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!