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

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

hip-hop Curbain

Pretty Ricky circa 1980-something

I spent some time with an industry vet the other day who gave me an interesting take on the current state of Hip-Hop.
He said that Hip-Hop is currently in its hair band stage. T&A with no real value on innovation or content. Party. Enjoy yourself and move on.

Now this wasn’t some big mouth blogger with no chops or some Hip-Hop Nazi with a chip on his/her shoulder. This was a real dude who is responsible for classics from the golden age, the most bubble gum pop you can imagine, and in some small way the Pussycat Dolls. I am not going to blow him up but if you know me and follow those hints it ain’t that hard to figure out.

Anyway, I thought he made a good point. No matter how you cut it we can all agree that no one is out here is trying to be the next Rakim. Crime Mob are no cultural innovators. It’s probably not anywhere on their agenda. Getting paid is first, second and last. Now in each era in hip-hop you can find the blood thirsty capitalist, for sure. And even your favorite underground artist on some level is dying to floss. But what we are seeing is relatively unprecedented. What we are seeing is Hip-Hop’s version of Whitesnake, Poison, Motley Crue, and Cinderella.

From wikipedia - you make the call:
Generally, glam metal has hedonistic lyrics, often focuses on sex, alcohol, and drugs. Many glam metal performers became infamous for their debauched lifestyles, long, teased hair (hence the alternative hair metal tag) and use of make-up, gaudy clothing (chiefly consisting of tight denim jeans, spandex, leather and headbands), and accessories
The visual aspects of some glam metal bands became thought of as appealing to music television, particularly
MTV when it was launched. During the mid-to-late 1980s, glam metal tracks were in heavy rotation on the channel.

Lose the tight denim jeans and spandex and there you have it.

What also strikes me is these hyper masculine figures in both genres with these feminine characteristics that defy their macho image. Spandex and hair spray then, giant women’s earrings and purple furs now.

But old farts (like me) take solace. Our Kurt Cobain is coming. The Hip-Hop equivalent of Grunge is bubbling somewhere in the South Bronx, or Raleigh or Tulsa. If I have learned anything as that as Q-Tip said “Daddy, don’t you know things go in cycles. Bobby Brown is amping like Michael.”

More from wiki, wiki, wiki:
In the early 1990s glam metal's popularity rapidly declined after over a decade of success…Bands who were termed "grunge" such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains (who, ironically, started as a glam metal band) started supplanting glam metal's popularity in 1992. As grunge grew to greater success, many glam metal bands discovered that their labels were no longer supportive. Many major labels felt they had been caught off-guard by the somewhat surprise success of Nirvana's Nevermind, and had begun turning over their personnel in favor of younger staffers more versed in "alternative" music.

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Anonymous Stephanie Elder said...

You make an interesting point, but I think that Crime Mob is the wrong group to pick on. I don't necessarily think that their imperative to rhyme as high school kids was on some straight up get money type stuff. In fact, their biggest hit, "Knuck If You Buck" is basically about kids physically fighting (a song I absolutely love by the way). One of the things that's so interesting about them in this age of solo acts, is the fact that they're a group, and a group with two very confident young ladies at the forefront.
The thing that makes me uncomfortable when people start talking about sex, drugs, and hedonism in music, is that it becomes and either/or proposition, with no space in the middle. When people speak about how hip hop used to be, they tend to paint everything with a positivistic brush, which doesn't give the full picture of what was really going on at the time. While we had Rakim, we also had Slick Rick talking about "treat her like a prostitute". To me the problem isn't the subject matter itself, but rather the lack of balance in the types of subject matter that's being presented to the masses.

May 02, 2007 4:53 PM

Anonymous rafi said...

did sacha create a meme?h

May 02, 2007 5:50 PM

Blogger Swifty said...

maybe I shouldn't pick on Crime Mob. i really don't know their stuff.

I am with you about how we romanticize the past. But that beig said we can still compare and contrast the times and see the difference(s).

and props to Rafi for sharing my point with greater detail and eloquence

May 03, 2007 3:41 PM

Blogger Ian said...


May 03, 2007 8:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I see hip hop today is in three categories.

you have your

Palette Cleanser- Which are the artist, that are just classic their in a league of their own. Whether it's Dilla, Nas, De la, Biggie, 2pac, Rakim ect they are able to pull hip hop from the lowest point at any giving time. I believe lupe was one but everyone jumped on his wagon and weighed it down. So what he didn't know his history the kid was in a lead of his own.

Middle men- They stir up conflict, It's like they learned something new, and worked the hell out of it. Until it's not appealing to them anymore and now they are looking for something else. In other words they came out hardcore, and now their pretty boys. Posers to the game. Confused

Jingles- let's not hate on jingles, artist that put out music that has a dance step to it. 2step, laffy taffy, lean with it rock with it, etc. These artist are no differ then chubby checker- with twist

Peace out,

May 04, 2007 9:00 PM


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