Writer discusses the current state of hip-hop

Writer and journalist Ernest Hardy revealed aspects of today’s American and hip-hop culture to St. John’s students on March 6 at the University Center Lounge.

Hardy spoke recounted his many experiences with rap artists and performers and shared his criticisms on life in his novel, Blood Beats Vol. 1: Demos, Remixes, and Extended Versions. He has written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Vibe, and Source magazines.

Students had the opportunity to hear Hardy read excerpts from Blood Beats Vol. 1 and his newest publication, Blood Beats Vol. 2: The Bootleg Joints, which was published in
Feb. 2008.

His latest work includes interviews with various artists, criticisms, and essays about individuals, events, and concepts that have been an impact on today’s hip-hop and American culture, such as the Fugees, Kanye West and Eminem.

Part of the event included a question-and-answer segment of the program, Hardy said, “I write about stuff that interests me.”

He also said, “I like things that go against the grain and are unexpected.”
Hardy revealed that as a writer, he is inspired by individuals such as author Toni Morrison and poet Nikki Giovanni, who examine life and its complexities.

According to Hardy, the hip-hop culture has changed due to the perception of how certain individuals portray the lifestyle. The cure, Hardy said, is for people to go beyond what they have come to know and accept what is the norm in today’s society.
In his second work, Hardy points out that independence and individuality are needed to remedy the American society and the hip-hop culture from the cliché perceptions that have been adopted.

“If my second book has any message, it would be to have courage and be yourself,”
he said.