Friday, August 22, 2008

Who Killed It?

I am a fan of SOHH. I've been reading it since I discovered back around 1999/2000 or so. I have the RSS feed linked to my Outlook box at work so I can take a gander at Hip-Hop news and blog entries without losing that much productivity. So when the latest blog entry from Flx for the southern focused Dirty Blog hit my feed lines about his take on hip-hop being alive, his writing sparked something in me to respond. Flx, I understand what you're saying but I must respectfully disagree. I'm not going to go into this generally, just a point by point rebuttal is all.

The argument, primarily started by Nas a couple years ago, is hip-hop is dead vs hip-hop is alive & thriving. The back & forth to this argument has caused beefs, heated debates and kurfuffles but it seems like each side holds steady to their beliefs while not trying to understand the other side.

Let me put this bluntly, Hip-Hop, in it's truest form and by pure definition is DEAD.. Now why do I say that? Because the term Hip-Hop refers to a culture that houses 4 elements (KRS-One would say 5, but let's stick with the classic definition). 2 of those elements are on life-support and the last two have, in the overall sense, transformed into an unrecognizable forms of themselves, would you not agree Flx? Sales matter now MORE THAN EVER and there is hardly ANY respect for the art. When ringtone sales sparks more discussion then what the artist says on the song made into a ringtone, something's wrong.

First off, pull any young bul whippin his mama's car banging the latest Lil Wayne he downloaded off of one of the New Music Cartel's sites and ask him, "What are the 4 elements of Hip-Hop". I'll put money down and say he can't name them, I'll double down and say not even 2. It's because of this the fundamentals of the culture are thrown out of wack. Jazz may not be as strong of a genre as it was before the 80s/90s but the fundamentals are still there, same with Rock (although they'd might have a similar argument to this one with the rise of EMO music), same with Lo-Fi, same with Techno, etc.

You say there is more variety than ever. On a certain level you're right, but overall, I disagree. As SOON as some rapper finds a tiny iota of success you have 15 rappers out doing the same thing and that fad FLOODS the airwaves (radio, tv, youtube, etc). So as soon as we get something thats different, the climate is such that we have copycats immediately and it becomes a fad and the variety disappears.

Soulja Boy. Here's where I'd say a few southern cats get irked because they don't understand the criticisms leveraged at him. No, it is NOT Soulja Boy's fault for the downfall of Hip-Hop (I'll save who I blame for another day), BUT Soulja is simply the poster boy for everything wrong with the culture and, honestly & unfortunately, there's no one else to blame at this time.

And do me a favor, DO NOT compare "Yahh" to "Parent's Just Don't Understand". One has situations that kids today may/may not still be able to relate to, the other is complete nonsensical gibberish, although hilarious. Mims said it best and Soulja followed it, "I can make a mill saying nothing on the beat". Soulja Boy has done nothing to broaden the genre. He's only created a new fad for new dudes to run with until they run it into the ground.

The underground has and will always thrive, no matter how for under the ground it keeps getting pushed. So no argument there. As far as independence, I wouldn't call it a trend that Slim Thug is starting. I'd say Rawkus, Landspeed, Stones Throw and the current king Koch are good examples of independence that can go right (Koch, Stones Throw) and when it can nose dive (Rawkus, Landspeed).

I think I'm rambling now so I'll end this entry with this: Hip-Hop is either dead or dying, but Rapping IS doing fine and the business of rapping is better than ever.

I'll leave you all with the brilliant "Who" by Joe Budden.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As well as possible!