Future of Rap
Peter Parker is selling his mix tapes on Highland in Hollywood. The walk of fame is full of tourists who are all trying to soak in as much of Hollywood's atmosphere as possible. "It is really the best place to be. It's a good way to build a fan base," Parker said while trying to make people stop to talk to him. He just sold a mix tape to a couple that passed by. Parker has a good way with people and these people show him their support. He is working hard selling his mix tapes all day "I go home when all the people are gone," he said.
Parker has an outstanding look with his Ray-Ban glasses, retro Air Jordan's, gold rope chains, 4 finger rings and a Members Only jacket. But the one thing that strikes people most is his 1989 flat top, "this is how people used to have it in the late 80's when Hip Hop was at its best," Parker said.
Parker sits down at a coffee shop and puts his backpack on the chair next to him. "I got my name because people think that I can save Hip Hop with my lyrics," he said. He takes a sip out of his water bottle, "I am an unlikely rapper, meaning that I am a geek in real life," he continues. Topics that interest him are social issues and politics. "These are things that most rappers are afraid to make music about," Parker said. Peter Parker is just a normal guy who doesn't realize his inner superhero until he becomes 100 percent comfortable with being just himself, "that is what I am trying to do when I rap. I am just being true to myself," he said.
It all begun in 2008 when Parker moved from Cincinnati, OH to Compton, CA. "This ironically was the place I was born and it is also the birthplace of gangster rap," he said. Parker was working at a Footlocker and on his lunch breaks he used to hang with gangbangers, who would be free styling in groups. "One day they asked me if I could rap," Parker says. He started to rap about peace and non-violence which was a change to the gangbanger who raps about their life, killing, shooting, drugs and what is going on in the streets. The gangbangers got impressed with his style. "I was surprised that even they could respect my style," he said. Weeks went on and Parker continued to freestyle with the gangbangers. "Word spread around Comptom and soon big groups of people started to come to my job just to hear me rap," he said. "They said that I reminded them of Tupac," he continues. This was the first time Parker had ever considered himself as a rapper.
People encouraged him to go to open mics around Los Angeles and to make an album. "This was crazy because real gangster rappers wanted to hear me talk about how I felt like the gangster lifestyle was self-destructive," he said. From that point on Parker spend all of his free time writing his lyrics. "People said that I was the future of Hip Hop because the stuff that I was rapping about now they knew that I would change hip hop entirely. Make it ok for other kids to rap about things other than the bling-bling lifestyle," he said.
Parker grew up in the poor neighbourhoods of Cincinnati OH, but went to school in the suburbs. "So even if I saw things like drug dealers, I was also able to see kids who didn't live that lifestyle, kids who had two working parents with good jobs," he said while fidgeting with his glasses. Seeing this made Parker believe that he could go to college and be successful, too. "Growing up there showed me how influential Hip Hop was on the suburbia in The United States," Parker explains. "I went to school with kids who never seen a gun or sold drugs, but because of the music they felt like they were gangsters, not knowing that there was nothing cool about the real lifestyle that gangsters live. This made me want to expose the truth," he continues.
Being in Cincinnati, OH instead of Comptom, CA really set Parker's life on a different course. "My mother moved me to Ohio because most of the males in my family were either dead or locked up because of the gangster lifestyle. I would probably be one too if we would have stayed," Parker said.
Parker's raps are real life experiences: thoughts, feeling and emotions that are important to him. "I am trying to get out the message that it is ok to be yourself. It is ok not to go to jail and just be positive instead," Parker said. "Hip Hop can be about love, and it is a way to educate. It's a way to give hope to the people who are hopeless," he continues.
Parker's role models are people like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Michael Moore. People who want to dedicate their life to helping others and exposing the truth. "I also have normal people as role models, like my mother. People that overcome ordinary life with no glamour; just faith, hope, and a crazy work ethic," Parker said.
"Right now I am working on mix tapes and my first album," Parker said. He is also working on a documentary which explain his life story and why he feel that it is so important for Hip Hop to return to its origins. "Which are positive conscious thoughts," he says.
After thinking a while he says. "In 5 to 10 years I see myself as an established hip hop artist, a known revolutionary, a philanthropist, and maybe have a position in politics," he said with passion in his eyes.
"Hip Hop sucks right now. There is nothing real about it. I feel as if the whole industry is a bunch of artists that are afraid to be themselves, he said. "I feel like Hip Hop is dead and in a need of a saviour.