Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hip Hop Is Read... Is Dead?


^ The way I view hip hop ^
Guernica by Pablo Picasso

First and foremost, no, I didn't contract the swine flu. I did however develop some type of OCD-offshoot from over-sterilizing my hands every 20 minutes. I keed, I keed.

So where the fuck have I been lately? Well, if you’re following me on Twitter – and who isn’t right… right…? – you’d know that I’ve been in and out of town, a trend that’ll be recurrent throughout the month. I Wu NY. I haven’t been keeping up with hip hop lately. Which is good. After reviewing the thousands of posts I need to check out in Google Reader, I easily realized that I didn’t miss anything at all. The state of hip hop. It occurred to me over this break period that the bulk of blogging is… basically bullshit. Think of it this way: there are great writers out there, such as Byron Crawford, Ron Mexico and the like. The guys that breath and eat daily hip hop news. But most of this “hip hop” that we ingest is equivalent to eating at Mickey D’s every day. They crank out some humorous and apt articles on a frequent basis. But what’s the resume? Years of talking about such and such’s teh gheyness. I think I spelled that right. Popping shots at rappers who most often don’t even deserve any lime light to begin with? I mean, what’s worth talking about in contemporary hip hop that’s actually… meaningful. I couldn’t imagine basing a writing career on the backs of shitty rappers with shitty record deals with shitty music. What type of life is that for me. It’s blasphemy. © Xzibit

My physical hip hop collection (CDs, LPs and tapes) is filled with nothing but the classics. The type of shit that’ll one day be shot off into the outer reaches of the galaxy in a time capsule to preserve – and share with extraterrestrial beings – its epic greatness. What can we look forward to in the ’09? Cam’ron and a semi-sober (and therefore, oddly enough, less lyrical) Eminem back in the game. Wow. I’m floored. Not by excitement. Don’t light up the rocket just yet! Nas and Damian Marley are putting together a project that piqued my interest. But most likely, the TIs and labelheads will find a way to somehow, someway, fuck this shit up as bad as… just about everything else they do. I recently read an article discussing how record labels aren’t satisfied with revenues earned from Myspace. Hey, guess what? I’m not too satisfied with record labels! Even many indie ones… How can we settle this?

Speaking of which, Kevin Nottingham has got a record label now! Mazel tov, and best of luck to ya! The label is called HipNOTT which is pretty straightforward. Go figure, the first thing that popped into my head when I read the name was “that sounds too much like Slipknot”. Maybe one day, a comedy troupe named the HipNutz will make light of it all. Folks who caught that Late Night with Conan O’Brien reference, raise your hand up. Just me… I knew it…

Seriously though, I wish Kevy Kev and the crew the best of luck. I’m not familiar with the label’s roster, but I’m sure I will be as soon as my inbox gets bombarded with more info. Jesus, I haven’t checked that shit in a while. Not thoroughly at least. You know, my inbox isn’t a public dumping ground for the shit you recorded on your laptop at 4:00 AM and decided was “hot”. Well, at least it wasn’t…

I had this brief back-and-forth with Soulbrotha a little while back about how I felt that the decline of hip hop has a lot to do with the fact that too many emcees – let’s not even get into the fact of entitlement that regular joe schmoes feel, as if they can inherit that title without paying dues – don’t write rhymes in the conventional way. You know, pen and pad. Gritty. Room for error. And correction. Lots of it. Park bench. Studio with the producer. Not at a club with your iPhone or BlackBerry. I actually met one of these types at a spot on Melrose a few months back. Would you be surprised if I told you that he included the words “swagger” in his bars? Of course you wouldn’t.

I’ve been reading some Kerouac, listening to jazz and old Wu-Tang records on my new iPod which I filled up with ease. I’ve been on a paper chase. You should do what we do, stack chips like Hebrews. Word to ‘Kiss. Blogging has admittedly taken a back seat because… I’m sick of talking. Minus B.I.G.’s “Suicidal Thoughts” of course. If there’s one thing I’ve proven to be good at in life, it’s the mastery of going A.W.O.L. And I’ve got a sixth sense. But I don’t see dead people. I just see a whole lotta bullshit. I feel like the Adam Carolla of hip hop. The only thing worth noting from the week was those neat Wu Note Records covers. Again, here we go with jazz and old Wu-Tang. The only shit I’ve been into lately. And probably for a while.

Like I said, I’ll be in and out this month. Phat shouts and a belated happy Cinco de Mayo to all my Chicano homies. Big ups to the socialists and labor workers for my belated May Day salute.

What should I write about? What’s worth writing about? Lil Kim’s performance – and now, lack thereof – on Dancing With the Stars (thanks for breaking the news to me, Rizoh!) How about the fact that everything neo-Eminem puts out is only worthy to make a quick (and permanent) trip to my Recycle Bin?

Fuck it. At least the Lakers won tonight. The series will end in Houston. You do the math.

It’s a recession, people. Your two cents are more valuable than ever!

23 comments:

  1. I noticed the same thing, when I realized I wasn't feeling anything of late, i mean FFS i was bumping a Ross record............. *hangs head in shame*

    I ain't been bumping much of the hipiddy hop and if so its been previous material, (going back to early 90's jay-z for a better look at his lyrics D'evils <3 )

    I gotta say I'm feeling joell ortiz...... that's about it.

    One of my play lists as of late

    http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/4149/playlisty.jpg

    Ain't that a wide spread :|

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  2. I notice some Tape Deck tunes in there :D

    How can I be faithful to hip hop when she repeatedly cheats on me?

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  3. To quote myself while talking to Rizoh the other day: I wish everyone in the game would take a week off, listen to Slaughterhouse and come back with that in mind.

    I'm definitely feelin' you on this post though, man. It's weird trying to break into this world of hip hop blogging when I think most of it is pretty much trash. Like constantly following people around and getting pics of them entering clubs somehow promotes good music.

    I think a lot of us have lost sight of the fact that we exist in a way to hold a mirror up to an artist so that they don't fall under misconceptions about their own music and why we love or hate it. And its all because they hold something that we consider precious. Let me get off my soapbox.

    Good post, don't leave forever Peter Pan or they might make you grow up.

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  4. Yeah, sabbaticals are necessary. But even Slaughterhouse... How long can hip hop just be about grizzly emcees and their gun talk. Brother Ali is quite possibly the only emcee who gets my attention day in and day out. Joell Ortiz, IMO, is the realest dude from SH. He keeps it on the humble. I gravitate towards those kinda emcees.

    Contemporary hip hop = misdirected energy

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  5. Ortiz is a REAL dude, minimal facade.

    Not to be Corney but... Real recognize Real

    Joey is alright, talks ALLOT of shit, Royce is a superstar and who the fuck even knows what Crooked's really all about.....

    I noticed that my playlist has some "emo" looking shit, but I think that Songs like waynes "I feel like dying" are really ALLOT closer to music then any other shit, same as Atmosphere.

    *N word* are to pussy/scared, they have to act hard...... Like curtis.

    You can feel the deep emotion and passion when it's not about bullshit.

    One last thing, WHAT THE FUCK IS UP with all the snippet/raw/no-edit/workprint/one-verse only leak SHIT that everyone goes hyper about, when the hell did the desire for semi complete works become so important, is there no art or craft left.

    Doesn't anyone take the time to mold there shit, everyone has to pretend to be jay " AH NAH MAN.... NO PAD! NO PAD! I DON'T WRITE MY SHIT " when the fuck was it a crime to articulate and plan you lyrics? At what point did you have to freestyle everything... Lazy....

    When you freestyle it comes from within and reflects what's around, no wonder hip-hops up shit creek........

    P.S
    sorry for the drunken sailor vocab, blame Schrodinger.....

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  6. I like most *rappers/mc. But for the most people and me, it's more about the raps they put out!
    How many mc ya know in real life?!...LoL

    Thanks Ivan...:)

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  7. I feel what you're saying I, I've been kinda taking a back seat and focusing on filling up my iPod with classics and studying for this exam I've got in a month.

    Plus, always beefing up my jazz and oldies collection :-D It's a never-ending process..

    See ya round !!

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  8. YO MY SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER JUST SHOWED US THIS PICTURE LAST WEEK

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  9. "You should do like we do; stack chips like PRINGLES"

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  10. Cosign on Brother Ali. I think Joe Budden is one of the most complex and fascinating minds in hip hop and he's almost at a point where facade has been eliminated from his world.

    Everybody knows Ortiz is real and Crooked I and Royce play their part. But they stepped into the light on "Move On". Self reflection is the way to go because it unlocks the power of lyrics: to let people know that their struggles and joys are not their own to bare. Shared experience=humanity.

    But I might be getting philosophical cuz I'm listening to brother ali's "Good Lord"

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  11. Just some albums to look forward to:

    KRS & Buckshot - Survival Skills (check the production credits)

    The Roots

    Freeway - Philadelphia Freeway 2

    Jay Dee - Jay Stay Paid

    Torae & Marco Polo - Double Barrel

    Maybe new Rakim? Maybe new Dr. Dre? Maybe new MOP?

    Simply put, they don't make music en masse for you and me anymore Ivan. Luckily there are some still out there who can hold my attention.

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  12. Good to see you back at it, brother. I'm with you on the state of hip hop, but luckily there's still some great artists out there who are having fun with the music and staying creative.
    You heard the Torae & Marco Polo? Fire.
    Diamond District record is very dope, and the new Tanya Morgan is shaping up really nicely.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. IMO Hip Hop is NOT Dead.
    But then i might have a different definition of hip hop from everybody else.

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  15. Hip Hop is alive when I listen to the new Grouch and Eligh album.

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  16. I never said hip hop was dead.

    I was referring to my blog... but whatever.

    I'll agree that the Grouch and Eligh album is quite decent.

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  17. IVAN...I FEEL YOU BRO..YOU COULDN'T OF SAID IT ANY BETTER. I HAVEN'T LISTENED TO HIP HOP/RAP IN A LONG ASS TIME. I DONT LISTEN TO THE RADIO CUZ OF ALL THE BULLSHIT THAT'S ON THERE....AND IMMA BE BIASED WHEN IT COMES TO HIP HOP/RAP, CUZ WELL...BASICALLY...CUZ I CAN..LOL. I DONT REALLY DIG ANYTHING BUT WEST COAST HIP HOP/RAP. I FEEL A COUPLE OF EAST COAST CATS..BUT DON'T REALLY LOOK FOR ANYONE IN PARTICULAR.
    I FIND MY MUSIC FIX IN FILLING MY IPOD UP WITH THEM SOULFUL OLDIES...WHICH LIKE ONE COMMENT SAID...IS ENDLESS. UNTIL "DETOX" HITS...WHICH IS NOW A FUCKEN UNICORN...SINCE IT DONT SEEM TO EXIST...(SEE HOW I MADE THAT RHYME...MAYBE I SHOULD BE AN EMCEE..LOL...J/K) IM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO ANYTHING....EXCEPT NOW THAT I HEARD DJ QUIK AND KURUPT GOT AN ALBUM COMING OUT...IS THE ONLY THING THAT GOT ME EXCITED RIGHT NOW.
    MUCH PROPS TO YOUR PROPS ON THAT VIBE MAG...AND LIKE YOU SAID...AIN'T NO STOPPIN THE LAKERS. WEST WEST YA'LL

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  18. AND ONE MORE THING....I KNEW I WASN'T THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS THOSE EMINEM JOINTS ARE GARBAGE!!!....I STARTED FEELING LIKE AN OUTKAST

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  19. Did you guys hear that new Tech N9ne album? that has a few good tracks on it like "Nothing", "Midwest Choppers 2" and "Red Nose"

    Oh another hot joint that came out recently is "That'll Work" by Three 6 and Alchemist. Alchemist produced a straight up banger. If you guys aint feelin that then something must be seriously wrong with you dudes.

    Peace

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  20. @ Soloe: LMAO @ Detox the unicorn. West coast stays consistent, no doubt about it. But we haven't had a GREAT record since 2001.

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  21. from some people that listen to hiphop that I've known, they said that the new Rick Ross album is pretty good.. it has somewhat of a 'grown man' feel to it.

    but since I've heard about how he mistreats his baby mama [thanks to 50] and not pay for child support, how am i supposed to contribute to his shit if he's not on his personal 'grown man shit' with his responsibilities as a father? that's WACK!

    but, im sticking to what I know and have on my PC: all the sample sets that I got from you Ivan, and Kevin! Thanks to y'all, I know what exactly else to loook forward to [although it's old].

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  22. @Ivan: 2001? Don't shit on The Documentary like that. You know that was tight.

    And look at the company Dre keeps this days...I think I might go to hip hop hell for this, but here it goes anyway: Detox=Relapse

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  23. Documentary was a solid 4. 2001 was on its tippy toes reachin' for a 5.

    I'll give you that one, fine.

    But still...

    2 albums in 10 years, I can divide... :D

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