Rap, HipHop And All That Jazz - Why Don't I Like It?

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Postby Owen » 22 Aug 2004, 00:22

Iam wrote:No, sorry. At the very end of the track after the blazing, breathless finish, a female voice says the line above... ;)


Yep, I got the reference but as I edited that post about 12 times in 25 seconds I thought it was about that.

marios

Postby marios » 22 Aug 2004, 02:30

If there is one kind of music that my friends ridicule me for liking (and i'm not the biggest fan by any means) is hip hop. When i say things like "Hey, that new Missy Elliott tune is ace!" or "Really like that Hey Ya tune! Really catchy huh?" they look at me with a blank stare and then say things like "Apparently buying all those records hasn't really helped improve your taste in music much, huh?" or even more eloquently, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" :roll:

It can get frustrating, believe me...but i mostly choose to ignore it. And forget about saying sth like "Paid In Full is a classic album and so is It Takes A Nation Of Millions...". Much laughter ensues, believe me. So, if you think you have it bad then think again.

Regarding the music itself, i don't really have that much to say cause my limited collection of rap albums stops me from having a well-rounded opinion on the matter, but i'll throw in my twopence nonetheless.

My first encounters with rap albums weren't all that successful. I tried the classics, like the Public Enemy records, or some Eric B & Rakim for example but, although i had managed to escape my "hip hop is only good for the radio and the charts" line of thinking, it still didn't click with me for some reason. I liked it but i couldn't connect to what i heard and the skits on some of the albums annoyed me and generally i was able to find a couple of reasons (excuses really) why i shouldn't investigate any further. Then one day, i think it was Owen, who sent me the first NERD album. That was it for me! Later on i discovered The Roots, Common, Outkast etc but what did it for me, what convinced me there was something to like about this music (and more specifically the albums, cause as i said i didn't mind some of the rap singles that frequented the airwaves) were those dirty funky grooves, memorable lines and the delivery of those lines, which wasn't really rapping of course but what matters to me is that it was my gateway album to the genre.

After playing that about 2 dozen times i was able to appreciate the classics even better and also recognise a good hip hop tune when i heard it, even if it was heavy with rapping and scratching and stuff. Stuff like DJ Shadow suddenly seemed very accessible and i could recognise the genuine talent behind such records and artists.

Admittedly, i'm not really into the very popular rap artists, like Tupac, Biggie, DMX and the rest of the gangsta rap crowd but mainly because i think that most often than not they're over the top. Take Eminem for example. The guy has talent, i don't doubt that for a minute. But can i stand listening to whole albums worth of his songs? No. And i have tried, believe me. Some great singles have his name printed on them and i'm sure he might even surprise me and come up with sth even better in the future (although i have my doubts mainly due to the fact that the stuff he does lately kinda suck IMO) but i have difficulty thinking of him as an auteur. A funny word to pop up in a discussion about rap and i realise that, but why not? Why shouldn't people like Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, Talib Kewli, Mos Def, Common, KRS-One and groups such as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions and the Wu-Tang Clan be as widely respected for their songwriting skills as rock songwriters?

It's not just a rhetorical question though. What is it that holds a lot of people back from praising this music, even though they might actually enjoy it? What is the basis for this elitism i hear all of you talking about? Is it the hip hop culture and how most white audiences can't relate to it? In some countries perhaps, but i don't think that point can be generalised. Is it the delivery? Sure, i can understand that actually because to many people if a composition doesn't involve actual "singing" then how can i compare it to "proper songs". It's similar to someone not liking jazz music because a lot of it doesn't sound as structured as "proper music" i guess. And both points have more to do with personal opinion and taste rather than a solid fact. Is it the presentation and the fact that some people find it offensive and tasteless? Again, it's quite possible, but is there such a huge difference between the Isley Brothers' pimpsuits and Outkast's pimpsuits or between The Rolling Stones' misogynistic lyrics and Eminem's misogynistic lyrics?

Surely, it is possible that many music lovers don't feel that the genre had a chance to grow and mature enough to suit their tastes. But a lot of them are also forgetting that DJing/MCing has been around since the late 70s and that it has grown and matured a lot since then. Not all of the rappers/DJs were born with a gun in one hand and a needle in the other but even if they were it still doesn't mean they can't write a good tune. And, essentially, that's what it's all about, right? Being able to write good tunes. It doesn't matter about your social background or how you wanna project yourself through a manufactured image to attract a larger audience, all that's important is being able to deliver the goods.

I admit that if you're over a certain age this music is very difficult to grow on you. If someone was a music fan back when a song was sung (instead of rapped) then will he be able to accept it as a form of music and appreciate it as much as a guy my age (26) who heard hip hop regularly on the radio at an impressionable age (adolescence)? Sounds difficult to me, but i'm not saying there aren't exceptions of course.

I guess my main point is that it's all down to individual taste. There's no right or wrong. If you have genuinely tried to acquaint yourself with hip hop and failed then you haven't lost anything (except perhaps your time but what's new?). If you've tried and succeded then you have definitely benefited from the process. So, what i'm saying is don't stop at some of the songs you hear on the radio or on the chart shows. Dig deeper and go further, ask longtime fans what they think you'd like and take their advice, explore, download, buy, whatever...but don't sit back at a safe distance and be nothing but critical. I'm not saying anyone on this forum is guilty of such a thing of course, i'm just expressing a point about a music style as i would about any music style. Sample first (and in our case we should be ready to sample much more than the average joe) and pass a judgement later. Be as open to new things as you were the first time you delved into jazz, or soul, or country, or classical music or any kind of music that's outside or neighbouring the rock canon.

I don't mean to pontificate nor do i have the misconception that i'm educating anyone here. Sorry if my post read as such, much of it being written in the second person and all but i'm actually talking to myself in the second person i guess (to borrow sth from my sig). I'm mostly saying these things i guess because i need to hear them or see them typed in front of me to realise that i mean them. I'm attacking and questioning myself cause i feel i should be more open to this music than i actually am. In my case it's more of a case of whether or not i am going to spend my limited funds on sth as risky as rap music. Why should i try to investigate into sth i'm not sure about instead of going deeper into genres that i know i like. Why is it necessary to broaden my fuckin horizons? Well, it's not but i used to feel the same about prog and now i'm ordering stuff like Hawkwind, UFO and King Crimson, i used to think the same about jazz and now i'm buying stuff like Mingus, Coltrane and Eric Dolphy, i used to think the same about country and now i'm a fan of people like Cash, Van Zandt, Haggard and Hank Williams, i used to think the same about soul and now i'm knee-deep in Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Aretha, Otis and Al Green records and so on and so on...

It's all about exploring. If you find a New World then you're lucky, if you find a desert then at least you will have learned from the experience and stay away from that course in the future. And don't forget, there's always an Atlantis waiting to be discovered. It might not be there but it's worth going after.

I'm not a Geography teacher by the way, but the shite puns are all mine :lol:

I don't think i've been particularly helpful to any of you (i'll leave that job to Iam, Owen and co.) but i actually feel that thinking this through and writing down my thoughts has helped me put some things into perspective. So at least i haven't wasted my time. Sorry about yours though.

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Postby mentalist (slight return) » 22 Aug 2004, 02:47

Two great current releases

Image

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Postby Jeff K » 22 Aug 2004, 02:49

I could never get used to the talking as opposed to singing. Musicwise, I have no problems with rap. I don't mind the samples, beat and bass . It's only when they open their mouths to well, rap, that I lose interest. I liked rap when it first appeared. Grandmaster Flash, Slick Rick, Eric B. and Rakim, Run-DMC and Public Enemy were fresh and original to me. But now, over 20 years later (hard to believe, isn't it?) it just seems like a dead end. I realize the same can be said about rock n' roll but there's only so much you can do with the hip hop genre that hasn't been done so many times before.

Despite all that, there are still plenty of rap artists out there that I want to check out, the Roots, Common, Ghostface, Madvillain. I will keep an open mind towards it in hopes that one day I'll come around.
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Postby The Write Profile » 22 Aug 2004, 05:25

Jeff K wrote:I could never get used to the talking as opposed to singing. Musicwise, I have no problems with rap. I don't mind the samples, beat and bass . It's only when they open their mouths to well, rap, that I lose interest. I liked rap when it first appeared. Grandmaster Flash, Slick Rick, Eric B. and Rakim, Run-DMC and Public Enemy were fresh and original to me. But now, over 20 years later (hard to believe, isn't it?) it just seems like a dead end. I realize the same can be said about rock n' roll but there's only so much you can do with the hip hop genre that hasn't been done so many times before.

Despite all that, there are still plenty of rap artists out there that I want to check out, the Roots, Common, Ghostface, Madvillain. I will keep an open mind towards it in hopes that one day I'll come around.


While I understand where you are coming from here, and sort of sypathise with your point of view, I feel that hip-hop, potentially is a much more interesting form musically than rock, and open to far more manipulation of sound and sonics. It seems, to me, to be more democratic, as it's not limited by how many chords you can pillage or whatever--but what sort of sounds you can cut up and mix-up.

Maybe, it's just the way things are--I'm a bit younger than you, so, as long as I can remember hip-hop has been pop music-Okay, I've mentioned this book before, but for anyone remotely interested in the genre, and wishes to justify themselves (espescially if they're white, but I don't have to justify myself for liking Solomon Burke, so why do I have to justify myself for liking Public Enemy, it seems somewhat hypocritical...but I digress)


Image

it's written by Patrick neate, who's a very good writer of fictional prose as it is, but this is a very insightful stimulating book. Basically his thesis is that hip-hop is the musical equivalent of globalisation because the language and the sounds can be manipulated and reinterpreted in virtually any culture. He seems to be down on the fact that a lot of intelligent artists sell themselves short--Jay-Z gets a stern bollocking for a chapter because, as Neate sees it, he's a superb MC who doesn't use his lyrical talents for good.

He travels around most corners of the globe (but not New Zealand,if you desire, I'm happy to give you a lowdown on my country in terms of rap music...in fact it's the only aspect of hip-hop I can talk about with anything resembling minor authority), from South Africa (and how he ties it in with the country's still very institutionalised racism is very interesting, to Rio, to New York to Britain.

It's a good read, even if, like me, you're only a minor follower
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Postby -- » 22 Aug 2004, 12:23

Great post, Marios - and that line of artists you've listed from Kweli to Wu-Tang is well impressive.

Don't worry about what anyone else thinks - that goes for all music - just play the stuff you love and enjoy it.

:)

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Postby Toby » 22 Aug 2004, 14:07

I'm not a massive hiphop fan. I don't buy a lot of it, but I appreciate it's worth.

It's all to me about deconstruction or perhaps even reconstruction, which is a theme that is popular in contemporary music from the late seventies onwards. Stripping everything away and then restarting from the beginning. I don't think any record has made quite the impact "Public Enemy No.1" did back in 1987 when I was 13. It just brushed everything to the side and made this stance. Quite unforgettable, and far more "rock 'n' roll" than anything rock 'n' roll had ever done. Public Enemy to me were such an important facet of music at that time.

The most important aspect to me now is that hiphop continues to flourish marvellously despite being the biggest genre in the world. There's enough in the new scene like Buck65, BoomBip, Talib Kweli, Prefuse73, Anticon, DefJux, cLOUDDEAD etc to keep it moving. And just when you think it might get stale, someone will throw it in an entirely new direction. Because, like techno and early forms of electronic music it requires just a beat - that's it - and that central axis of its musical makeup means it can survive and mutate far more quickly and inventively than say, rock, which requires so much more.

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Postby Jeff K » 23 Aug 2004, 15:41

Now this is something I like...

Image

Ghostface comes on like some mad rapper crashing a 70's soul party. As limited as my hip hop collection is, I do tend to like everything by the Wu-tang Clan and their members. But this is the soul /rap crossover I've been looking for. It's so...ummm...DOPE!...yes it is!

Iam will be so proud!
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Postby Guest » 23 Aug 2004, 15:53

I just realized reading through this thread that I grew up with hip hop and look forward to growing old with it too.

I love it all from the commercial stuff, to the gangsta stuff and all the way down to the local guys trying to make some change.

And I don't even care if people make fun of me for listening to the new Jadakiss. I just might make fun of you back for kissing your Wishbone Ash records every night before you go to sleep.

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Postby -- » 23 Aug 2004, 15:56

Jeff K wrote:Now this is something I like...

Image

Ghostface comes on like some mad rapper crashing a 70's soul party. As limited as my hip hop collection is, I do tend to like everything by the Wu-tang Clan and their members. But this is the soul /rap crossover I've been looking for. It's so...ummm...DOPE!...yes it is!

Iam will be so proud!


Woo hoo! Good choice. Ghost is probably just about the most adventurous of the Wu, and that's his most radical departure from their work yet. Damn good party Hip Hop record it is, too. :D

Nate, how's the Jadakiss?

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Postby Guest » 23 Aug 2004, 15:57

Iam wrote:Nate, how's the Jadakiss?

It's still not up to the LOX standards. He's doing more of the laid back party anthems, which I think is cool and he does it well.

The best one I have heard yet this year though is either that Ghostface or Kool Keith's Diesel Truckers record.

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Postby sloopjohnc » 23 Aug 2004, 16:17

Man, there have been some really eloquent posts on this.

I'm 43, white, from the suburbs and like hip-hop the same as I like rock, folk, reggae, C&W

My 46, African-American brother-in-law from upstate NY barely tolerates it, but then he has to hear lots more of it with my nephews, his 19 and 17 year old sons, around.

My brother-in-law will occasionally throw on a Run DMC album, but that's about it. Otherwise, it's heavy on the 60's and 70's soul.

My 17 yr. old nephew hates commercial rap and only listens to underground stuff or stuff he considers more valid like Hieroglyphics and Del the Funkee Homosapien.

My 19 yr. old nephew, on the other hand, listens to DMX, Twista and Nelly. So go figure.

Even though my brother-in-law grew up in a house with soul music exclusively playing all day, the only way I can explain it was there was a definite cut-off point where my ears were more open than his because I was younger when I was exposed to hip-hop.

Hip-hop exploded around the same time indie music exploded in the US (out here in SF Bay Area anyway) and I was just as excited about Whodini and Afrika Bambaata as I was The Dead Kennedys or Black Flag.

Even though there's only a three year difference, I was still in college by the time he was out and in the workforce where his exposure to lots of other young people and new sounds diminished significantly.

Whether it's high school or college, when you're pressed together with other young people, and all that different kind of music is mixing and matching, it's bound to have an influence.

I concur with all the recommendations like Talib Kweli, The Roots, etc. as ways of getting into rap. License to Ill by the Beastie Boys is still a good way to get into rap as it samples lots more rock stuff and is funny, witty, etc. That and Run DMC's version of Walk This Way was kinda the crossing-over point for most widespread exposure to rap in the US. Meaning white folks could get into it too (and buy it!).

If you want to get into vis-a-vis more the soul-singing route, I'd recommend any of Anthony Hamilton's albums. He sings over alot of current artists raps and might be a good backdoor in.

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Postby -- » 23 Aug 2004, 19:38

nathan wrote:
Iam wrote:Nate, how's the Jadakiss?

It's still not up to the LOX standards. He's doing more of the laid back party anthems, which I think is cool and he does it well.

The best one I have heard yet this year though is either that Ghostface or Kool Keith's Diesel Truckers record.


Yeah, the LOX always came across as a little silly to me when they did the gangsta stuff (but hey, they were a Bad Boy act, so big shocker) but I like the more laid back stuff they did and I like his first solo album too and the stuff Styles has done with various people - the track with Pharoah Monche a couple of years back was fantastic.

Hip Hop fact - been up since 5.30 this morning, I'm absolutely knackered and I'm sat here listening to OST by People Under The Stairs and I keep having to get up and have a little bop around the living room. Mmmmmmmmm, that's why I love it, folks (but I'm still a crap dancer).

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Postby The Write Profile » 23 Aug 2004, 21:59

The Roots— The Tipping Point
(Geffen)
In less than three years, The Roots have gone from a critically-respected underground hip-hop band to being the most sought-after rhythm section in contemporary pop music. In response to the 79-minute, anything-goes eclecticism of 2002's Phrenology, The Tipping Point is a more contained 10 tracks/55-minutes and Shpromises much, especially on opening track Star , but never quite attains their previous (stratospheric) heights.

On Star, a sample from the chorus Sly & The Family Stone’s Everybody is A Star is coupled with The Roots’ trademark rhythmic style, which alternates between basic funk to loose reggae. As the band plays, lead MC "Black Thought" raps about how popular music is failing as a vehicle for social commentary. The track succeeds because its preaching is articulately controlled. One of the flaws with the album is that it flirts with self-righteousness, and its anti-materialist sentiments would be even more refreshing if they were able to provide a lasting alternative. For instance, Web takes a simple percussionist beat (provided by drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thomson) and allows Black Thought to spit a sequence of frenetic braggadocio that’s both exhilarating and empty.

Final track Why (What’s Goin’ On?), is essentially a free-form jam session divided into three sections, shows that The Roots’ greatest asset is not their sentiments, but the music itself. Not the quite high-watermark release that one would expect from The Roots, but an entertaining album regardless, and one worth investigating.

3 ½ /5

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Postby Guest » 23 Aug 2004, 22:05

In my opinion it's all been downhill for the Roots since their first record. Though the live album was a blessing.

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Postby -- » 23 Aug 2004, 22:10

Cor, you're a difficult man to please, Nate.

So you don't like Illadelph Halflife, Things Fall Apart or Phrenology at all, then?

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Postby Guest » 23 Aug 2004, 22:19

Iam wrote:Cor, you're a difficult man to please, Nate.

So you don't like Illadelph Halflife, Things Fall Apart or Phrenology at all, then?

The newest one is poo but I do like all of them. I just think they perfected what they have with the first one and every one since doesn't seem to capture the magic of the debut.

Except of course the live record. I consider that one of the finest hip hop releases of all time.

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Postby -- » 23 Aug 2004, 22:21

nathan wrote:
Iam wrote:Cor, you're a difficult man to please, Nate.

So you don't like Illadelph Halflife, Things Fall Apart or Phrenology at all, then?

The newest one is poo but I do like all of them. I just think they perfected what they have with the first one and every one since doesn't seem to capture the magic of the debut.

Except of course the live record. I consider that one of the finest hip hop releases of all time.


Word.

I love those three, too, though. They make me wanna boogie. At their peak, in their best moments, they have it all - funk, soul, intelligence and some really, really good songs.

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Postby Guest » 23 Aug 2004, 22:27

I should say that when I first heard the debut in 1994 I was absolutely floored. It might be a nostalgia thing too. I just remember being so hurt and disappointed with Illadelph Halflife when that came out.

Kind of like the disappointment with Wu-Tang Forever. Sure they are good in their own way but no where near the previous record. :(

Half of Things Fall Apart bores me to tears and Phrenology seemed like a record for the hipsters and that turned me off in a big way.

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Postby zoomboogity » 24 Aug 2004, 07:09

Comrade Copehead wrote:SchoolyD, SpooneeG


My new hip-hop name: SpoogeyZ
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"Quite."