When I tell people I like hip hop, I often suffer their judgement. Straight away people think of 'gangster rap' and their gangbangers, or the ghetto fabulous Music videos with all the cars, jewellery and semi naked women. Their ears ring with the profanity and aggression the rap verses are littered with. But what they don't hear and aren't open to is the real voice of hip hop. Within the world of hip hop there are sub sections and one such sub division is the 'conscious rapper.' Here we find the heart of hip hop. Cleverly constructed rhymes discuss the real issues facing the world in today's societies.

Poverty, abuse, racism, single parent families, war there is no topic off discussion.

Music is one of the arts, as is poetry and with rap is where you find the two fused together with effortless peaks and flows. The words glide over beats that drum inside you, drum to the beat of your own heart. Art is subjective. You look at Monet or a Dali; you prefer a Van Gogh or a Matisse, but you don't vilify the other without examining its range of colour and texture or technique of stroke. Just as opera tells a story through dramatic song and rock bands use long guitar solos and guttural screams to evoke emotion, hip hop takes the story of the streets and speaks through the beat.

Hip hop speaks to, and for a group of people who often struggle to be heard.

It lends its ear to their woes and then tells their tales so the masses are made to hear the uncomfortable truths. Those in power like to blame the media - TV, film and music - for all that's wrong with the youth of today. Look a little closer and you'll see that the media is becoming a biography of the streets. You can blame rap for black on black crime and, you can blame the film industry for sensationalising it; but you could also look at the governments that keep them in their social situation.

When conscious rap is listened to, it's taken to public halls and turned into kids projects where they can learn English and other skills. In the case of one of the 'conscious rappers' of our generation, Common, it is taken to the White House and read as poetry. Hip Hop is more than just rap music, it is a culture, something to belong to and identify with.

It can open the mind to thinking spiritually and acting diligently. A healthy mind lends to a healthy body and a fulfilled soul. It asks questions of yourself, who do you, want to be, how do you want to have lived your life?

I recently re-read Commons autobiography, One Day It Will All Make Sense; in this book he says he wants to be a leader. Well re-reading his book inspired me to write this article. It inspired me to tell my readers that I unashamedly love hip hop. I love its many colours and timely rebirths. I love the revolutionary march it is always tapping out. So Common, you are a leader. A leader of an army of listeners that want more, dream more, believe more - deserve more!