Is The Temple Of Hip Hop A True Religion?
Music fans recently converged on Venice, CA to celebrate Hip-Hop Appreciation Week (which takes place the third week of May each year). Organized by rap pioneer KRS-One, the event focuses on the “principles of peace, love, unity and safely having fun.”
KRS, founder of the Temple of Hip Hop [Ministry, Archive, School and Society], created the movement in 1996 as a way to teach hip-hop beyond entertainment. He also wrote “The Gospel of Hip-Hop,” a 600-page book that focuses on the spirituality of the culture.
According to the TempleofHipHop.org, during this week of appreciation, attendees are to:
• Give the next person the right of way. Allow others to pass you.
• Donate your skill to someone who cannot afford it.
• Give the loose change of your purchases to the person behind you in line.
• Be quick to compliment and slow to criticize. Perform forgiveness.
• Give 10 percent of your salary to your child’s teacher, to your teacher, or to a teacher.
• Offer assistance to a neighbor; clean their kitchen, bathroom, etc, baby-sit, tutor, etc.
• Study and teach the culture, arts, history and philosophies of Hip-Hop.
• Talk to young people about the images and performances of today’s mainstream rappers and DJs.
• Acknowledge and celebrate the person or place that introduced you to Hip-Hop.
KRS explained his reasons for shaping the Temple of Hip-Hop in a 2009 interview with AllHipHop.com:
“It [TOH] explores the spirituality of Hip-Hop, the divinity of Hip-Hop. I’m suggesting that in 100 years, this book will be a new religion on the earth… Now you talk about controversy, there’s some Christian ministries if you go online, look up some ministers, they dissing right now. ‘Who the hell does he think he is?’ Well, I think I have the authority to approach God directly, I don’t have to go through any religion [or] train of thought. I can approach God directly myself and so I wrote a book called The Gospel of Hip-Hop to free from all this nonsense garbage right now. I respect the Christianity, the Islam, the Judaism but their time is up.”
Check out a video from one of his book signings in 2009:
On April 6 this year, KRS attended the opening of the National Museum of Hip-Hop as an observer, on behalf of the Temple of Hip Hop. With a very direct and serious tone, the Brooklyn-born emcee later led a boycott against the museum. What was the problem? KRS says icons like Kool Herc, Crazy Legs and Afrika Bambaataa/Zulu Nation should be the people shaping the museum, not a bunch of random people. The respected MC then expressed that the pioneers refuse to be exploited, as well as disrespected.
In the video below, KRS states, “Most of the people who have been behind the Hip-Hop Museum idea seem to always create boards and groups, without addressing the hip hop pioneers themselves.”
Refusing to accept a museum centered on the culture without the input of its originators and creators is something the man born Lawrence Parker will not stand. Check out the video: