“Me and you. Yo momma, and you cuz’n too. Rollin’ down the strip on vogues. Comin’ up slammin’ Cadillac doe’s… We movin’ on up in the world like Elevators.” OUTKAST, “Elevators Me and You”, ATLiens (1996)
RIGHTEOUSNESS. For those of you seasoned enough to remember “Elevators (Me and You)”, the debut single from OUTKAST’s sophomore album ATLiens I’d like to ask you this morning to think about where you were or what you were doing the first time you heard the song’s intro bassdrop. It sounded something like “Boom boom click boooom…” then Andre came in over a live bass chord with “One for the money/Yes suh/Two for the show/A coupla years ago/on Headland and DeLowe/ was the start of something good/ where me and my jigga rode the MARTA through the hood. Just tryna find that hook-up.” It was the summer of 1996, I’d just graduated from college, and was headed to Los Angeles for a new beginning. Hearing Andre and Big Boi describe the ups and downs of their success provided a bit of comfort for the ups and downs I’d been experiencing as a young 22-year old carving out her place in the world. OUTKAST was growing into young men who blended more southern-style political commentary into their street imagery. And I remember how die hard OUTKAST fans hated that!
I didn’t. I welcomed their harmony and extra-terrestrial other-worldliness.
Now more than ever, “Elevators (Me and You)” speaks volumes. It represents CHANGE. It imagines GROWTH. This Sunday the graduating seniors from Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark-Atlanta University who took my HipHop2020 studies class will walk across the stage to get their undergraduate degrees. ELEVATORS!! Baring witness to their success is an opportunity that I don’t take lightly. These are young leaders who fought against all odds to get to college, go to college, and graduate from college. ELEVATORS!! Last Sunday, my assistant Zaneta who took the hip-hop studies course as a senior at Spelman two years ago got her Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. ELEVATORS!! Joshua Moore, my first HipHop2020 mentee when I came to Morehouse in 2008 will start law school at the University of Southern California this Fall. ELEVATORS!! And the mere fact that a rapper/MC gets a chance to influence art, culture, and politics at the highest level of our government is an indication that Common and the voice of the people he represent are ALL MOVING ON UP IN THE WORLD LIKE ELEVATORS. Despite the back-and-forth reporting about the controversy surrounding his performance, COMMON STILL ROCKED THE (WHITE) HOUSE. ELEVATORS!! And I just found out that I will spend the Fall 2011 semester as the HipHop Archive Fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at HARVARD UNIVERSITY! ELEVATORS!! Like Big Boi says, “We made it with them big boys in this industry and…moving on up in the world like elevators”, and we are doing it with a social perspective informed by the lessons of hip-hop culture.
The Daily Dose of Realness: We are not CNN. We are THE DDR. Our mission at THE DDR is to inform the people and inspire the people to keep it real at the intersection where worlds collide. This is our motto. Our information goes out once a day. Monday through Friday. 7AM. We don’t aim to keep you up-to-date on the minute-to-minute play-by-play of the news throughout the day, but to take the news that we get, filter it through the hip-hop state of mind, and give you something real and authentic to elevate your mind. So click below to let us know your “Elevators” story. Have a good weekend.
(..boom ba doomp… boomp boomp boomp boomp ba doomp… Me and you. Yo momma and you cuz’n too .) Happy Birthday to Stevie Wonder. He turns 61 today!