs that changed their lives, despite dropping before they were born, is a reminder that hip-hop is bigger than what any one person could have imagined. As Chicago rapper tobi lou points out: “Hip-hop is anything you want it to be. That’s the beauty of hip-hop: you can make it anything you want it to be, and it’s not on some corny shit.”
Speaking to Tidal on the importance and impact of his favorite classic rap song, Mr Eazi picked Ja Rule and Ashanti’s ‘Always On Time’ and gave details of how he discovered the genre.
What’s your favorite classic hip-hop track?
I did not grow up listening to hip-hop per se, the first-ever rap song that hit me was Ja Rule featuring Ashanti: ‘Always On Time.’
When did you first hear it?
I cannot exactly recall the first time, but I think it was on local TV back home in Nigeria.
How did it influence your style?
I am not a rapper, but musically it just made me appreciate rap music and would help me in the future on music arrangement, understanding the power of the hook.
What does the song mean to you now?
It is vibes.
Which one of your songs do you hope becomes a classic?