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If Hip Hop Was a Person: Chris Tucker

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Chris Tucker and Michael Jackson

If Hip Hop were a person, he or she would need to have been a child in the ’80s (not an infant). The person would necessarily have to be an African American descendant of those that endured chattel slavery; from the ‘hood, true to his or her people with the ability to do one or more of the following: dance, sing, rap, tell jokes, create iconic cultural contributions to hip hop and have endured as a child whippings with a switch while in church or at home. Someone who grew up on soul food and school food, not a packed lunch. Hip Hop uncensored’s first edition of the “ If Hip Hop were a person” column highlights the life and times of Chris Tucker.

 

Born and raised Hip Hop – Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker was born in Atlanta, Georgia, much like comedian DC Yung Fly, Tucker hails from Decatur. The Def Comedy Jam legend made his way into our lives as a pentecostal Christian using the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) – a historically black church founded at a time when racial integration in America was illegal, as his foundation of faith.

In sagging baggy jeans, a knit cap, and a black leather vest, Chris tucker joked himself into our hearts as a teen performing on Russel Simmon’s def comedy jam and would only a few years later find himself as a legitimate professional actor. Hollywood success is not as quick for most individuals. However, for the handsome, god-fearing, endlessly talented man whose personality was and is still dressed loudly in the “it” factor, this was a natural progression to become a star among stars.

 

If Hip Hop was a person

This American treasure starred in America’s favorite movies: In House Party 3 next to Kid n’ Play, In Friday adjacent hip hop legend Ice Cube, Money Talks with Charlie Sheen, and with Bruce Willis in The 5th Element. Most legendarily, he starred in not one, not two, but three Rush Hour Films with the trailblazing, international, mister “ I do my stunts myself” comedic genius, Jackie Chan.

You know you’ve made it when Michael Jackson calls on the phone saying “ hello, Chris, yes hi, it’s Michael, you’re kicking with the wrong leg it’s embarrassing.” To do impressions of Michael Jackson for a lifetime only to become one of his favorite people and best friends is a lifetime achievement award. Jackson lovingly refers to Chris Tucker as Christmas, a nickname Tucker tried to refuse but Michael Jackson insisted. 

 

Chris Tucker’s Iconic Influence

Chris Tucker has contributed heavily to the African American vernacular English lexicon. His tonality, voice inflections, and country grammar were made mainstream by his performances. He is part of how African Americans express themselves. Iconic Lines from the movie Friday such as “ you got knocked the f*** out, man!” are spoken from the mouths of young people who were not even alive at the time the movie hit the box office. 

The legend traced his African roots back to a country in the southwestern part of coastal Africa called Angola where human beings were sold and trafficked to America for centuries of slaving. This would make him a geechie like Kwame Brown by default, as all geechie Americans come from Angola, it is interchangeable with the word Gullah. There is a prison in Louisiana called Angola after its inmates, for obvious reasons. Chris Tucker lives his life quietly in service of his people and his god. When the greatest celebrities of all time have called you friend, naming you “ the funniest man alive” the way Michael Jackson did with Chris Tucker, there’s nothing left to prove. If Hip Hop was a person, a lived experience, enveloped in one person, it would be Chris Tucker “and you know this, man!”

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