A dorky dude talks about rap music
Tomorrow is the Revival Tour, and I couldn't be more stoked. The dudes and I have an unofficial pact where if one of us cries at any point, no one is allowed to bring it up ever again. If Ben Nichols breaks out "Nobody's Darlins," I'm all but assured to lose it.
What else is going on? Not much. Moving to Baltimore soon. Hope to temp some before then. Rereading Batman comics is the high point of DIY ethics, and if you disagree you're a poser
So I was watching the newest in a long line of Clash DVDs, and one of their performances made me think, of all things, the birth of hip hop.
The birth of punk and the birth of hip hop are often compared. Usually the people doing the comparing are lazy, borderline racist assholes who are too busy scoring cheap cultural points to think about what that argument actually means. If they gave it a moment of thought, they might realize it's actually an entirely valid point of view, but hey, someone needs to go back to jacking off the Arcade Fire instead of focusing on music worth giving a damn about.
Both forms of music were, in their own ways, Year Zero. Punk was the cumulative effect of 15 years of people saying fuck you to orchestral rock music and the demigod mentality. It was "fuck off! You might be able to play every scale ever conceived, but we got songs and rage and you go die in a fire." Hip hop was born of a similar attitude, kind of. If the early pioneers sound skeletal and primitive, it's because it was made by people who didn't have shit. If you had a turntable and someone who could rile a crowd, you could jam basement parties. No disrespect to Rick James or Parliament, but not everyone could front a 20 person band and release records with high production values. It was DIY at its rawest, funk and soul music for people of limited means in the same way that punk was rock music at its barest, created by people who sold blood for guitars and wrote songs about kinky sex and horror movies. They both were forms that, intentionally or not, cut through the bullshit, reduced bloated forms of music to the bare essentials, and in the process changed the course of music.
It's hard to evaluate hip hop today in its current form. It's become a genre that appeal to such a broad spectrum - I would argue the most popular type of music in the world - and ranges from the shiniest of the mainstream to the dankest of underground, as as such it's difficult to sum it up as a genre. However, I immediately discount all people that are akin to my ex-girlfriend's parents who said (no shit) "it's just tree people talking about welfare over a drumbeat." (Dating people from GA is hit or miss. My current gal is nowhere near this ignorant, as she is a human being who is 1) not racist, and 2) capable of dressing herself, jesus fucking shit.)
The sampler presented is in no way intended as definitive or the product of a true head. This is the hip hop I've found that rocks my world, and I want to share it with you in the hopes that those of you have written it off give it a chance, that it's not all "Crank Dat" or whatever. It's a messy, complicated genre that rewards digging, much like 'most any other types of art.
Hip Hop Sampler - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=RX6JIDED