‘Da’ What is Hip Hop? – Shod Harris of Rebel Society [Editorial]

Posted on December 17, 2013 by


This week’s editorial is not written by a rapper but Shod Harris has been heavily involved in hip hop in many capacities for a long time.  You can read about who he got into hip hop as a kid and about his latest venture, The Rebel Society too!

In 2010, Shod Harris started an art and music site that was known as The Rebel Society. It was a site that featured eclectic and outside of the box artists. After two and a half years of creating and developing new content for the site, Shod decided to follow his passion and create his own independent, full service marketing agency. He decided to use the name of the website that he owned as the name for his new venture.

“When answering the question, what does hip-hop mean to me, I think that is a very tricky question.  There have been times, like when I was a kid that I could have cared less about hip-hop (I was more into cartoons and sports at this time), then from the time I was twelve until I was twenty seven it fully consumed my life, and now as a twenty eight year old man I’m starting to be burned out by it.  Just a little bit about me, I was born and raised in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia which is the home of a lot of great talents in the music industry who have made their marks on the culture such as Timbaland, Missy Elliot, the Neptunes, The Clipse, Teddy Riley, Lex Luger, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, D’Angelo and more.  So that is pretty much a who’s who of people who have been running the music industry for the past twenty years or so.  Like I said before I wasn’t even into music as a child, I do though remember the city of Virginia Beach being shut down when Teddy Riley shot his music video, Rumpshaker (this was the early days of the twerk).

During my teenage years, hip-hop truly consumed my life.  I was buying, bootlegging, and downloading music like every day (I love the good folks at Napster, even though I hated my dial-up connection with a passion).  Around that time, in my head and everybody else’s head Jay-Z was the greatest rapper in the world.  He was dropping hits after hits and at the same time he was moving the culture forward.  I bought almost every album he put out.  His album The Blueprint was my favorite album for at least ten years.

Something changed for me when I graduated high school and entered college in 2003.  I got tired of listening to hip-hop music that I really couldn’t relate to at all.  I wasn’t from the streets, I wasn’t dealing drugs, I wasn’t calling women b!#$es and hoes.  I was just a suburban dude that was about his business, loved women, and was just trying to make it out here in the world.  So around this time there was an artist that was getting ready to drop his debut album that I clung to for the sole fact that I related to everything that he was saying and that was Mr. Kanye West.  When he dropped College Dropout, I was in my second semester of college and pretty much hated everything about it.  Songs like Slow Jamz, Jesus Walks, Spaceship (still one of my favorite songs til this day), Never Let Me Down, and Last Call (this song has one of my favorite quotes ever “You Better Get under the Umbrella, before you get rained on”) spoke straight to me and where I was at in my life.

With that album and everything that followed that as far as more artists making music for the everyday person got me into wanting to be involved in the music industry.  When I discontinued college I started a couple of different music blogs and started doing marketing and promotions for different local artists.  I was able to go so far as to get an artist who had just started rapping into the pages of XXL, which was a major highlight for everybody involved.  I believe just seeing the fakeness of the music industry, the politics, wack rappers getting praise, and everything else that is involved has just made me cold to the culture.  I was the person that loved finding new artists, going to see what just happened with different artists, and downloading music on blog sites, so to go from that to listening just to the older music I have on my iPod is a tremendous drop off for me.

So I hope this story can give you a full spectrum of what hip-hop has truly meant to my life.  This has been more like the Hip-Hop Rollercoaster and even though I’m getting off I guarantee that I will be back one of these days.” – Shod Harris