I should start by saying that my hip hop knowledge base is small. However, my exposure to it is not. I grew up in a large subrurb outside Minneapolis where any counter-culture would have come directly from my parents, and it did. My mother has never and does not listen to hip hop. My father, however, is much more musically diverse and all my old-school music knoweldge comes as a result of him. My dad grew up in Minneapolis so funk, r&b and motown are close to his heart and that's something he gave to me. Growing up he would make mix tapes with everything from Hanson to Prince to Fleetwood Mac to EnVogue. However, upon thinkning about it, I would have to say my first exposure to hip hop music would have been through the group Salt n' Pepa. My dad is a huge fan of female groups and Salt n' Pepa was a staple on his mix tapes.
I don't recall feeling alienated by their songs, though I probably should have since none of its contents related to me as a young child. (now I know what they were really singing about it "push it" and "what a man.") I just recall really liking the beat and memorizing every word, which seems a bit inapproapriate for an elementary aged kid. My dad used to tell me how bad-ass he thought the women in the group were, but I didn't know why he thought so, or didn't care to. Only upon growing up and becoming musically independent do I know what he meant.