dream hampton spells her name in lower-case in homage to the great bell hooks. She’s known as the first woman editor of The Source Mag, although it’s probably not her favorite line on her resume (if there at all). She most-likely would prefer creating a film rather than writing a book, prizing imagery over text. Her hip-hop history is immaculate although personal memories are probably even more tantalizing. And while no longer a self-proclaimed “hip hop journalist”, she most likely dips and dives into the new age to provide a clear stream for generations to connect. For what it’s worth, without knowing her personally, it is amazing what Twitter can reveal over time. Still, there are only two things of which I am certain of: 1) her voice outside of hip-hop journalism holds just as much weight for emerging hip-hop journalists, as Jay-Z’s entrepreneurial decisions outside of hip-hop does for the hip-hop community. and 2) she’s a survivor. of several things.
Yesterday afternoon, Prof. Mark Anthony Neal interviewed author/journalist/director/dream hampton for Duke University’s funded “Left of Black.” In a fairly semi-lengthy segment, hampton touches base on several different topics; from new writers and journalists to her writing process; MXGM membership and “Black August;” the state of Detroit and her love for its music (including Big Sean); her friendship with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and the scrapping and re-vitalizing the tale of his life and generation.
Check out a few of my favorite quotes from the piece below and pop the “play” on the video to watch the full interview.
The thing that happened to writing with blogging, is the same thing that happened to poetry with spoken word
I’m embarrassed for a lot of the people who call themselves journalists
Writing is something that you finally sit down and do; film is collaborative
I had opportunities back in the 90s when hip hop videos were like a quarter-million dollars. You know, Puff knew I was at NYU; Biggie knew I was at NYU– he was my good friend and my neighbor. He asked me to direct “One More Chance” and I was like ‘No, I’m an author. I don’t do city mob.’ You know, like, what a dummy I was.
I’m from one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country; historically has been called The Black Bottom. Detroit of course is home to like the largest–for decades–the largest black middle class, well black middle income; i really don’t believe in a middle class, necessarily, it’s not very transferable when it comes to us
We talk about ourselves as post-manufacturing, and post-this-and-that, but when I came home to visit before i moved back, I was seeing all of this shared cooperative living; i was seeing urban farming; i was seeing artists.. who pay each other [barter] credit.
[Jay-Z] is very paranoid, you know. I mean, he hasn’t drug-dealed in a long time but he still has that hustler paranoia, which I kind of grew up with.
[Jay-Z and I] talked a lot about ideas… and before texting, we would literally just sit on the phone for hours just talking about stuff. About the music industry, about drugs, about codes, about inter-gender relationships, about hyper-capitalism, about his own addiction to money, you know, as he talks about it in his music. And we’ve had arguments…
It’s unfortunate that hip hop may be headed in that direction, where the books become more interesting than the music being produced