"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