Hip Hop is Flavor Flav's clock. Kanye's shades. LL Cool J's bald head. Questlove's afro. Hip Hop is blasting M.O.P. after a fight with your girl because the beautiful music will calm the savage beast in you. Hip Hop is staying up all night, refreshing your internet browser and waiting for that next Lil' Wayne leak. Rolling up to St. Kilda Sea Baths in baggy jeans, stunna shades and baseball caps, because you and your crew also deserve a Corona at sunset.

Hip Hop is all about image. The popularity of clothing lines rising and falling throughout the years. My Adidas. Kangol. Dickies, Chuck Taylors, Raiders caps and Starter jackets. Cross Colours. FUBU, Ecko Unlimited and Enyce. Hip Hop is having your own personal style, as long as it fits in with current trends. Not wearing dress shoes to clubs. A white tee for every occasion.

Hip Hop is underground, mainstream and everything in-between. Old and new school. Old school rappers reinventing themselves - but don't call it a comeback. Brand Nubian. Melle Mel. Even Ultramagnetic MC's (but at least Jay-Z is aging gracefully). Hip Hop is older fans hating on younger fans, as if it's their fault that it's not like it used to be. Skilled emcees making more money ghostwriting for mainstream stars, or dumbing their lyrics down to appeal to a wider fanbase. Hop Hop is MC Ren training Eazy-E to spit the rhymes others wrote for him - and nobody caring.

Hip Hop is metaphores, similes, alliteration and adlibs. Somewhere along the way, Hip Hop became whispering your delivery and using auto-tune on your voice. Hip Hop is war. Beef and diss tracks. BDP vs. Juice Crew. Common vs. Ice Cube. LL Cool J vs. everybody - and Canibus studying his background, reading the book that he wrote, researching the footnotes about how he used to sniff coke.

Hip Hop is rappers and their own record labels, with a ratio that must be damn near 1:1 by now. MARKETING. Youtube. Myspace. Facebook. Blogs. Hip Hop is the internet.

Hip Hop is DJ's and break loops. Grand Wizard Theodore scratching. Doug E. Fresh beatboxing. Graffiti and breakdancing. Freestyling. Producing, mixing and mastering. Ebonics and slang. Classic cuts on vinyl. MP3 promos and iTunes bonus tracks. Hip Hop is sped-up (and slowed-down) soul samples. Jacking Impeach The President, Nautilus or More Bounce To The Ounce for the millionth time. Hip Hop is mixtapes, mix CD's and iPod playlists.

Hip Hop is remixes and posse cuts. The legend of the lost versions of Scenario. Masta Ace making it onto The Symphony by being in the right place at the right time. Busta Rhymes outshining everyone. Da Graveyard - Big L featuring Eazy-E, Big Punisher, Scott La Rock, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Jam Master Jay, Proof, Pimp C, 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G. and many others.
Wild Style. Style Wars. Breakin. Beat Street. Boyz N The Hood.
Hip Hop is conscious. Alternative. Gangsta. Hyphy. Grime. Hardcore, horrorcore and nerdcore. Hip Hop is pushing back release dates. Sample clearance, with original versions of tracks leaking years later. Hip Hop is parental advisory stickers. Explicit lyrics. 40's and blunts. Sex, violence and drugs. Hip Hop is artists allowing their dignity to fly out the window. Hip Hop is the fans that buy it.
Hip Hop is politics. Reciting N.W.A. lyrics in the face of the law. Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo. Hip Hop is hate. Love. Knowledge. Hip Hop is power. Hip Hop is wanting to be somebody. Diamond rings and things. Hip Hop is not just music, it's the soundtrack to an uncertain future. Hip Hop is not just words, it's poetry. Freedom of speech. Hip Hop is change. Hip Hop is opportunity. Hip Hop runs the free world.
Hip Hop is... Obama.