observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Why Kanye is good fo RAP

1. People wear blazers instead of those 8XL white Tees

He has returned reasonable fashion to Hip-Hop. What Ricky D did back in the day.
Rappers weren't always so grimy and shabby looking. As Jay Z said 'go get a suit and get it tapered up.' There is nothing wrong with being freshly dipped. Now of course I am turning into a 'corny old Dad' as Alma once said, but still...come on fellas. Plus, avid readers of the SC know that I am former preppie who revels in the blazers, loafers, pink polos and collared shirts.

2. He takes this shit seriously

One thing you have to give him is that he cares about his music and his
career. More rappers than not look at this as 'the game' and they treat
it as such. [I am gonna write a whole piece on this later this week - once Miles takes his nap. THIS IS NOT A GAME, IT IS OUR HERITAGE AND OUR INDUSTRY]

Don't watch their cheese - I know cats who complain about money and forget to cash checks from shows for over 2 YEARS!

Artists who can't stay awake for interviews, miss in store performances. He may be a diva but he is a proffessional. Every interview has a purpose. (You ever see the MTV Storytelling thing or hear the XM Sessions?) Even the
ranting and raving. [I wonder how Common felt about Kanye's proclamation about 'Late Registration' and the Grammy's.]

The professionalism extends to the live show. While he has set changes,
costume changes, string sections, and a world class DJ. Too many rappers
have never seen a rehearsal. Cats are running the same sets for 2 years. It's like a bad Vegas show at The Frontier or something. $10 ticket or $40 ticket same dude holding his nuts in the center of the stage. Maybe you get a 'backup singer', but after that you are short like Rodney Allen Rippey.

3. He tries to get better

Just as rappers make little attempt to develop their business acumen
many do marginally better improving themselves artistically. 80% of
rhymes consist of the following subject matter: 1) I get mad pussy/ I am
a pimp, 2) I used to sell crack, 3) the industry better look out now
that I'm here, 4)the industry sucks because it has not recognized my
immaculate talents. You get a 'I love my momma song' every now and
then, but that's about it.

Musically, the beats are whatever trend is in. Whether that be Madlib,
Just Blaze, J-Dilla and his knockoffs, Premo and the merry troupe of
Primo posers, 'Ye, Lil Jon, Cool and Dre, Scott Storch, Neptunes, etc.
These composers essentially define the soundscape. On Late Registration
Kanye added some instrumetation (in a unique way I cannot recall done by
anyone else). Yes he had the same sped up soul samples, but the
arrangment were careful and rich.

As for his lyrics, most of Kanye's content falls into the aformentioned
categories, but he does give you interesting takes. 'Roses' is a
beautiful take on the I Love My Momma theme. 'Drive Slow' is a personal
and detailed shout out 'to the homies' as out of touch middle aged
newscasters on CNN say. One of my favorite rappers called 'Late' too
'Coldplay'd' out. I assume because of the Maroon 5 cameo among other
things. At least that is better than the knee jerk cameo offer to the
Houston Underground (I know Paul Wall is on the joint. My argument is
not waterproof) or worse.

I was watching Chuck D on the NBA pre-game yesterday and he made a great point in regards to the NBA dress code. He said he didn't mind the NBA trying to control Hip-Hop's influence on the NBA because Hip-Hop cannot even control itself. I will get into that later this week, but that is probably the main reason I am a Kanye fan. He realizes the totality of his career and he approaches it with that bourgie work ethic [did anyone read the end of year XLR8R issue where some cat attacked adult hip-hop. As if wallowing in our own drug use and poverty is Hip-Hop. F**k you! I have a wife, son, mortgage and a business - I am an adult Hip-Hop fan].

And you know what, that is not a bad thing. The sooner we stop acting like homo-erotic pimps with perms and painted nails, or low level crack dealers who wind up fighting off rapists off the coast of Queens, or angst ridden teenagers complaining about their mother's drug use the better off we will be.

[I apologize for the 1st part of this article. It sounded better on the plane back from Vegas. Reading it now it's kind of weak.]


Blogger Joey said...

I'm really ambivalent about Kanye. When he's making records that I like, I love him. But I felt like Late Registration was different just for the sake of it, and I didn't think that the fuller instrumentation really enhanced the hip-hop. Rather, I thought it took Kanye to a different place, somewhere closer to straight pop music and further away from rhymes-over-beats hip-hop.

December 27, 2005 11:13 PM

Blogger Ian said...

I'll tell you what: I listened to "Late Registration" today with fresh ears, and I pretty much found myself thinking all of the things you just wrote before I read them. I think the fact that Kanye tries to improve is his greatest asset; it's obvious that this was a carefully considered album, even though there's about four joints I f-f every time ("Roses," "Hey Mama," "Celebration," the first "Sierra Leone").

December 29, 2005 5:11 PM


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