Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hip Hop Classic

I've been listening to a lot of old-school hip-hop lately. I love the fact that back in the '80s and early '90s, a hip-hop artists was judged on lyrical content and not by how many units they sold.

That isn't to say that gangsta rap killed lyricism or anything. Gangsta rap had its start with Boogie Down Production's Criminal Minded - and that was during the Queensbridge/South Bronx beef in, like, '86! Lyricism is proven to exist alongside hardcore lyrics. A well-crafted description of a homicide is cool to listen too - and I don't care if you flippin' hate gangsta rap, you're going to be hypnotized by the way someone like Rakim or Nas or Pastor Troy details murder.

Lyricism died down with hip-hop going mainstream. Simple sells. Well. "Crank Dat": DUMBEST FUCKING LYRICS EEEEEVVVVVVVVVVVAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRR! But it sold. Soulja Boy knows his audience. Catchy hooks, dancing, and pseudo-gangsta lyrics will get play in the clubs, school dances, and radio. Sappy/Sensual rap + females = big sales. Hip-hop is just the latest in a line of music genres who have seemingly lost their edge with commercialization. That's just the way the music business works; the song will sell more if its simple, danceable, and a little controversial.

Now that I've got my rant out the way, I want to show my appreciation to old-school hip-hop. Old-school to me means anything before 2005, my senior year in high school. I know that's not a very big timespan, but that's also a defining point in time. Anyway, stuff like The Slim Shady LP, Get Rich Or Die Trying, Stillmatic, The Blueprint, and Through Yo' Hood Up define my early life. And keep in mind that I haven't touched on Paid In Full, Straight Outta Compton, The Chronic, Face Off (Pastor Troy's Album), We Can't Be Stopped, or even Raising Hell. Whether talking production - wise or lyrically - speaking, these albums shaped every cafeteria emcee and wanna-be thug in middle and high school. Yelling "YYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!" was still acceptable. I'm Serious bumped caddys and fords. And we still were a little unknown down south besides Outkast. I don't know; I just miss how back when I was a high school freshman no one was talking about how the south killed hip-hop.

I started this blog early in the morning. It's now almost 8PM. I've gotten distracted. Time to listen to Radio and MM...Food.