Sunday, February 14, 2010

On my way to Hip Hop's funeral...

So apparently, and shut their sites down upon seeing the travesty that was "We are the World 25". This resulted in a bunch of folks sending me links and seeing postings all over the place to make sure everyone got the message. The whole idea of Hip Hop is dead has been around for a minute, but Weezy, Wayne, Jones, and Ritchie made sure the coffin was sealed tight.

What grabs me is how it took this to really feel some actual reverberations and acknowledgment of how this genre is disillusioning our generation. What made this the day so convincing that Hip Hop is dead? Why all of a sudden it seemed that Nas was giving us the news too early?

Yes friends, it was gross... the real shitty drum beat throughout the track... the bad Wayne vocals, and the choice of Young Jeezy to represent the Hip Hop element. The outright shamelessness of being part of the elite establishment, integrating themselves unto pop music frameworks, and completely obliterating their stance as musical and social 'other' was in total display.

Still, this could also be a reminder of how Hip Hop is still rebellious music. Rappers don't sing... beats are abrasive rather than soothing. Toasters don't do well blending with harmonies and groups. Maybe it wasn't their fault.. .the genre told them to.

This goes with my idea that Hip Hop, in its age and status in U.S. culture, is now at the point where Jazz was in the 30's when Swing became mainstream. Black musicians were allowed to play at the Cotton Club and other white establishments. Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and took over the face of Jazz. And Louis Armstrong began to stop playing the trumpet and just hold it as he sang pop tunes.

We now have Mary J Blige, Eminem, Weezy and others in the new Cotton Club. Hip Hop has become co-opted rebel music as Rock had become in the 70's, its what you expect your kids to run to when they hate their mommy and daddy. Aesthetics of the musical and cultural structure of Hip Hop have become formulaic and expected.

What gives me hope is that during the Swing era, Dizzy, Parker, and Roach began presenting a new style from the ashes of the old. Taking what was around and twisting it to new shapes. It was the creation of bebop that set up a new chapter in Jazz that took it to beautiful spaces for another 30 years, dividing up those who were to those that are.

So I'm looking for you, next thing.. I'll keep my ears peeled. I want to hear the integration of the social with the rhythmic, the atmospheric. I want to be ready for musical art, musical expression, experimentation and happy happy glorious music.

Rest in Peace Hip Hop


Laurie said...

These are good thoughts. I readily admit to being no expert on the music and the scene anywhere near where you are, but I do feel like the retreads in popular music in many genres are literally and figuratively getting old. I admit to breaking down crying when I saw that video because it depressed me for reasons I couldn't even articulate. Maybe I felt like Quincy and Lionel could come up with a new song. Maybe I'm tired of the Michael pimpage. Maybe I feel like Haiti needs so much and this didn't hit it.

I don't know. What I do know is that I went back and watched Ain't Gonna Play Sun City several times because that was the first "cause song" to move me and it turns out it still holds up. It's a weird 80s mashup but for some reason Run D.M.C., Lou Reed and the dude from Midnight Oil worked for me on a level that this clip didn't.

And now I will shut up! ;)

Laurie said...

Also if you don't follow Jay Smooth already I hope you will over at nildoctrine and on Youtube. He always has good insight and I learn a lot about music too, because like I said I didn't really know much beyond the surface. :)