The Gang Is All Here
Keepin' it real. This mantra has been the shibboleth of the Hip Hop community since gangster rap supplanted the political rap movement of the early 1990s. To be clear, the notion of keepin' it real extends beyond the soul and pre-soul values of honesty and artistic integrity, which have been part and parcel of African American music since its inception. After all, if "keepin' it real" were merely about the existence of a one-to-one relationship between lyrical content and lived experience, we would undoubtedly consider MC Hammer or Will Smith to be among the realest MCs on the planet. Rather, to be truly "real" in the Hip Hop context requires a particular lived response to one's music, which is also crosschecked against a narrow rubric of ghetto experience. It is this construction of realness that has contributed to hip-hop's greatest and most tragic moments. Philly's STATE PROPERTY keeps it real with their latest CD, "The Gang is All Here."