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Tariq Nasheed’s Microphone Check: Digging Up Hip-Hop’s Roots



Microphone Check By Tariq Nasheed
Microphone Check Poster. Image source: Landmark Theatre.

Everything that comes into existence has an origin story, and Hip Hop is no exception. While numerous accounts describe the beginnings of this influential cultural movement and art form, none can encapsulate its essence like those who experienced the labor pains firsthand. This is crucial in understanding the driving force behind Tariq Nasheed’s (King of Flex’s) newest undertaking,” Microphone Check.”

Microphone Check: Revelation on Reel

“Microphone Check,” an upcoming documentary, explores the roots of Hip Hop. This film aims to correct misconceptions and reveal truths that have been obscured. While some may question its necessity, the adage holds that understanding the past is crucial for navigating the future. Regrettably, Hip Hop history has suffered from distortion, misrepresentation, and outright falsification. 

“Microphone Check” endeavors to definitively dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding Hip Hop. Tariq Nasheed has brought together a collective of early pioneers, including Melle Mell, DJ Hollywood, Trixie, Grandmaster Caz, and Sha-Raq, to collaboratively unveil the authentic narrative of Hip Hop’s beginnings. 

The Significance of Microphone Check in Hip Hop History

For one to understand the necessity of such content, it’s crucial to grasp why the truth was concealed. When questioned about this, Nasheed promptly offered his perspective. To summarize, he explained that Hip Hop is an art form and a cultural revolution with a black identity. This posed a challenge to the agenda and preferences of those in power. Consequently, Hip Hop became the target of various forms of opposition and suppression.

What sets this project apart from others? With a plethora of existing information and diverse viewpoints on Hip Hop’s history, why is “Microphone Check” necessary? Nasheed asserts that the truth is paramount. As a dedicated historian, “King Elite” is endeavoring to share the gift of revelation with everyone—artists, fans, supporters, and even detractors. He firmly believes that clarifying the authentic origins of Hip Hop is long overdue. 

What distinguishes “Microphone Check” from other documentaries? Primarily, it is its focus on offering a purely historical viewpoint and highlighting often neglected contributors who played pivotal roles in shaping Hip Hop. The same sentiment holds as Nasheed espoused in a 2014 interview before the release of his third installment of “Hidden Colors,” 

“When we tell our stories, we shouldn’t second-guess them, especially when they’re verifiable. That’s why we wanted to focus on history first.”

The Power of Knowledge in Hip Hop: Insights from Microphone Check’s Development

 Fostering the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge is at the core of this project. This transcends the mere transference of knowledge to the viewership. Even Rasheed, the project’s creator, admits to garnering new insights throughout the project’s development. When questioned about his expanded understanding, he emphasized a deeper appreciation for how community collaboration shaped the trajectory of Hip Hop history. According to Nasheed, aspiring young artists from the Bronx seeking to enact positive change in their neighborhoods found unexpected support from local gangs. These gangs provided protection, underscoring their breadth of involvement in the genesis of this now-global cultural phenomenon. And this was an illuminating revelation. 

Navigating the Debate: Hip Hop’s Evolution

One enduring question that continually arises in Hip Hop discussions is: Is Hip Hop dead? Delving into the current sentiments within Hip Hop, Nasheed was approached to provide his insights on this matter.

As a skilled creator and dedicated scholar, Nasheed firmly asserted that Hip Hop culture remains vibrant and flourishing. He contended that the record industry, with its exploitation of the genre’s more sensational aspects, holds considerable sway over any shifts, changes, or contemporary perceptions of Hip Hop. Consequently, this manipulation results in a distortion that perpetuates an inaccurate narrative.

Yet, the demise of Hip Hop isn’t the sole pervasive debate within Hip Hop circles. The discourse concerning Hip Hop’s divergence from its original roots has also become heated. Some argue that the authentic essence of Hip Hop has been lost over time. Recognizing Nasheed’s esteemed status, it was logical to seek his perspective on this matter. Nasheed willingly engaged with the topic, acknowledging the evolution of the genre and paying tribute to those who have contributed to its creative evolution. However, he underscored the importance of authentic Hip Hop, characterized by the creative expression of rhymes over beats, often influenced by funk. This distinction is crucial in understanding that authentic Hip Hop, as traditionally defined, isn’t universally inclusive. Therefore, while evolved forms may exist presently, they haven’t supplanted the art form in its truest state. Authentic Hip Hop persists.

Nasheed’s Key Role in Project Realization

While the significance and influence of this project are undeniable, it’s essential to acknowledge Nasheed’s pivotal role in its realization. His past endeavors, notably the groundbreaking “Hidden Colors” series, have deeply resonated with the culture. Nasheed not only brings a profound passion and vision to the table but also possesses the expertise to meticulously present factual information. With a demonstrated history of excellence, his contributions stand out as truly remarkable. 

Commitment to Cultural Preservation and Education

Nasheed’s aspiration to educate and unearth truth for the world is commendable. What is most exemplary is his commitment to preserving cultural heritage through the provision of multi-media projects for the mass education of the world. By shedding light on the tireless efforts, commitment, and challenges faced by early pioneers who are often overlooked, Nasheed offers a vital service. Moreover, the unfiltered truths conveyed directly from those who witnessed and experienced Hip Hop’s inception firsthand hold immeasurable value. This project serves as a sincere tribute to the flame that the Bronx youth ignited, which ultimately ignited a global phenomenon. 

Continuing the Journey: Nasheed’s Ongoing Hip Hop Endeavors

But this is just the beginning. When asked if this effort might spark more initiatives, Nasheed reaffirmed his commitment to continuing to expand upon this work. With “Microphone Check,” centered on the genre’s inception and development in the Bronx, he laid out ambitious ambitions to investigate several facets of Hip Hop, most notably its West Coast roots. However, the ambitions at work here go well beyond the realm of music. In the final moments of the discussion, the visionary creator brought up their plans to include this material in classical education curricula, an endeavor that will surely have an enduring and monumental impact.

“Microphone Check,”  a much-anticipated film, will shortly be making its theatrical debut. The SVA Theatre in New York City is set to host the premiere on May 25th. As a show of support for the creative minds behind this groundbreaking project and to honor Hip Hop and its huge impact on the world stage, let’s  be a part of this experience.

For more information, visit Microphone Check.

Written by Renae Richardson 

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