Monthly Archives: July 2013

Hiphop and Nonduality, by Ascience Gnown

Hiphop and Nonduality. Lyric by Ascience Gnown. Music: Hot in Herre by Nelly. Karaoke performed by Jerry Katz at the Lion’s Head tavern in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Thursday, July 11, 2013, hosted by DJ Laurie the Guy. Video by Mary-Jean Doyle.

Here is the article by Ascience Gnown from which the lyrics were taken:

Hiphop and Non Duality

by Ascience Gnown

Hiphop doesn’t exist. Show it to me. And please don’t point to an album, your iTunes library, a microphone, a website etc. because we don’t call that Hiphop. We have names for those things. But what can be named can be identified, it has color, shape, and place in space in reference to another object. So where is the thing that we call Hiphop. Or is it a thing at all? Is it a feeling? An experience? If so what is the experience? What drives us to label things Hiphop or not Hiphop? What is the difference between the two? Afrika Bambaataa says Hiphop is peace, love, unity, and understanding. Well where are those things? Do those qualities exist as tangible objects or are they something more subtle and tacit? All things have a beginning and an end. They have an origin, at least relatively, but did peace, love, unity and understanding have a beginning or have they existed before there was a mind to perceive them? If we entertain the latter then we have to look at what we call Hiphop as something free of coming and going, something that is free of origins and endings, free from conditions, in fact I postulate that Hiphop is freedom from conditions simply because it allows all conditions to exist. It does not fight, it does not reject, it embraces and incorporates. It becomes more whole through allowing whatever arises to arise. It freely samples the world and finds it beautiful.

Out of peace, love, unity and understanding came the elements of Hiphop. The elements are the children of Hiphop. No less Hiphop themselves and not completely Hiphop by themselves they were birthed to teach us about Hiphop and the possibilities of finding peace, love, unity and understanding within, between and as all things. This relationship as nature and manifestation are what give Hiphop the status as nondual. It is the ground out of which the elements arise and it is the end goal for all those that practice it and it is everything in-between no matter how you practice it. Nothing is separate from it no matter how foreign to peace, love, unity and understanding it seems. When Chief Keef and Mos Def create a song they do with the same underlying intention whether they know it or not; to manifest peace, love, unity and understanding. All seeking is seeking the nature of things. The only difference is a matter of knowing, of experiencing Hiphop. When one has experienced Hiphop (and knows it as ones self) then one begins to create with the intention of manifesting the qualities of Hiphop. When one doesn’t know it they create with other intentions; money, fame, power, fear, anger. The only difference is in knowing. All spiritual paths know this to be the end goal of all seeking; that they are what they seek and what they fundamentally are is peace, love etc.

So then why do most people associate Hiphop with music and entertainment? Well aside from conditioning, most people don’t seek the source of Hiphop when interacting with the elements. They only go deep enough to validate what their
ego seeks; to be bigger, to be separate, to be the greatest among all. Some go deeper and utilize the elements to bring about sociopolitical awareness and change. When ones intention becomes focused on these things then the source is missed when the source is the award itself. This is the reason for Hiphop Alive; To begin to see the sacredness of what we call Hiphop and all of its elements so that they can teach us about how we and how all things truly exist. Many believe this line of thinking to be unnecessary, too much, over the top without once questioning their relationship with Hiphop and how deep it could possibly go. You’re likely to see comments about this line of thinking that say this is bullshit, that Hiphop began in 1973 with a name. But I urge all that are serious about Hiphop to question the elements and when they began. What were the precursors to the music, art, dance, fashion etc.? These things didn’t arise on their own or out of nowhere. They had ancestors and other forms that came before that had the same intention; To awaken self and others to a greater existence that has no origin. They attempted to explain and manifest the unexplainable because it was a nagging sensation. A calling to be more whole and to feel more like a part of the family of things. When we say Hiphop began in the Bronx as a culture birthed from poverty and marginalization what do you think the opposite of those things are? What were they seeking? What is the underlying motivation of someone who is impoverished or doesn’t feel like they have a voice? It is to be alive and to proclaim their aliveness to the world. It is to not be silenced. It is to make a noise loud enough that reaches to the depths of self and the universe that says I am here and I am worthy to be here. It is the voice of spirit saying I will not be silenced. I will grow even in the worst of conditions and I will adapt to whatever situation you place me in. The evolution of all things can’t be stopped. Spirit cannot be denied because it knows no boundaries. It’s sole intention is to know itself through form and to report its findings to the formless in order to find a way to next time manifest even more fully! This is how I experience Hiphop. Every record I dig for is another way of experiencing my own fragmented experience of humanity. Every rhyme I write is another way of working out the kinks of my cognition in order to see more clearly how I and all things exist. Every Graf piece I create is to be free from the lies of conformity to form. Every move of a bboy is to experience space in as many forms as possible. Every element has the goal of freedom through form and is a teacher of the highest of spiritual principles. Ultimately Hiphop leads me to no longer being trapped by knowing. Being a practitioner is a search that helps to me to understand that what I’ve been taught doesn’t withstand the pressure of deep contemplation. Being a practitioner breaks down the barriers
between things until I no longer know why I ever thought there were barriers in the first place. When I find no separation, when I find no barriers I find peace because I learn to accept that I am all the things that I have encountered. When I contact Hiphop I contact myself, my truest self. I find that there is no fear because there is nothing threatening my existence. It is too big to be threatened. Hiphop is too big for anything that it encounters to threaten its existence. It eats, digests and metabolizes all experience. There is nothing that can hurt or kill it. I experience this fullness as myself and all things, free from the fear of being eradicated by some outside force that will come and go. When KRS-ONE said “we will be here forever” he was correct. There is nothing that can stop Hiphop because it has always been and will always be here forever. No matter how far from the source those that practice it seems to be Hiphop has remained intact and have never hurt it. They in fact are a part of its evolution, of its self knowing. Without them it would be deceiving itself, lying to prevent knowing that it too evolves and goes through the peaks and valleys of self deception and enlightenment. If it were already fully evolved then there would be no need for growth. Hiphop needs all of the shades of the spectrum of consciousness in order to display all of its facets. To display only those that are close to the source would be to forget that at on point they too were confused about the existence of Hiphop. At some point in time all of us have been confused about what brings us well being, which is fine. We come to know only through trial and error. When we accept that the error is a part of the process and not really an error at all we can begin to appreciate the entire journey and others on it. When we arrogantly dismiss those who are in their process of understanding Hiphop deeply we create self deception and suffering within and between us. This is the fundamental error; not seeing clearly based on assumption and a lack of experience. Not seeing clearly we elevate the under developed to the level of developed and reduce the developed to the
underdeveloped. The main practice is to use the elements to see as deeply as possible into how things are, how we truly exist, how others truly exist, how form truly exists, how formless space truly exists, the depth of our values and our interconnectedness. When we utilize the elements in this way there is the hope of manifesting peace, love, unity and understanding. When we use the elements in a neurotic way there is still the hope of manifesting peace, love etc. but the time that it will take, the time that none of us has or is promised is longer. With that way there is only the promise of longer periods of personal, community and global suffering. So practitioners should be urged to utilize the elements as skillful means, to use them as artfully as possible so that in this lifetime there can be benefit to ones self and other beings. No one knows what happens when we die but we do know what happens when love dies in our lives, homes, streets and the world. We know that pain. We see it played out in the entertainment world daily. All of that ongoing suffering is unnecessary. Suffering is a part of the human experience but we do not have to continue to suffer as much. We do not have to live in ignorance of our selves, of our minds, of our neighbors. We can use the elements to awaken to more peaceful and interconnected existence where we support each other on our various paths. This is the way of the bboy bodhisattva, the way of the microphone warrior, the way of the Graf rebel, the way of the DJ dream weaver. This is Hiphop Alive.

– Ascience Gnown

Hiphop Alive: Institute of Consciousness, Education and Integral Art is dedicated to the research and utilization of the elements of Hiphop to foster physical, mental, emotional and spiritual internal and external growth of individuals and the collective. It’s underlying mission is for peace, love, unity and understanding to manifest freely among all beings. For more information please contact Ascience Gnown at