Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Music is the New Movie
Is it me or is rap music more eventful than it is meaningful nowadays?
I swear everyday I'm hearing about some new event, or an event disguised as a song. Tip got arrested (again), Kanye is going off on twitter (again). Another dumb ass rapper banged Kat Stacks. Rick Ross has a song with Nicki Minaj, Drake, Puff Daddy and Swizz Beatz did the beat. Drake has a new song with Puff Daddy, Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross with Jay-Z on the remix and Kanye doing the beat.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no longer what you would consider a spring chicken. I've been walking to the globe long to "have seeeen some shit now" as Dave Chappelle once quipped. That said, there are plenty of events that got us talking and/or shaped the future of Hip Hop and rap. Ice Cube leaving NWA. KRS-ONE bumrushing PM Dawn off the stage. 'Pac and Biggie. Dr. Dre leaving Death Row.
In addition to that there were plenty of songs that we pretty big deals when they came out, like "The Symphony," "Scenario (remix)," "Who Shot Ya (remix)" or anything DMX breathed on in 1997-98.
But I don't know man, it could be my age bias talking, but it just seemed "different." Matter of fact, I pretty much know it was different. "Events" were once things that mattered, but didn't trump the music itself. When Cube left NWA and Dre left Death Row, in the interviews that followed, the first thing they let you know was they had new music coming out that was gonna change the world (Cube did this immediately, it took Dre a little longer).
Plus, when an event happened, it was really a big deal because most of the time, we'd hear it straight from the horse's (sober, calm, articulate) mouth and it was presented a certain way via magazine or MTV News.
Nowadays an "event" is two of these cats crossing paths at the strip club, sneaker store or VIP section in the club. Sometimes they don't even have to say anything to each other and that will be the event itself. "Gucci didn't speak to Jeezy at the club!" Then when an event like this happens, we get to see the people involved bitch about it on twitter, youtube, WSHH or wherever else that type of behavior is welcome. Or of course hear it from some gossiping bitches.
As far as the "event" songs, I'm not saying nothing new when I say that technology has allowed for cats who never even met, let alone be in the studio at the same time, to make music. In some cases, its great. In others, its just...so the f*ck what? You proved you can record a verse for a guy in Miami while your on tour in L.A. Congratulations, you can work a computer in 2010.
I remember interviewing Busta Rhymes a couple of years ago and we got on the topic of rappers hopping on every damn remix or feature that comes their way. Busta was blunt in his answer saying he has a family to support and that he feels that he is still relevant and talented enough to keep rapping. Bun B gave me a similar answer one of the times I talked with him also. Which I feel them on. Granted, not every Busta feature is my favorite but unlike so many of his peers do from time to time, you can tell Busta came on the song to actually rap and not just do it just to say "yeah, I'm rapping, on this song, too."
But the part that stuck out to me the most in our conversation was when he admitted that hopping on a DJ Khaled song didn't feel the same as recording a song like "Scenario." Mainly because, when he and the rest of The Leaders of the New School hopped on the song with A Tribe Called Quest, they were all in the studio AT THE SAME TIME. Not just the studio room itself, BUT THE BOOTH. He said, that's why the verses and adlibs were so animated. They did the entire song in full takes, top to bottom, in the booth together...stank weed breath and all.
To further illustrate this point. Really, outside of maybe "I'm So Hood" from a few years ago, "Swagga Like Us" from not to long ago and lets say, "Hello, Good Morning" now...do you feel compelled to listen to any of these super event songs on your own time? Sure, we all listen to it at least once (twice if we actually like it) on whatever blogsite we found it on. But did any of you listen to "Monster" today? Would you go apeshit in the club if the DJ played it tonight? If you answered yes...congrats! You are better than me because I buy none of this stuff.
I know its not far-fetched to think this...but I swear all of these super rappers of today have the same managers and interests so they all just make music with each other and drink Ciroc while doing it.
These folks have succeeded in making Hip Hop a big ass movie packed with events...but not moments. You go to the movies on a Friday night and probably forget about the flim by Sunday unless somebody asks if you saw it. Same thing with alot of the music now. You'll hear it once on Tuesday afternoon and won't think about again unless you follow said artist on twitter.
But yeah...I don't rap or make beats. So I'll never understand "what's going on." All I can do observe and share my thoughts with whoever is listening. What do ya'll think?