Cultural Influence

It feels like I have always written. I can’t remember when I started but I can remember when I started to take it seriously. I used to write poems. I had written quite a few before I discovered rap music. That is when everything changed.

I learned all about hip hop culture and became fully immersed in it. I started to write my own rap songs. I started free styling and beat boxing. I finally found a way to express myself.

A lot of people I have met do not understand hip hop culture. I have had to fight against negative stereotypes and images all my life. Hip hop is a culture with its own rules. The problem is that these rules are not written down anywhere. I have learned these rules through my love and immersion in this culture. I like how legendary rapper Krs-One put it. He said, “You are not doing hip hop. You are hip hop.” With that said, I can firmly and unequivocally say that I am hip hop. I am proud to say it.

One of the facets of hip hop culture that has become a cliché is to “Keep it real.” Simply stated “Keep it real” means that the things you write and speak when on the microphone should be an accurate reflection of who you are. I have always kept it real in my music. I wrote about my way of life, about things that affected me, and about things I dreamed.

I have noticed my hip hop roots in my fiction writing. I seem to be writing my stories the same way I write my songs. Some of my songs are intensely personal and drawn from my own life. My fictional writing seems to be following the same direction.

My question and I hope I get some responses from you here, is, Is this normal? Do writers put themselves and experiences into their writing? Or am I personally too influenced by hip hop culture and the “keep it real” mantra?

Personally, I don’t see this as a problem at all. I am just curious to see if other writers write the same way as I do. I know that my writing is fiction. It is coloured by real life but what work of fiction isn’t in some way?