Hip hop at one time was the most innovative and groundbreaking art form when first birthed in the streets of New York. A time when DJ's used to have battles with their equipment rigged to jack their juice from street light wiring. A time before the misogyny and gang influence made it what mainstream hip hop is today. The originators of swagger! What has swagger evolved to? There are those few who are looking to take a retrospective approach when conjuring up new sounds and ideas,mixing the old with the new if you will. But this lust to be different may be taking the hip hop down a pastel road some purist loath.
What is Hip Hop to me? I think my favorite artist put it in to perspective to me with one of his line from Stankonias "Humble Mumble"
I met a critic
I made her **** her draws
She said she thought Hip Hop was only guns and alcohol
I said "Oh hell naw!" but yet it's that too
You can't discriminate because you done read a book or two
Like so many I love my introspective Outkast's, Tribe , Common ,Talib but then I love the contradictory nature of Pac or Ghetto Boy's. Some of their greatest work is their battle within facing these contradictions life brings on all,which gets no realer to me. Its a human attribute we all are guilty of.
The point I'm getting to here is today's rappers lack of humility and blatantly over dramatization thier message in their so so music. This happens when one believes their own hype. Genius is a word that is being carelessly tossed around and as a fan I"m tired of it!
This problem is so ridiculous rappers are starting to believe their own 'hype" it's almost comedic. This struck me last night as I watched the American Music awards. As Kanye West trotted on stage to receive his award for Best Rap Male he almost seemed to be a caricature of himself. He sported a old school Pastel letterman type jacket with bright colors and pants my 16 year old little sister would struggle to fit into. I ask where is the Kanye who first got at us "Through The Wire". There is no doubt production wise he is great...genius is going to far. He along with countless others cannot be serious with their self induced bravado's! Kanye made some valid points in his acceptance speach on stage and I too believe that music needs to be pushed. But ended with "I want to be Elvis". This statment came of comedic rather than the ending of an overexagerrated epic monologue ,which is the effect I know he intended. Say what you will about Elvis, without him there is no hip hop today. He took black blues rock and pumped it into the mainstream like NWA did with gangsta rap. Kayne West is nothing close to being in the same arena with any of the aforementioned artist. At what point does he want to be just him. I know he loves him some him.
The same can be said of Lil Wayne. This kid is so full of himself his music and overexposure has gotten to my last nerve. Ive read articles were dude really thinks he is the second coming of Bob Marley. Better than most MC's , these cats cannot be fukking serious. If anyone of this generation wishes to be spoken of in the same breath ,then their material has to be taken to another level along with how they are perceived in the public eyet. One would believe Kanye is a overgrown conceded baby who thinks more of himself then he deserves. I mean come on? What have you done that is so groundbreaking? Your hits are about Gold Diggers and you experiencing the "Good Life". Now I know he has done more than that but nothing in his catalog can be compare to "Get Up,Stand Up", "Imagine" or "Brenda's Got A Baby" for that matter. West seems so consumed of the travails of his own image he oft forgets what got him there. In my opinion his new single where he is singing lacks any innovation or luster. Sound like a Phil Collins B side at best. Its coming to a point that his sheat is going to get played off his name alone.
Well in conclusion this blog was partly for me to vent and partly for me to get this group active again. I leave you with this and its one of my favorite quotes from Churchill ,
"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse."
The bullsheat facade of ones hype must be derailed before hip hop becomes a pretentious shell of what it used to be. Make music with the intent of creating genius rather thinking you are one because of what you may create. One!