Friday, December 05, 2008

respect your elders

Wassup people? I'm procrastinating right now since I should be writing an ethics paper and studying for my radiation effects final but I felt the need to write as always. There is a whole bunch on the mind right now with the holidays, changes, situ's going on around me, etc. etc. Right now I'm happy for my blessing of a queen who's got more sense than most and a bigger heart than all I've ever known.  I happy for those making black love work (it's a beautiful thing). I pray for these future generations coming up that they develop some sense because right now it's not being exhibited. Maybe it's somewhere deep and dormant, I'm not sure. All of these points I can make a whole entry out of (which will probably happen in the near future) but right now I'm referring to my first wifey, hip hop. 

It seems that Ice-T of West Coast and Law and Order fame said his peace about Soulja Boy on a mix tape. You may not know Soulja Boy but he has this corny bubblegum song called Superman saying that it's wack and to eat something not pleasant. Soulja Boy came back with some random attacks about Ice-T's age and well...just about his age and that he feels that he should be more a mentor. Ice-T ended it with simply he apologizes for getting graphic but at the end of the day, Boy's music is wack, which I agree with. Nelly mentioned on it that Ice shouldn't have said anything because you can't tell young kids about music which I agree with, but I do have to say there is something lost in hip hop that won't ever come back; the pure hunger to be the best.

When it started off, before there was money in it and before rich corporate America jumped on it to exploit artists and market black music to white children (it's been going on since they invented radio and the phonograph), hip hop was local, born in the streets of NY and merely another way to make a party all the way live. It developed into a competition of who could do it the best and what culminated was the golden age of hip hop, essentially the late 70's through the late 80's. When did it die? Who can say...was it the moment that Vanilla Ice and Hammer became the all time sellers? Was it when the East coast and West Coast battle took Biggie and Pac? Was it as far back as when Aerosmith and Run DMC brought hip hop to the suburbs? Who knows...but now it's about making sure songs have dances and make good ringtones. Is that hip hop? If it is, then I have checked out and won't be checking back in. 

Nelly makes a good point: adults will always say that children's music is not real music. My mother still says hip hop is not real music and she'll never change that opinion. Two and three generations ago, rock and roll was of the devil and was going to bring down this country single handedly. However, I retort with this: when you think of "superman on these ho's, does it call to mind LL (don't call it a comeback....) or Dr. Dre (1...2...3 and to the 4....) or Rakim (sip the Juice, I gotta enough to go around.....) or EPMD (you gots to chill....)? I'd say no. 

I know there has always been party rap, but we could still rank good party music vs. garbage. Is it by sales? If so then, To the Extreme by Rob Van Winkle (7x platinum) is one of the top five greatest rap albums of all time. Is it region? Tell that to Outkast, Nas, Eminem, Scarface, Lupe, The Game. Could it be gimmick? Then Laffy taffy, that just my baby daddy, daisy dukes, and whoop there it is would come on every time and everyone would exclaim " the greatest of all time" (if there is a club that they do that, please God let me stay away). So it comes down to, in my opinion, three things:

1) Content: are you talking about anything relevant, there's always a place for party rap but it's like disco, sure you like it when it comes on, but you ain't gonna go out and buy it (if you have any sense you won't). Even Shock G had the alter ego, Humpty, in order to deliver it fun and live and then deliver real talk. 

2) Beats: Are they getting folks jumping all the time? Are they diverse and do they stand out from other songs? Is the beat setting a trend or following one? Everyone can agree when Biggie's give me one more chance comes on, the place gets poppin'. On the other hand, we can all agree "in my white tee" may have sounded good for a minute (although not to me) but that joint won't come up in greatest party song conversations for years to come.

3) Delivery: Can you speak so that folks can understand and still switch up your flow. Can you deliver with a clear rapid flow (check N***a what, N***a who by Jay-Z) and still be understood and then slow it down to a smooth, on point with the beat delivery(I'm back by Eminem classic example) , or do you sound like Mother Goose no matter the beat cadence. (My pet peeve: since when do we make songs where we have a beat but the emcee ignores it completely and just talks to the music, just messin' up the flow of the song)

So based on these 3 points, is Superman going to make a wave in the history of hip hop, much less music? Not a chance in hell but hey, he's able to feed his family and give his mother a nice house with that money and send his younger siblings to good schools, so I won't sweat the technique. Although, I will say this, me being in that position, to have just one opportunity to put something out into the hip hop world, I don't think I could sleep at night knowing it was "Superman" but I guess that's why I'm getting a PhD and not laying anything on wax. 

Anyway, I had to get my peace out on that. I'll leave with a hot southern song (since certain folks seem to think I have a bias against...I love my southern folk, it's where 95% of black folk have roots in this country): Georgia by Field Mob, Ludacris, and Jaime Foxx....peace and love....I'm out....