Tuesday, December 29, 2009

*no thinking cap required

No shots. Not even warning shots. Just saying...


Hip Hop, rap music more specifically, is mad mundane nowadays. That statement alone is one of the reasons Raekwon's 'OB4CL2' & Slaughterhouse's self-titled albums were so well received by the critical public at large. Also, this is why they didn't sell an ass load of albums, either. More on that later...


The Hip Hop fan has grown accustomed to a certain formula. Brainwashed, perhaps. We've graduated from accepting a mediocre beat, if the lyrics were hot (the '90s) to accepting a bland mixture of okay rhymes & so-so tracks (the '00s) to now, the end of 2000's first decade, & rap music is boring as fuck, for the most part. Sans a handful of artists who genuinely craft witty raps without a bunch of unnecessary violence &/or fantasy lifestyle, & it's the same song, over & over again. It's common knowledge that to be a successful rap guy, your chains, your guns, your cars, & your ability to get bitches ranks higher than your song crafting skills. If we get nothing else, that we get. Multiply that complete lack of originality by some trunk-thumpage that the hood rats & socialites alike can shake their tail fur at, & best believe, somebody somewhere will play your shit, loudly & often, however uninspiring it may be.


"Rewindability" is virtually non-existent at present, unless we're talking about DOOM, Slaughterhouse (as a collective), U-God & Ghostface Killa. Ghostface, not so much because he astounds with the verbiage, but because I don't smoke dust blunts. & even with some rewinding, most dudes still have no idea what the hell he's talking about, unless it's his dick. Pause. If I did smoke the leaf that dare not speak it's name though, something tells me he'd be the illest MC ever to grab the mic. I guess Eminem earned a spot in that group as well, but unlike most rap fanatics, I'm willing to admit that somewhere along his audio journey, Marshall Mathers hit me in the brain with so much awesomeness that I'm now hard pressed to be in awe at the majority of his current masterpieces. His genius has leveled off into normalcy, so to speak. He's more Kobe, less Lebron, if you smell my cologne. Once "greatness" has ascended to such an unattainable altitude, we come to expect nothing less than the best. Which, oddly enough, is detrimental to a degree. I guess that's why you don't mack a female with unmitigated A+ game in the first few months. God forbid you two fall in love, & you used all the heavy artillery just to score some trim. When she gets bored, you can't blame anyone but yourself.


Of course there's more than just who's on my preemptive list, but I'm only attempting to scratch the proverbial surface, not take roll call. This is literally a conversation that could last days, & thousands of words, which neither I nor your attention span is willing to commit to.


Now, you have some artists who by all means have the propensity be great, but operate under such a self-defeating agenda that they refuse to let their own light shine. Lupe Fiasco comes to mind, but he's so much smarter than the rest of us that maybe all this is part of a plan, & his plan is coming together like 2 lesbians on a double-edged deluxe gyrating vibrator. Ha! Kid Cudi is cut from that same cloth, also. In a strange turn of events, his quasi-depressing, melancholy approach at Hip Hop music has become his way of life, knocking cats the eff out & getting thrown off of ridiculously lucrative tours all in the name of anti-love. Toss in a Charles Hamilton, & not only do we see the dark side of "the Force" that Kanye West exposed to the world, but also the reason gangsta rap is on life support. Emo-thuggery is running rampant. Skinny jeans may not be able to conceal weapons, but man-bags & Louis Vuitton backpacks can carry guns, as well as plaid ascots & cashmere mittens.


I, for one, miss the days where I almost had to concentrate on rap music to enjoy it. As of late, it's more like having public conversations with some of my terribly less intelligent homeboys, over loud-ass 808 kicks that only muffle their ignorant jaw-jacking, but unfortunately not quite enough to drown them out entirely. There's no imagination, no drive, no real competitive spirit, outside of viral campaigns, tasteless personal attacks, & episodes of 'Candid Camera', with *insert your favorite rapper* doing his best Alan Funt impersonation. Hip Hop has allowed itself to go from two young, amped up tough guys smoking weed & intensely playing Chess, to two lethargic older cats drinking cheap cognac over a game of Checkers, in between nods & space-out moments. Even when they pick up a piece (no pun intended), everyone knows their next move. It's no wonder people get bored & stop watching them play.


Before the hoopla starts, I'm not one of those golden age veterans, who rubs miscellaneous bottles in hopes that I can wish us back to 1992. Hell, in 1992, I was still a virgin, so, yeah. But, I do wish that more effort would be put into making today's rap a sport again. Not a contact sport, because niggas don't fight any more, but a battle of wits, war of words, per se. Legend has it that, in their hey day, MC Ren & Ice Cube would sit in the studio & write against each other, for the same song. Whoever won that impromptu challenge, won the right to pen Eazy-E's verse, in addition to their own. Or, picture Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney working on 'The Girl Is Mine'. Cats may not hit the bowling alley for beer pretzels & White chicks after the studio session, but best believe they pushed one another to do their best, even if their best was only second place. I'll take second place over last any day of the Christian week.


There seems to be a growing surge of rappers who embrace the basic ethos that separates entertainers from MC's. That's a good look for the culture, plus it's not like folks are running out to drop hard hustled recession dollars on physical albums anyway, even when the record is a genuinely good buy. Ask Raekwon & Slaughterhouse. Might as well give the people what they need, because what they want isn't always what's best for them. Like prostitute sex, regardless how good she looks, she's still a hooker, & we know you can do better than that, mayne.

10 comments:

dingabisinadeem said...

Your best article
the soul of Hip-Hop is dead your chess - checkers analogy was on point. Somebody needs to hire you to right for a magazine or something your being slept on like Joel Ortiz

DV8 said...

right on...this is so on point. Rap is wrestling. Atleast 10+ years ago it seemed real at certain points but now it is clearly a bunch of fake bullshit.

BLESSD1 said...

I dig this one, T. Grands. It's my first time visiting your blog, and I don't know why I was denying myself; shit....I enjoy reading your comments on DP's page! HA! Hip hop has become lazy, and I live in prah'li the most apathetic part of he country where Lil Wang is king, and I'm a fool to question his authority. The sad thing is that so many cats love him here, and laud his self-aggrandizing title, "The Greatest Rapper Alive" when shit...he aint even the greatest rapper in his city. Jay Electronica will eat his lunch, chew his food, and shit on his lawn. The saddest part is that, admittedly, I've begun to grade on the curve w/some of these rappers b/c they just have so little to offer. One clever metaphor, and I'll give them a little credit. I'm like you; I can't relate to Wayne b/c no...I don't snort coke, smoke trees, fornicate video models all day (I wish I did though), or kiss a grown-ass man they call Baby on the mouth, so I'm not really a fan. But recently, I've been able to credit him with a few slick lines or metaphors. At the end of the day, I'm still screaming, "He's lying...don't believe him when he says he freestyles all of his rhymes! Kissing men on the mouth is GHEY!", and I find it really hard to go so hard [ll] for a junkie. I miss when it was cool to be intelligent and smart and creative in hip hop again.

Tony Grands said...

^@MDub

A grade curve is mandatory to enjoy 85% of these clowns. If I were to actually compare dudes, like I did in high school, most wouldn't even make it past Xzibit, ha!. That's speaks volumes.

Funny thing about Wayne, "Weezy the Rapper", eh..., take him or leave him these days, but "Wayne the pseudo alternative rocker", I dig him off the strength of actually trying something different. All the 'Rebirth' joints I have are fires to me. My wife looks @ me like I'm crazy, but I'm bumping them joints.
But, alas, I'm a realist. So, yeah.

BLESSD1 said...

I cosign you on that. I liked Prom Queen, and Weezy aint so bad; he just is being VERY BOLD in the assertion that he's the greatest rapper.

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