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Kentucky’s Place in the History of Hip Hop

Mans | March 14, 2011 - 2:55 pm

Hip hop was invented in 1791 by Col. James Harrod, founder of the Fort Harrod settlement in what is now Mercer County, Kentucky. One evening, Col. Harrod took a bite of some stew that was not to his liking. He turned to spit it out on the floor, but rather than spitting stew, he found he was spitting game. Unfortunately, Col. Harrod disappeared while searching for Jonathan Swift’s Silver Mine (probably was eaten by crows and turtles) and he took that wonderful art form with him to his grave.

It was rediscovered in 1988 at a middle school in Lexington, Kentucky:

For a time in middle school, I wanted to be an MC. Using a stick horse has a microphone, I honed my lyrical prowess in the basement, only the washer and dryer privy to the extent of my game. Once my mother walked in on me rapping into a stuffed horse’s face. To conceal what I had actually been doing, I started kissing it and moaning.

I don’t know why I thought being caught making out with a stuffed horse was less embarrassing than being caught rapping alone while sitting on a pile of dirty laundry. The young mind doesn’t always work well.

It was around this time that I wrote a musical for a class using the music of Poison and U2 and just re-writing the lyrics so they were good. I wrote most of them while sitting in an empty bathtub in a Holiday Inn. My father asked me what I was doing and I said, “I am writing a musical in the bathtub.”

“Your mother told me about the stick horse. Do we need to talk?”

“I am an artist.”

“Fair enough,” he closed the door to the bathroom and left me to my art.