Every week there is something different rising from the depth of my thoughts; this week I’m going to do something I don’t do often…RANT
This is a sideways glance at music and what I miss. Before I continue please know that this piece is meant to evoke thought and inspire the masses to inquire about their current position in life, happiness and the pursuit of music. So if you don’t REALLY love sound bytes, breaking, crowd control, street corner store front battles, or respect the power of the emcee, this might not be the post for you. However if you are a music fan, please read on.
Sound seeped through my sliding glass door and woke me from a much needed nap. As my ears and eyesight focused I realized I was listening to, “It was a clear black night, a clear white moon Warren G” The lyrics faded as the vehicle passed, but we all recognize those words from the Cult Classic Regulator by Warren G. Which made me wonder, where are we going with this? You know, hip-hop, rap, and music in general. There has been and continues to be a great chasm in fad, fashion and what sells from what use to sell.
I miss when people were original. When artists were performers not afraid of scuffing up their white on white tennis shoes. Before Gucci starting putting its material on Air Forces, and people started making tennis shoes a high priced trend. When a pair of Jordans didn’t cost you your phone, light and gas bill money. Before Puffy (a.k.a. Shinny Suit Man) got into the industry. Before Jenny hit the block, when Common still had Sense and was talking about, “I met this girl, when I was ten years old, and what I loved most she had so much soul”, or when Eric B. and Rakim rocked the mic with, “I seen her in the subway, on my way to Brooklyn. Hello good looking…” Before club hits consisted of Rack City repeats, and putting a molly in her drink was popular.
Hip-hop and rap use to seem tangible, now it seems like we are just Window Shoppers. Is the industry about music or money? I believe its a color issue. However, I am not speaking of the color of people’s skin; but the color in their wallet. Have we let the commercials, and industry pimps move us from passion to paper and plastic? If the pioneers of rap/hip-hop were still doing it big could today’s hardcore moneymakers make the cut? I mean really these guys are seemingly more content with groupies walking around in their clothing lines, and endorsing bottle poppin’ than they are worried about the content of their songs and the longevity of their music. 20 years from now we will be singing hooks to songs like, ” S-T-U-P-I-D when we go to the club we don’t need no ID”? Or verses like, “I can turn a crack rock into a mountain.”?
Back to the lecture at hand. Perfection is perfected so I’ma let em understand. From a young Gs perspective… Actually Im going to skip his perspective and give you mine.Today we have tennis shoe pimp in white tees, blue jeans and air max, 2 chainz and too much Moscato sipping. I’m not mad that money is being made, matter of fact I envy how effortlessly these 2 second bangers are being shoveled into main stream music and make massive bucks. I’m just saying there is nothing memorable about 50 to 100 rappers out there with a throw back cap, black t-shirt, and a platinum or gold chain around their neck.
Now that I have your attention let me make a STATEMENT. I did not have any Haterade, before I wrote this, nor do I have a PhD (Player Haters Degree). I’m not thrashing the new era of moneymakers because sometimes change is good. I respect artists and originality.
It seems as if today our music consists of cardboard cut out formulas. FLY BEAT + CATHCY HOOK = COMMERCIAL HIT. Why can’t we take it back to when there was substance like Big Mommas collard greens and yams? I am hungry and trying to be fed. It’s like eating lobster, shrimp, steak and potatoes 364 days out of the year, only to have Taco Bell on the 365th.
What happened to people writing rhymes about life, survival and the struggle? Of course a person can’t always be struggling but PEOPLE will always have struggles, we need something to relate to. Not everyone can relate to poppin a molly and sweating. How many of you truthfully can relate to that? Does anybody remember block parties bumping Brand Nubian? (I apologize, I had a flashback) All I’m hearing is redundant lyrics talking about money, hoes, drugs and alcohol. Necklaces adorned with spinning pieces that can double as car accessories. Does anyone battle or freestyle anymore?
What happened to the rush you get from the crowd when you on the block free flowing off the head, beat boxing, breaking and battling for RESPECT of your craft, not groupies? Then to add to the societal backlash I come across more people on a quest for a contract than anything else. 12 year old kids in mad rush for a record deal but can barely read and won’t pick up a book. At this rate we are literally Get Rich Or Die Trying
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve survived my rant. What are your thoughts on the state of music today?