Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Respect, Life and Music

Alright, so here I go again... except this time I'm not trying to talk about a specific musical entity, such as classical, hip hop, rock n' roll, House, Mo Town, Big Band... NONE of that. What I'm talking about here.... is MUSIC!!!! Not the various terms given to the music by the people who made it, just the pure unadulterated form that exists within every single one of our nervous systems. Music flows through our vein's, sometimes it takes certain life experiences to tap into those roots which we hold onto. Others come by it naturally. Regardless of how or when you find this source of power within yourself, you MUST realize that music is of the essence of our very existence.

"You live and die, your name but forgotten. The words you say echo through time like a corridor abandoned and rotten." - OneRyt

"A Man is condemned or exalted by his words." - Cormega

"I want to say to you, Help yourself, so you can help someone else." - James Brown

[When asked if music has a meaning]

"Definitely, and it's getting more spiritual. Pretty soon I believe people will have to rely on music to get some kind of peace of mind, or satisfaction, or direction, actually. More so than politics, the big ego scene. You know it's an art of words... Meaning nothing. Therefore you will have to get an earthier substance, like music or the arts." Jimi Hendrix

"I'm not a politician, I'm a musician. I care about giving people a place where they can go to enjoy themselves and to begin to live again. To the man you have to give the spirit, and when you give him the spirit, you have done everything." - Pavarotti

"We feel that in the future, groups are going to have to offer much more than just a pop show. They'll have to offer a well-presented theatre show." - Syd Barrett (of Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon)

All of these quotes come from individuals who have made their music without fear of what those around them had to say, or how it was received. They made the music because it was what drove their lives. If nobody bought their stuff, it was okay, cuz they were making the music.

However, all of these individuals had a much bigger idea of what music was to become then has arisen as of late. As a matter of fact, the musical quality of what we listen to has seriously degraded into a really ugly scene. Don't get me wrong, there are some class acts out there now... My Chemical Romance, The Killers, Sam Roberts... the list does go on... however if you notice a difference here, there is a severe lack of recognition towards the actual meaning behind these type's of things.

I think this recognition is lacking for the simple fact that a message that has meaning, strikes motivation into the hearts of the people. Most of the 70's music was politically driven, socially aware and was also about having fun! When you look back to the 70's you can see a myriad of amazing artists who put down their foots and said, this is how I feel! People who lived through the 70's have the benefit of being able to look back and say "I grew up in that, that was my jam!" with pride... Unfortunately for me, I don't think I'll be able to do the same, which is precisely what I'm getting at here. No longer do the people who listen to the music, appreciate that meaningful essence in the music. Instead of musicians evolving their goals into what was envisioned, they have actually been enslaved by the very side of things that they were competing against to begin with. Commercialism, selling out, creating corrosive social environments through the lack of philanthropy and/or care about the common citizen. Instead, artists have been bought by flashy things, and signed under contracts to not say anything controversial because of these endorsements.

Retarded... respect to all the old school rappers who know how the game is/was and should be.
To name a few: Guru (7 Grand Records), Akrobatik, Nas, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg (Imagine was beautiful), Rakim... who lost a full record deal in 2001 simply because he wouldn't sell out his politics. That list goes on for a while, but those are some pretty honorable mentions...

However; saying all of this, I would be a fool if I tried taking credit away from those bands who are actually out there doing real shit...

For example bands like Nickelback have made some amazing songs, the number of bands and artists who realize the need for this type of outlook is seriously diminished. Just to give some credit where it's due:

What I'm really rallying for here, is a level of mutual respect between musical genre's. It doesn't matter how you present yourself, just do it in a way that is reflective of your personality! God gave you an identity for a reason, if you're given the opportunity to show the world what you're about, PLEASE, don't let yourself be trampled.


phi·lan·thro·py /fɪˈlænθrəpi/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[fi-lan-thruh-pee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -pies.
1. altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.
2. the activity of donating to such persons or purposes in this way: to devote one's later years to philanthropy.

Now, first and foremost on this topic, let me point out that while it would be nice to be able to participate in this side of life's breeze, I am pretty much unable to sacrifice my own life for that of other's in other countries, because of course, I am a working slave for a nation who needs some. Although, after thinking about it, I remember a statistic I heard... Something about 90% of the world's wealth is owned by 10% of it's people? How ridiculous is that?

So... Speaking to you 10%'ers... where's the money? What's it for? Why do YOU need so much?
To everyone else: Did YOU know, that if all of the money in the world was evenly distributed, we would all have 13.5 Million Dollars? Yes, it's true. While many people will argue that it would render money useless, that is simply not true. (honestly)

Now, many people would contend that it's useless to bring up figures like that, because, well... it's unrealistic to think that everyone will get 13.5 Million Dollars in this lifetime or the next. (Stupid Zeitgeist) Wholeheartedly agree with where you're coming from, because if I'm not doing something now, then hell... what AM I trying to do?

So what's my point to bring these figures up? Well, first and foremost realize that celebrities, and musicians often hold a good sum of money. Perhaps not the most money, but well more then many of us could ever hope to have. Second, realize that with the current spread of wealth on the planet, those who have access to money, have much more responsibility towards those issues which are key and vital on this planet. If not those who have money, then who?

In my opinion, music IS a key source of where people are supposed to be discovering themselves, and their spiritual aspects... (What is my purpose?) and they put it to paper... who better to set an example for the rest of the world, then the very people who have battled through the trenches, and have arrived at the promised land. Are those who lead this world afraid of reprise? Do they hesitate to help those less fortunate for fear that the people might rise up against them? If so, the longer you wait, the more likely you should be afraid.

Anyways... I think this has gotten long enough... I probably DO have more to say, but when do I not?

some links: < href="">UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Next blog... why drug dealers should work for the government.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hip Hop In The Truest Form

"And what I'm on is hip hop in it's true form." - Masta Ace

This song says it almost precisely how I see it, and I swear there better be MANY more people like me in this way of thinking out there. To say it bluntly, Hip Hop, while not legitimately dead in the core of the Hip Hop community; is dead on the commercial outline. Is it just me? Or is there a massive amount of people who feel this way, but none are actually connected to eachother? Or are all of my friends complete idiots, and it just so happens I live in a completely backwater city? (It is)

To bring it back to the basics here, I'd like to start, for all those who are in the deadzone still (that means you hate me right now, because I "dissed" your favourite artist; like 50 Cent or something...) let me bring you through a bit of a history lesson....

The beat you now enjoy in Hip Hop, evolved from the original art form introduced to the culture by DJ Kool Herc, who came up from Jamaica.

The beat was looped portion's of famous soul vibes by the likes of James Brown and many more, to keep the crowd groovin' to the beats they made. It played on a certain level of expectation within a listener when they listened to a song. You often hear a part which stands out, and really gives you a spark inside when you hear it, and look forward to that part to come again. To deliver that ruch repeatedly was like the ignition to the spark. Of course, from DJ Kool Herc evolved Jam Master Flash (melle mel) and the Furious 5, who enhanced the technique till' it sounded something like this:

Keeping in mind, at this point lyrics were still a fundamental aspect of the music. It may have been played in the clubs, but the song was talking about what? something that everyone could relate to, and could actually coherently think about while it was being said. So the beat made a persons opinion marketable in artform; thus providing another avenue for people to deliver themselves from the shackles of corporate slavery, and social discrimination. Eventually though, as the MTV era drawled on, and the likes of the East Coast West Coast feud came to brew, a gangster aspect to the form was introduced. Keeping steady, there was always a slight element of a "gangster" life in the people who wrote the songs in the past, they were still written in clever prose with specific topics to bear. From this, emerged the frontrunners, 2pac and BIG. Corporate Hip Hop (Corporate America, while not supposing to be influenced by gov't, probably is) had these 2 picked as the marketting scheme of a lifetime. They would represent a slow degrading of the Hip Hop influence in the political spectrum of things, through their roles as "hip hop logos". There was much drawl on the news for 2pac to define what gangster rap was, and focus on giving the gangster side of hip hop life in the hearts of the people it was being prepared for. In short, that whole episode was a well laid plot on behalf of upper class America to prepare the product for the future. Introduce the key element of violence and it's a marketers dream!

a decade later, the meaning has evolved from songs like this from 2pac, the man who initiated it:

To something more like this:

Childish... as the video itself demonstrates in the beginning, and is obvious in the lyrics. However, the beat is still precisely what it's mainly about... to keep those people dancing on the dance floors. So... where have the new artists gone? I mean, true lyricists? There have always been songs for dancing... there used to be incorporated lyrics which could be "related" to in the music, now it's the same 3-4 words in a row for a while... I mean... what talent does that take lyrically? Unless you produced it, you get no props. (and even if you did, you should have left the beat blank and sold it to someone who knew how to make a track)

Seriously though, I challenge one person to bring up an artist in the past year who's gone platinum, and was largely based lyrically... (aside from Common) ... If you hook me up with some new shit, awesome. :)

Any new artists who came out and did well in the past 5-6 years that were largely based lyrically? Aside from Canadian artists... (Classified, DL Incognito) (New artist being the key word) You've got Bishop Lamont, but he's an Aftermath Drone as it stands, who promote a pretty soulless Hip Hop presence. (They've even drained Eminem of any meaning... Infinite was great!)

For those who haven't heard of Infinite before, it was Eminem's first released album back in 1996. It was reminiscent in swagger to that of legendary lyricist Nas.

For your enjoyment...

To show the comparison in style...

So honestly... Where the fuck did these classic tracks go? I remember knowing there were jewels to find, and people respected them. Now it seems everywhere I go, there's a certain disdain for those who appreciate the lyrical portion of things.

Don't get me wrong, there is certainly a fair share of people who are around doing the real Hip Hop that I love, but it's brutal to watch such a vital role in this particularly beautiful musical genre get largely ignored in most people's eyes. The music of a generation is all too often a reflection of a collective type of state of mind of the time's that can be looked back at... I'd like to be able to look back and reflect on something of meaning... I mean... can I beg? Please?

An example for you...

Or something from left field entirely...

Anyways... that's what I gotta say for now... Hip Hop helped people free themselves, and now they're all selling out to the American Economy... You gots cash? That gives you some responsibility in the world if you ask me.

"Intelligent Philanthropists would save the World." - OneRyt