Summary: The CMJ “State of Hip-Hop Address” Panel

I wish I was there for this. Listening to Krs-One and Immortal Technique, two of the most sincere and thoughtful mcs I can think of, comment on the idea of hipsters might have been interesting. Although whoever wrote this summary was obviously very disappointed. But even if I were disappointed, I’d be careful suggesting that these two artists are homophobes. Could it be that someone in the audience who considers him/herself a hipster was offended? Link

Summary: The CMJ “State of Hip-Hop Address” Panel.

From left to right, you see here Chuck Creekmur (, DJ Chela, KRS-One, our own Tommy Abu (, Immortal Technique, and Alaska (Hangar 18).

Things got off to a slow start – both KRS and Tech were running late. This didn’t really help things since the panel was only scheduled for an hour. The topic of the discussion was “Is hipster the new hip-hop?” An interesting topic to be sure: what impact does hipsters’ current love affair with hip-hop have on hip-hop culture?

Unfortunately, despite the efforts of some of the panelists, the ensuing discussion was tangential at best. KRS and Tech dominated the conversation without touching on the topic at hand. When the topic of hipsters was finally posed, all KRS One & Immortal Technique could muster were snickering comments about Kanye West wearing tight red jeans and guys in tight-fitting shirts. The veiled homophobia was less than compelling.

So what was accomplished? Not much other than hackneyed calls for the hip-hop community to “unite and organize” and a continuation of an “us vs. them” mentality. Granted, panels of any sort can easily digress into meaningless blather, but given the caliber of the panelists, we would have hoped for more.

Perhaps the reason that so-called “hipsters” are increasingly drawn to the genre is because of modern hip-hop’s breadth; be it political, gangster, abstract, pop, street, or grimey, the genre has something that can appeal to everyone. And that’s a good thing.