The first thing that comes to mind when I think back on my first memory/experience with hip hop is a girl named Brittany. Brittany was another girl my age that grew up down the street from me in rural Southern Minnesota, but we did not connected as friends until we entered into the 6th grade. Brittany had spent much of her time around her older brother and his friends who had introduced her to artists like Nelly, 50 Cent and Eminem (not to say all of these would constitute as hip hop) and I had spent majority of my life listening to rock music in the car with my parents or watching reunion tour programming on the PBS. I was a stranger to the term hip hop.
For my 12th birthday Brittany had purchased me a CD and I knew it was a CD before I opened it by the way she wrapped old newspaper tightly around it. 50 Cent's Massacre album was Brittany's birthday present of choice endowed to me, and I had no familiarity with this artist or specific genre. The thing that struck me about this album, and we still laugh about it today was the fact that she purchased the album at Wal-Mart. At the time, Wal-Mart (and I'm not sure if this has changed) was only allowed to sell censored material. So there I was, a young 6th grader with a censored 50 Cent album which was intended to be an explicit expression for a much older audience. I still have the album somewhere in my stacks of CD's and every time I come across it, I laugh to myself. 50 Cent is my main man when it comes to first memories of hip hop.