Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Common and Erykah Badu Live at SXSW (aka "No lines between Hip Hop and R&B")

So, is this up there with Nas and Jay??? LOL! Folks in my zone have been passing this around and hyping it, check it.

It does look pretty sweet, and Erykah is so gangster! So there you have it. BTW, my only thought on this is first of all, how times have changed in production since Kanye hit the scene and also... how Kanye just doesn't seem so cool up on stage with crowd presence (but you can let me know if you've seen him live).

My last observation is how we've seen the whole movement of R&B shift slowly but surely towards Hip Hop till the line between Hip Hop and R&B have pretty much dissolved in certain respects. I would even push that further and make a statement that acts like Common have pretty much become the R&B for 30+somethings that were card carrying members of the Wu-Tang Clan and now have to settle to be leftfield Hip Hoppers. We even had a brief stint where Andre 3000 left Hip Hop altogether for some whole next-level Prince technique.

History check... New Jack Swing brought 80's Hip Hop breaks to R&B (Boyz II Men for instance). Second wave came through where acts began posturing as Hip Hop acts (Jodeci, Dru Hill, etc.). Then we move towards a blurring of the lines with Mary J. Blige and TLC, SWV, Missy Elliot, Erykah Badu who abandon the breaks for modern Hip Hop production. To now where Hip Hoppers themselves have began to posture after R&B acts (Foreign Exchange, The Roots, Common, etc.). What about Anthony Hamilton? Jill Scott? Dwele? and others?... Neo-Soul.

Feels Good - Tony! Toni! Toné!

What really is grabbing me in R&B and making it interesting are acts like Aloe Blacc and Stacy Epps who apply a different take on production, allowing voice to reverb or delay to create sonic landscapes, use of wonky off kilter beats, and draw from outside sources. As far as production, I think folks like J Dilla pretty much set that up for them, playing a strong factor in the Hip-Hop'ificaiton of R&B through his productions.

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