Friday Fun Link: The Least Hard-Core Thing A Rapper Has Ever Said. Ever.

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Surely it's Kanye West blogging about his already-infamous performance at Bonaroo, where he showed up two hours late and was heckled offstage.

"I'm typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!!"

This, I think, gets at a flaw in Mickey Kaus's hope that "Obama's election will kill off much of hip-hop, at least the gangsta-inspired parts." Gangsta is pretty much dead already; mainstream hip-hop is aspirational, in a sort of silly way—all about nice clothes, palatial homes, and lording it over people who have less than you. I can't remember the last hit I heard that could be reasonably classified as gangsta, or that was even as political as mid-70s Isley Brothers tracks, much less early-90s Ice Cube. The primoridial inspiration for modern hip-hop—the stuff that sells, at least—is not N.W.A, but New Edition. Soft, slightly ridiculous party music. Take the example of Lil' Wayne, one of the worst MCs on the planet, whose new album is the best-selling disc of the year. How does he thank his fans? By going on an extended analogy about the joy of elementary school book drives.

(Via Amanda Mattos.)

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  1. Lil Wayne is one of the worst MCs on the planet? You’ve either never listened to his music or know nothing about rap.

  2. Stick to politics, Weigel. Nobody can keep a straight face when nerdy white guys put forth opinions on the state of modern hip-hop.

  3. Kanye Sucks!

    No, don’t break your Mac Book Air, you pompous little baby.

    I waited until 4:30 am to see that dick hole’s disappointingly lame show at Bonnaroo. I bailed with everyone else when the sun came up at 5:30.

    Kanye definitely has no idea how to put on a show. Maybe after he gets a crew that knows how to put his stage together and he gets all of the sand out of his vagina he’ll be a better performer.

  4. Nobody can keep a straight face when nerdy white guys put forth opinions on the state of modern hip-hop

    Right, only non-nerdy black guys can appreciate said music. Are you always this stupid? Post again so we can find out.

  5. Nobody can keep a straight face when nerdy white guys put forth opinions on the state of modern hip-hop.

    Ralph Nader? Is that you?

  6. I won’t completely disregard the first two posters, but will assert that I probably know as much about hip-hop as the two of them combined. Weezy is one of the best emcees in the game within his sub-genre. That being said, if Weigel is into Avantrap and alternative hip-hop, I could see why he’d say Li’l Wayne is one of the worst rappers in the game (his flow is fine, but lyrically, Li’l Wayne is probably only a little above average). 1) The syrup can’t be good for a young man’s brain, and by all accounts, Wayne is sippin’ too much. 2) 33% or so of the best MCs in the game happen to be “nerdy white guys”. 3) As far as I can tell, the very worst emcees in the game are Hurricane Chris and Soulja Boy Tell Em.

  7. see: anticon., avanthop, Definitive Jux, Lupe Fiasco, Dungeon Family, the Roots, Common Sense, Sir Menelik, et al.

  8. I can’t remember the last hit I heard that could be reasonably classified as gangsta, or that was even as political as mid-70s Isley Brothers tracks, much less early-90s Ice Cube.

    Funny thing is the more political rap groups (Blackalicious comes to mind) attract a mostly white following. Same with many of the artists that still rap about violence and dealing drugs (like the Clipse). Regardless of his hip-hop acumen, I gotta agree with Weigel that the common denominator in today’s hip-hop isn’t misogyny or gang-bangin’, it’s how the track sounds in the club.

  9. There are 100s of artists pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop can be, but I feel that Li’l Wayne stays pretty safely within genre conventions. That being said, I haven’t heard The Carter III.

  10. I gotta agree with Weigel that the common denominator in today’s hip-hop isn’t misogyny or gang-bangin’, it’s how the track sounds in the club.

    You’re right in that the two divergent trends in hip-hop seem to be to make “pure” club joints or to be consciously intellectual and challenging.

  11. Speaking as a very nerdy and very white guy. The only time I ever paid attention to hip-hop was for “baby got back”. Nothing about hip-hop looks remotely attractive to this burb dweller.

    So tell me. Is wearing you pants around your knees still in style? Because that has got to be the stupidest fashion trend ever, and I lived through the 70’s.

  12. Damn, Warren….”Baby Got Back”? Old School.

    Nah, the fashion trend these days is to dress like a prep, but be covered in tats.

  13. Tha Carter III is wonderful and Lil Wayne is awesome.

    If you’re white and especially white and nerdy, don’t give your opinion on hip hop unless it’s by any of the following:

    – Sir Mix-A-Lot
    – Eminem
    – Will Smith
    – MC Hammer
    – Weird Al
    – Vanilla Ice
    – Beastie Boys

    And even then, make sure you only express your opinion to your white friends.

    Lastly, if you’re white (looking at you, Weigel!), pick up The Cool Kids.

  14. FUCK. My link didn’t work.

    I meant to say: pick up The Bake Sale by The Cool Kids.

  15. Um, gun talk and all that crap is still all over hip-hop. You clearly don’t listen to it, so don’t strain yourself trying to provide commentary on it.

  16. Hip hop is just a parody of everything it once was at this point.

    Its turned into a 21st Century minstrel show. There, I said it.

  17. KT, gun talk and bragadaccio is damn near obligatory (to an extent) for rappers. (Not that you’re wrong).

    No Name Guy, if you’re talking about mainstream hip-hop, you’re right to an extent. Rappers comment on this all the time.

    Dan Reeves: The Cool Kids are pretty good. May I also suggest Kids in the Hall (not the comedy troupe)?

    Full Disclosure: Nerdy Black Guy.

  18. Yeah I’m talking about mainstream Art.

    Alternative hip hop still has good stuff, for sure. But I think its going to become a completely separate genre soon with another name.

  19. bragadoccio*

  20. braggadocio*

  21. No Name Guy, I think pop music (top 40 Clear Channel) pretty much sucks these days, period.

  22. True, but most of the top 40 is mainstream hip hop. Thus it gets most of the blame.

    Top 40 isn’t the problem. Theres always been crap on it, but there used to be at least *Some* good music on top 40 radio and MTV. No More.

  23. EX., name five good mainstream hip hop albums to come out in the last ten years. Name one, even.

  24. There’s still occasionally something good on MTV2. But I find more good music via internet, film and word-of-mouth than I do by watching TV, that’s for sure.

    And Bill Cosby was right.

  25. the more political rap groups […] attract a mostly white following. Same with many of the artists that still rap about violence and dealing drugs

    Really white, Bonaroo/Burning Man white, white people, like Shilly D, like (or “like” and showily endorse) the kind of stereotypically “authentic” hip-hop they think black people should like, safe in the knowledge that they don’t. So they can even go to the shows, where black people, if present, are confined to the stage, surrounded by white self-congratulation.

    Whatever smattering of actual black people may appear in such audiences signal their tameness with Urkel glasses and fake white-guy dreads…because that’s the best-percentage strategy for scoring really white pussy.

  26. he showed up two hours late

    Wasn’t there, don’t care. But didn’t Pearl Jam’s act run an hour overtime, pushing back subsequent acts? I may be wrong, as I read about it on the innertubes.

  27. No Name Guy, too easy.

    Aesop Rock “None Shall Pass”
    Lupe Fiasco “The Cool”
    Wu-Tang Clan “The W”
    Eminem “The Marshall Mathers LP”
    Outkast “Aquemini”
    Big Punisher “Capital Punishment”

    OK, that’s six.

  28. I agree with some of those.

    Come to think of it, its still in better shape than mainstream rock music at least *shudders*.

  29. Disclosure:

    Nerdy jock (if that makes any sense) white guy.

  30. Yeah, I don’t know if any of those albums are “great” except maybe “Capital Punishment” and “Aquemini”, but they’re definitely all worth a listen. “Te Cool” is my favorite “mainstream” album in awhile.

    As for rock…yeah, it’s true I listen to mostly older music. I got into New Wave an glam. The only thing that saved my respect for hip-hop was a lot of the artier, underground stuff I started to notice and that my buddies in college introduced me to.

  31. Even among great rap artists, though, I’ve notcied that there are many great songs, but seldom great albums. Good albums are even rare enough.

    Out of curiosity, what’s the most recent rock album that you considered really, really good?

  32. Art, there hasn’t been a great American rock band with wide popularity since Guns ‘N Roses (the real lineup, not the replacements).

    Thats what, 17 years ago since that ended?

  33. Well, some grunge was alright (Soundgarden, Nirvana etc.) but thats more punk than rock and roll to me.

  34. Do you think the MP3 and iPod helped kill off the album as an art form? I.e., now you can just buy the two good songs instead of the whole thing.

  35. So we agree that popularity’s overrated? I mean, there are a boatload of good alternative artists, i.e. Mates of State, Devin Townsend, M83.

  36. I got some mileage out of the last Coup cd.

  37. No Name Guy, to an extent, but I also think a lot of bands are incapable of releasing more than two good songs on a schedule. I mean, “album” is practically a high concept thing now, and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. Although I love a great album. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, for instance, obviously wouldn’t be right in another format.

  38. Yeah absolutely, but the thing is listening to good mainstream artists is what got me exploring underground stuff.

    Ex., Nickelback isn’t going to lead a 16 year old to explore underground music.

    20 years ago, NWA or Red Hot Chilli Peppers might have.

    But I suppose the internet helps get around that now.

  39. With the plenitude, maybe overabundance of artists, I’m sure many would just love to kill the mainstream artists coasting by on mediocrity (cough, Nickelback) or worse (cough, Li’l Boosie) and replace them with somebody who’s actually good.

  40. Art, there needs to be a good, deep, Soviet-style purge of mainstream music.

    There hasn’t been one in a long, long time.

  41. I’m a white guy, and I don’t dislike black music. Jazz, blues, jump, R&B, early rock `n roll are all sounds I can dig. I never liked disco, but actual funk is alright. However, for more than 30 years hip hop and rap have produced a nearly endless stream of tracks devoid of original melody, and that never appealed to me.

    Imagine if modern country music was 90% talking blues. Yech.

    Kevin

  42. Hooray for Aesop Rock! Also see Sage Francis, Busdriver, and Saul Williams.

    CanOx isn’t dead, that’s just a rumor

  43. Imagine if modern country music was 90% talking blues.

    That’s just imagining that mainstream country music sucked in a different way than it currently sucks. Imagine hip-hop backed up only by a band of triangles and reed instruments! Wouldn’t that be awful?

    Kill your radio, go to local shows.

  44. Anyone going to the Rothbury Festival?

  45. Out of curiosity, what’s the most recent rock album that you considered really, really good?

    Clutch, From Beale Street to Oblivion
    Left Lane Cruiser, Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table

  46. Rich, you don’t get my point. If instrumentation was the problem, I’d have been carping about hip hop’s dependence on pre-recorded beats and on sampling. I prefer actual musicianship to technical voodoo, but however you produce the sounds, music is still made up of several elements, not the least of which are melody and harmony. Most hip hop relies for its effect almost entirely on rhythm, and I find that boring in large doses.

    BTW, I have no intention of killing my radio, though I don’t listen to all that much music on it. I do have access to a pretty good non-commercial, non-NPR FM outlet that plays an eclectic mix of music, and there are stations I can hear on the net, so I’m no prisoner of what’s left of the “Top 40” mentality.

    I’ll start going to local shows once I can afford my rent, food and transportation costs. Concerts are a luxury, right about now.

    Kevin

  47. There will always be good hip hop. There will always be good rock. There will always be good [insert genre].

    99 percent of everything is crap. It doesn’t change with the times, it doesn’t go in cycles, it was no better back in the day.

    There is always always always mind-blowingly good music being created.

  48. Those are all some pretty good selections, Rich. Clutch and LLC are fine bands. And I really like the hip-hop artists you named.

  49. However, for more than 30 years hip hop and rap have produced a nearly endless stream of tracks devoid of original melody, and that never appealed to me.

    There’s nothing wrong with disliking hip-hop because of the lack of melody, as long as you recognize that it’s a preference and not an objective dividing line between “music” and “noise.” And it’s worth noting that lack of melody isn’t the exclusive domain of hip-hop. Hell, lots of great rock songs are devoid of melody, from Dylan to Velvet Underground to Black Flag to Art Brut.

    Oh, and last great rock album, start to finish? I’d vote for Spoon’s last release, Ga ga ga ga ga. That’s one band that can put out an album without a weak link.

  50. D’oh. Forgot to close my tag.

  51. I just listen to Soundgarden, Pink Floyd, and classical.

  52. D’oh. Forgot to close my tag

    It’s weird, I just imagined you saying that last sentence in some affected accent (because of the italics).

  53. I was afraid somebody would think Spoon’s album is actually titled Ga ga ga ga ga. That’s one band that can put out an album without a weak link. I mean, there are certainly stranger album titles out there.

  54. …actually, I think that title is an improvement. It’s so postmodern, so prog.

  55. Mickey Kaus commenting on gangsta rap is ludicrous on its face. He grew up in Beverly Hills for Christ’s sake, of course he’s not going to understand what 2Pac, NWA, Dre and Public Enemy are talking about because he’s completely isolated from the culture that they’re talking about. Kaus doesn’t get gangsta rap for the same reason Snoop doesn’t get emo. They’re reflections of different cultures. I’m sure Kaus understands AFI much better than NWA.

  56. KevRob –

    My misunderstanding – maybe we can agree on Liquid Tension Experiment? All the fun of Dream Theater without the silly lyrics!

    And as far as local music goes, I’m lucky enough to have lots of free venues in the area (West Michigan) where I can get a cuppa coffee and a couple hours of music, then still afford to buy a ten dollar EP.

    ClubMedSux –

    Velvet Underground devoid of melody? For a while there with Nico, it was like two (disparate) melodies at once! 🙂

    Does your radio station webcast? Always on the lookout for new music.

  57. Whoops, the radio station question was for KevRob.

  58. I’m with ClubMedSux – Spoon cannot put out a bad album. I was disappointed by the Shins last release, but their release Chutes too Narrow was a solid album.

    My students are opening up a whole new world of music to me. Like kevrob, I found hip-hops lack of melodies and the almost droning rhythm to be a turn-off, and the overt gangsta tones of 90s hip-hop did not appeal to me. Now, I perceive a revolution in the hip-hop world, with songs that deal with themes of nostalgia for home or old-school pure hip-hop, apologies for abortions, songs of thanks to parents and other role models who never gave up on them, songs about working hard, and more creative and poetic expressions of typical themes of betrayal, love, and gratitude to god. I assigned a project where my kids had to look for songs that were poetic in nature, and used poetic devices (aside from rhyme) to bring their message to the audience, and to analyze how the underlying rhythm, melody, and meter enhanced the message of the song. It was an overall pleasant experience for me and the kids, and opened me up to trying to appreciate, if not become an outright fan of, hip-hop music.

  59. “Hip hop is just a parody of everything it once was at this point.

    Its turned into a 21st Century minstrel show. There, I said it.”

    I was tellin’ you bitches dat shit two days ago.

  60. “Snoop doesn’t get emo”

    I get it, bissle, I get it.

  61. Out of curiosity, what’s the most recent rock album that you considered really, really good?

    That’s too easy: rock’s a pretty vague word, and you didn’t say “mainstream.” I could say “Fleet Foxes” (which is really good) and claim that it’s folk/alternative rock.

  62. Immortal Technique has read “confessions of a economic hitman” and raps about it.

    yet he is hardcore.. hardcore lives.
    he is socialist, but at least he knows the democrats are imperialists.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EYUz09ASlk

  63. Dalek has not been mentioned in this discussion of underground hip-hop…I think he should be.

    Subtle also is worth a mention (although I guess they can be included in the “anticon” mention).

    Power Douglas does a nice job of not fitting into either the hip-hop or rap worlds and still kicking ass.

    Dragons of Zynth? Haven’t decided.

  64. Spoon cannot put out a bad good album despite some excellent songs.

  65. I was disappointed by the Shins last release, but their release Chutes too Narrow was a solid album.

    Those kids were better when they were Flake and opening up for my bands. But they are nice kids and work hard so I am happy for their success.

  66. For my money, however, the best new hip-hop is coming out of Angola…

    http://kuduro.podomatic.com/

  67. I said “not fitting into either the hip-hop or rap worlds”

    that should be ROCK not rap…

    http://www.myspace.com/powerdouglas

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