by Sabrina Holder
I was never able to enjoy the beauty of Hip-Hop as a kid. I was an Air Force brat who lived overseas for the first 15 years of my life. Couple that with being raised in a Brazilian household where there was no Hip-Hop to be found. The only American artists I was exposed to were Michael Jackson, Prince, Destiny’s Child, Whitney Houston and Will Smith-dear God, please don't judge me for having the Willennium album in my collection. And while I would occasionally hear Eminem and 50 Cent while living in Thailand, it was an iconic group that really woke up my love for Hip-Hop.
I was getting ready to start my first day of high school in Bangkok as MTV blasted in the background playing Hip-Hop 90’s hits. I remember the second I heard the introduction and had to run to see who it was: A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation.” Their unique style made me fall in love automatically, with their gritty monochrome music video, unique sense of fashion (all I saw were school uniforms -- give me a break), Q-Tip’s unmistakable voice, and the song’s sampling of Ronnie Foster’s “Mystic Brew.” Hip-Hop blended with Jazz was an eargasm for me. I had to find more like it.
And I did.
Suddenly a genre that was previously nonexistent to me became a part of every stage of my life, my humanity and my growth.
When I experienced my first encounter with depression, lyrics from Kanye West, Nas, Fabolous, Missy Elliott, Common, Notorious B.I.G., Ice Cube affirmed what I was feeling. When I moved to Virginia I dug into Kendrick Lamar's Section.80 and Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, which featured the jazz-hop instrumentals I fell in love with. When I met my husband we connected through Hip-Hop. When we got our dog we named him after rapper Tabi Bonney. And my career has allowed me to work with Hip-hop greats, including The LOX, Bad Boy Entertainment, Kid Capri, Camp Lo, and more.
My husband always says “Hip-hop saved my life and gave me my wife,” but I can't figure out a catchy phrase to explain what it did for me. It will always have a place in my heart and be important in my growing family. Years later I am no longer the new kid.