Monday, August 20, 2007

Listening Post

I'm well aware that when I talk about hip-hop, I sound like my parents talking about rock & roll -- insisting that today's stuff is, for the most part, awful and that the genre's best days seem to be well behind it.

It peaked for me in the early 90s, and here's one of the reasons why:

A Tribe Called Quest -- Jazz (We've Got).


Robo said...

This is one of my absolute favorite songs of all time. I could listen to any Tribe album over and over. I like it when you talk hip hop because it's usually the stuff I tend to like.

But to be fair to the present Common's new album Finding Forever is getting quite a lot of airplay on my ipod lately. The title track is one of my favorites on the album and the spoken word at the end just makes it all flows together.

On another front I've been listening to Five Finger Death Punch's "The Bleeding". Lot's O'Anger in that there song....complete opposite end of the spectrum from Tribe.

Beckylooo said...

I do so love Tribe. But yeah, I second the above. Common's new one is strong. I had "The People" on repeat for a couple days. Kanye's track, which samples a Gil Scott Heron tune, is glorious.

Then there's Talib Kweli, Mos Def, The Roots, Jean Grae, Mr. Lif, High and Mighty... I could go on but seriously, turn over a few rocks. Just 'cause the good shit isn't on the radio doesn't mean it isn't out there.

Chez said...

I have the new Common downloaded, and yes, I love Talib, Mos et al.

Overall though, hip-hop has completely lost its way. It's a fucking embarrassment, which is made worse by the fact that it used to be so amazingly vital -- so passionate as an complete art form.

Even some of the more talented of its practitioners these days -- say Kanye -- are overgrown children who do things like bitch about the fact that they make huge, stupid, big budget videos where they fly choppers over Vegas and spill champagne all over Pamela Anderson but still lose MTV Europe awards to bands nobody's ever heard of who make tiny videos that are actual art.

Like Nas says (one of the few rappers I still like): hip-hop is dead.

Beckylooo said...

You're not wrong. But the same can be said about Rock n Roll. I just watched "Before the Music Died" this weekend and ?uestlove made a solid point. Very loosely quoting: There's art and there's commerce. Making the distinction between the two makes the "fucking embarrassing" shit easier to stomach.

I don't think Hip Hop is dead. I think it's gone underground. It'll resurface as something else in 5,10,15 years... My money's on New Orleans as the next S Bronx.

Samuel said...

I want to say I've mentioned this here before, but hip-hop isn't really dead, it's just left the country. Molesta (Poland) & Rohff (France) are two fantastic artists. If you're interested, I'll try and throw a few songs into an archive and send you the link.

Incidentally, I've recently been working on a mix of sorts. The general idea is songs about soldiers, though I'll be refining that once I've found enough. Do you happen to have any ideas?

Robo said...

I made an error in my first comment. The Common track I like isn't the title track it's titled "Forever Begins".

Kanye has always been a great creator of beats and a mediocre rapper. Nothing has changed. I wish he just shut up and got behind the board. The way he intertwines soul music with a jazz like beat is infectious. It's when he starts spouting off at the mouth that I just hang and shake my head. There must have been so many A&R's filling his ear with "You can rap...make your own album" Knowing it was go platinum and they would get rich. It's too bad. Same goes for Timbaland. Guy makes some truly innovative beats but then opens his mouth and all is pretty much lost.

But I like that Common, Talib, and rappers of their ilk are getting more attention. They have some excellent skills and now get some limelight for it. I also think the "market" is so saturated with the Crappy shit that people are looking for something with more substance.

Hey chez check out a Group called Glue. I know the rapper (Adeem) and he's a white kid from New Hampshire who can rip. Their music is completely original and good but you'll never hear it on the radio. Ever.