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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Indo and Oregano

I can’t think of another rapper that I don’t like that I talk about more than Lil’ Wayne. I guess in some bizarre way that means I actually do like him. And I suppose I do. If for nothing else I like him for the discussions that his mere presence sparks. And this weekend was another instance where the dreaded rapper with the lean cup and more tats than even I can take got my blood pressure up. It lead me to this revelation.

I understand his appeal completely; similar to how I now understand the appeal of MIA. My problem is that their appeal has little to do with their fundamental abilities. By fundamental abilities I mean lyrics, creativity, and that amorphous ‘niceness.’ The qualities I was taught to respect as a youth in The Bronx. Qualities exhibited by Rakim, KRS, Kool G Rap, Ice Cube, Big Daddy Kane, Common, Chuck D and the usual cast of lauded characters. However, the game is different today. Now these basic skills are simply not as important. What one needs to succeed is the ‘package.’ The total package in a Lex Luger sort of way. And it makes sense. Hip-Hop as a business has grown exponentially since the late 80’s to now. The simple days where a genre breaking lyricist like Rakim could thrive despite his lack of media savvy is over. Now you need swagger. A story. It is more about packaging your comprehensive human brand. And that is why this is the time of Lil Wayne, Jay, 50, and MIA.

Arguments made by purists like myself fall on deaf ears:

Arguments like compare these lyrics,

Okay start straight shots and then pop bottles
Pour it on the models, shut up bitch swallow
If you cant swallow, shut up bitch gargle
Straight up out the water wit my Mark Jacob's goggles
I’m fresher than a muf**ka, yup I’m a muf**ka
No I wouldn't take ya girl but I sure'd take her tongue from her
Could you tell I love woman, like no other woman
Oh I’m sorry sweetheart, I thought you were my other woman
Lil Wayne‘Pop Bottles’

With these

I done burned some of the most fattest MC's like chromium percolinate
It's not even tangible for them to understand or hold the weight
It takes soul to make a crowd animated
Prince stated, ‘can’t wait 'til we get off that label’
Man I waited twelve months for the perfect opportunity
To thump (thump) bump (bump) something love for my community
I'm moving on all you punk Bambino bastards
Your style's depleted like muscles without amino acids
I blast kids with mass times matter
Forever clinging to endeavors defined, clever words
thus waiting never, frustrating verbs to rip
My rap ratings eradicate
For me to take rhythms and mate 'em with rhymes in mating season
Creating shit never before made it
I'm making hybrids
Pharoahe Monch, ‘Questions’ from The Equinox

This my friends, is as KRS says, ‘The difference between Indo and Oregano.’ Not only a great lyric from the greatest of all time but a truly appropriate metaphor or analogy. Both Monche and Wayne could be mistaken for one another by an uneducated consumer. (Not physically of course but in so much as they are both MC’s.) Similar to Indo and Oregano. Each serves a very distinct purpose. Depending on your needs picking the wrong one will ruin your experience. (Although I have never sprinkled weed on my pizza.). Replacing oregano for Indo is the same as replacing Wayne for Monch. The former is easier to produce, harvest, and distribute. You can move the former in significantly larger quantities to the public than the latter.

No matter what witty comparisons one comes up with the truth remains. The two products should not be confused. They each have value whether your needs are clandestine or wholesome. But comparing the two on virtually any level will lead to an intellectual dead end.

My personal recommendation is when you want to get high I suggest you roll up an ‘L’ of that Monch. That oregano will make you sick.

So to all of you who believe Lil Wayne is the greatest of all time and grow weary of this old fart’s stories about the glory days, I understand. I won’t stop, but I understand. But let’s make a deal. Let’s stop comparing Indo to oregano.

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Anonymous Stephanie Elder said...

I like the way you fleshed this out, but where do you place "Simon Says" in all of this?

January 30, 2008 4:47 PM

Blogger Wes said...

still 'Indo' as far as party songs go

January 30, 2008 4:52 PM


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