The Gray Area

The Gray Area

The Hip-Hop Discussion – Are We Bored Yet?

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First, hit play on this video…feel free to hit stop at any time.

Blah, Blah,Blah, Blah Blah…

…I’m bored. Not with Hip-Hop itself, but I certainly wish we could stop talking about it. Aside from a handful of sites where you can go to hear new tracks, I’ve really abandoned all interest in Hip-Hop outside of the music itself. I have no interest in who is beefin’ with who (less said beef results in some stunning diss tracks i.e “Ether” or “Can-i-bus”), I don’t care who’s going to jail, might be headed to jail, just got out of jail…I couldn’t care less about who owes who’s baby mama any money and I extraordinarily don’t care about who is dating, married, engaged to, or caught another STD from whoever (whomever?).

But that’s of course all the celebrity type gossip I usually ignore anyway. The big part of the whole Hip-Hop discourse I’m sick of is frankly the discourse itself. I’m sick of talking about the music – how it’s changed, how it needs to be, used to be, could have been, should have been, probably will be, might not be. Beyond the simple “this song is hot/wack because…” I really don’t see the purpose to it anymore. Those sorry America vs. Hip-Hop specials on BET taught me one thing which is that there’s no point to having a discourse within Hip-Hop. Young cats are just down for whatever’s on the radio, old heads aren’t down for anything on the radio unless a rapper from their generation is doing it. There’s this stone wall put up where no one on any side of the discussion is at all capable of admitting that the people across the table might be capable of creating something just as worthwhile and genuine as they can. And, in the midst of all this, we have this endless blathering on about artistic integrity and what rappers should/shouldn’t be rapping about – most of it coming from people (mostly women, gays, and the “conscious”) who only press the issue because they happen to have gotten offended by someone’s lyrics, not because they actually care about hearing a diversity in music) – and at the end of the day it really affects no change in the culture one way or another.

People like what they like, plain and simple. Any fool ass dude who snap dances and blows all his money on multi-colored hoodies is not going to stop just because some older cat hobbles over, waving his proverbial cane, screaming about “That’s not the real Hip-Hop.”

I listen to all sorts of music (I actually do, I’m not one of those people who says that but only really listens to 8 different flavors of rap) so I’m not sure why this gets me so heated sometimes. Maybe it’s because Hip-Hop is to me really the only form of music that actually has what feels like a complete culture (language, traditions, institutions, ect) is built around it. You can argue some forms of rock and other music do as well, but in my experience most of that is people essentially playing dress up on the weekends (yes I’m especially talking to you electronic music people). The rockers who really take the rock music culture to heart the way Hip-Hop heads do are few and far between and I’d bet that the Hip-Hop heads outnumber them about 10 to 1. What I’ve learned is that not everyone likes any other particular genre of music…EVERYONE has at least 1 Hip-Hop song they like – the ones that don’t just haven’t tried it yet.

I guess what I’m asking is why we can’t just listen to the music anymore? It seems like all I hear about is how much anything sucks but no one wants to point and share with me any dopeness that is going on. (Why didn’t anybody tell me about Slaughterhouse, Jay Electronica, or Alchemist’s new album dammit!)

How come any time someone comes out with a shitty album in any other genre of music -it sucks, they don’t sell, and they go away, end of story. But anytime a shitty Hip-Hop album comes out we have to launch into these debates on what it means for the culture and why, where, and then proceed to bemoan for the “good old days.” I’ll be the first to maintain that for all it’s faults, Hip-Hop music is better than it ever has been. Production overall is leaps and bounds beyond what it was even in the 90s and tons of rappers are doing things lyrically that have never been done before. The music is evolving, but no one seems to grasp that you can’t have good evolution without the inevitable platypus popping up here and there.

There’s always been wack rap and there will always be, same with every other form of music. This is how the universe works on all levels, it naturally moves towards entropy and balance – for every Biggie there’s a Diddy, for every Common or Kweli there’s a Solja Boi, for every Ludacris or T.I. there’s a Rich Boy, for every DMX there’s a Rick Ross, for every J Dilla or Madlib or Scott Storch there’s some dude who had some extra cheese lying around for a Korg Triton pressing the “sample” button thinking he’s banging out the next heat for the streets. Yes, I know the argument that the wackness is just coming out super strong lately, but is it really or has technology just made it easier for complaining-ass people to find (and incidentally give shine to) things they want to complain about? There was crap-a-plenty back in ’90-whenever if you were willing to spend enough time in the record store (remember those?). Someday a rapper or rap group will emerge who will be so astoundingly and ground-breakingly ill that their counterpart will be selling millions by talking backwards in Swahili over pink noise – and this will be the only force keeping the global consciousness from being swallowed into a literal black hole of ecstasy.

As far as Hip-Hop, I’ll never stop listening but I’m done talking. If you’ve got or heard about some heat send it this way. If you got that garbage…well, we’re all grown ass kids here…no one needs to see how big a doodie anyone else can leave in the bowl anymore.

….I do not want you to like me. * (-_- )

Now listen to some new real ish…
Onslaught by Slaughterhouse (Joe Budden, Royce Da 5\'9\", Joell Ortiz and Crooked I)


Written by 32523452345234673573

December 18, 2008 at 3:13 am

One Response

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    December 18, 2008 at 2:33 pm

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