Where do you stand on hip-hop as a musical form?
May 30, 2002 at 12:21 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 92

markl

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In the interests of stirring things up a little
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, I want to know how you feel about hip-hop as a musical form. My suspicion is that there are very few fans of the genre here on this board despite its apparent wide-spread popularity in the world at large. This interests me, and I want to poke around this issue a little bit.

First let's define "hip-hop". I'm referring (of course) to rap, and rap/R&B hybrids. This definition probably excludes rap/rock in my mind but perhaps not yours.

I'd like to steer clear of racial issues, if you can contain yourself
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, but you are not prohibited from attacking the content of hip-hop music if you find it objectionable.

I'll start (treading carefully around this issue) by telling you a little about me. I am a member of the class of '88. I'm white but grew up in southern California suburbian hell that was as racially mixed as anywhere in this country. Why does this matter? IMO, overall, there was a dramatic difference between the class of '88 and the class of '89 in my community (without regard to race), which as California tends to be, was really on the cutting edge of youth culture in America and probably 5 years ahead of the rest of the U.S.

When the class of '88 thought of music, it was either "pop" or "rock" in all its various guises. But the juniors (class of '89) were completely different than the class of '88. They were the beginning of the hip-hop generation and harbingers of the youth culture to come all across America. Not only was their music different than "ours", but their slang, attitudes, dress code and approach to life was completely alien to me and my peers. I feel I was part of the very last group of people raised outside of the hip-hop culture.

As a result, I myself tend to look suspiciously at rap and hip-hop culture. On the other hand, I am very catholic in my musical tastes and I can almost invariably find something in every kind of music that I can latch on to and learn to love.

I am not in any way "opposed" to so-called "black music". I am a huge fan '60's soul music, IMO some of the best music of the 20th century. I am becoming a fan of jazz music and the blues as well. However, I myself have only a few hip-hop artists in my rather large music collection, and I admit to feeling some "guilt" about this. For the most part, I find myself alienated from hip-hop. I tend to react like an old fogey when it comes to rap, and this worries me a little.

OK, so here's my bottom line: IMHO, rap is at best a "novelty" genre, not something that should be a "main course" in any music-lover's diet, let alone a way of life. I am amazed that it has lasted as long as it has and (I freely admit) I am somewhat dismayed by its pervasiveness and (what I regard) as the generally poor quality of this music.

Will hip-hop last as a musical form? Has its impact on today's youth been mostly negative? Years from now will people collect "classic" hip hop albums the way jazz afficianados collect the classics of that genre today?

What do you think? Is hip hop a valuable musical form? Please be thoughtful in your reply!

markl
 
May 30, 2002 at 1:06 AM Post #2 of 92

gloco

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I like the videos
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May 30, 2002 at 1:35 AM Post #3 of 92

carlo

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i not only think hip hop is a legitimate musical genre, i think it's one of the most interesting in modern music. there's the preception that listeners of "urban" music walk around wearing jerseys and flashing the bling-bling, and i'm sure those people exist with the mtv viewers (just as mall punks think the offspring and greenday are punk but never heard of thee headcoats or syd barrett), but strip the image and look into the content.

ie: the roots have been making excellent music heavily dominated by acoustical instruments for years. and, more importantly, the content is actually interesting and challenging. it cannot be denied that this aspect of music is dominated by black musicians, and guess what, black people have something to say about their place in society. in much the same way as stevie wonder's work of the 60s and 70s dealt with race issues, we see the same attempt with mos def (although he isn't nearly on stevie's level of talent, but who is). lauryn hill has opened the door for the neo-soul movement in modern music, and she's done it by speaking about who she is as a person.

then you've got wyclef jean's "the carnival" melding different styles into a cohesive center (although imo he's no better than mass market nowadays). early a tribe called quest's funk meets groove. public enemy's energy before they got mega huge. maceo parker's unique sense of acid jazz meets soul meets rap.

good music is good music, genre has nothing to do with it.
 
May 30, 2002 at 1:57 AM Post #4 of 92

arnett

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
I am a member of the class of '88. . . IMO, overall, there was a dramatic difference between the class of '88 and the class of '89 in my community (without regard to race) . . . When the class of '88 thought of music, it was either "pop" or "rock" in all its various guises. But the juniors (class of '89) were completely different than the class of '88. They were the beginning of the hip-hop generation and harbingers of the youth culture to come all across America. . . I feel I was part of the very last group of people raised outside of the hip-hop culture.


i too am a member of the class of '88 (may 20, 1988 to be exact). in my school in small town indiana, there was no difference between the class of '88 and '89 in terms of rap. of course, indiana is a bit different than cali . . .
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tone loc 'loced after dark' = 1988.
run d.m.c. 'raising hell' = 1986
beastie boys 'licensed to ill' = 1986
dj jazzy jeff and the fresh prince 'he's the D.J., i'm the rapper' = 1988

lots of good rap before 1989
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.

i remember the first time i heard 'raising hell' -- it blew my mind.

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i still like that old school rap stuff once in a while.

concerning the class of 89's preference for rap:
remember markl, the hair band thing was dying out in 1989.
 
May 30, 2002 at 2:10 AM Post #5 of 92

markl

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Woa, there, arnett, let me state emphatically for the record, I was never EVER in favor of "hair metal" or heavy metal in any form. Wouldn't touch that genre with a ten foot pole, but that's another thread for another day.

My musical taste began with New Wave, which evolved into college rock which evolved into indie-rock which evolved into... oblivion or Creed whichever came first.

markl
 
May 30, 2002 at 2:12 AM Post #6 of 92

kerelybonto

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As the quality of modern rock seems to have taken a dive off a cliff in the past few years, I've found myself listening to some hip-hop when I never used to. I've found that it's pretty much like other music -- some good, some bad. If you stay away from what's on MTV (as with other genres) you can find some decent stuff.

I went to a Roots concert last year and had a good time. Of course, the Roots aren't your average hip-hop group -- they're instrumental and actually a group. It's unfortunate that a lot of people now know them as the group that backed Jay-Z for his "MTV Unplugged." (I won't delve into the topic of how exactly one "unplugs" a rapper.)

Older hip-hop is a lot easier for non-fans to get into. I like a lot of Tribe Called Quest, for example. But there are also some unique sounds coming from current groups, like Jurassic 5. I like their stuff, or at least their style -- "Quality Control" is a great song.

But I think hip-hop is tough for rock and (respectable) pop fans because it emphasizes a much different component of the music. For me, lyrics are relatively unimportant. I listen primarily to music that treats the lead singer as another -- albeit prominent -- instrument. Most hip-hop, of course, puts the lyrics right out in front ... and not much behind. A listener can't pick apart a song, listening to each instrument, like with a rock song. Instead, I find that the hip-hop I like is whatever puts the beat and the lyrics together most cohesively, no matter if the rappings subpar or whatever.

But anyway, I almost feel obligated to listen to some hip-hop just because it's really the most creative of the genres right now. Groups like OutKast really do some interesting things musically, and I'm not going to ignore them just because I don't like a lot of everything else in the genre.

kerelybonto
 
May 30, 2002 at 2:24 AM Post #7 of 92

2 channel

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Here is $.02 more!

IMHO, Hip Hop and musical form do not belong in the same sentance. I do feel that there has been a tremendous negative effect on the youth as a result of this genre. From NWA to Emenem. I don't necessarily think it is a race issue though B/C NIN and Korn and the like have had the same adverse effect. I am a memeber of the class of 84' in Orange Counts CA and was a huge punk in school. While the music of my generation was not much better, there was a general lack of songs about killing and sexual vilence (OK, maybe TSOL). and rarely did the songs have to be edited for content before they were aired on the radio (KROQ of course). I think the major dif between music of any other time and music of the 90s or 00s is that none of the previous music was trying to make any kind of statement. The music of the 80s in particular was just for fun. Now that I have gotten way off of the subject...

anyway, flame away!

2
 
May 30, 2002 at 2:28 AM Post #8 of 92

arnett

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
Woa, there, arnett, let me state emphatically for the record, I was never EVER in favor of "hair metal" or heavy metal in any form. Wouldn't touch that genre with a ten foot pole, but that's another thread for another day.


i wasn't taking about you, markl. i was referring to the kids, man . . . the kids!
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actually, i still like to listen to dokken's 1987 opus back for the attack. OMG, does that bring back memories.
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May 30, 2002 at 2:41 AM Post #9 of 92

The Quality Guru

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Hip-hop is evil and it must die!
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May 30, 2002 at 2:53 AM Post #10 of 92

Audio-Me

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Most of hip-hop/rap now-a-days is hype and marketing, I don't see it as music. "rich ganstas" (Jay-Z amongst the countless others) and their so called game holds no validity to me. And what's with these little kids rapping about jewelry and stuff? Eminem bothers me, as well as that new Bubba dude.

I do however appreciate real hiphop, like the group 213 (Nate Dogg, Snoop Doog, Warren G), the roots, tribe called quest, jurassic 5 (have had the great pleasure of hearing them live), outkast.

As long as pop is alive, mainstream crap I mean rap will be alive as well... The amount of good hiphop I believe might become scarce in the future though.

Oh and limp bizkit belongs in the same category as the mainstream stuff: ****.
 
May 30, 2002 at 4:07 AM Post #11 of 92

Dusty Chalk

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Me, personally, don't listen to it much.

But I would have to blind (or def [sic]) to not realize its legitimacy as an important musical art form. I am all for variety, and tolerance of others' musical tastes, as I have some pretty strange tastes, myself, and don't expect others to "get it", but nor do I expect them to criticize or decry it -- what they do not understand.
 
May 30, 2002 at 4:14 AM Post #12 of 92

kelly

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The only thing worse than snobbery is a failed attempt at snobbery.

Let me simplify. I like my taste in music. I think my taste in music is superior to yours. If you're reading this post right now, whoever you are, you now must live with the fact that I like my taste better than yours.

Of course, that's how taste works so getting insulted about someone thinking that would be kind of silly (though not uncommon). Of course, you may be insecure about your own taste in music and if so maybe you've found yourself reading this thread for approval. I hope not but stranger things happen.

There is no genre of music that is invalid. As much as I may think someone else's music is in poor taste (inclusive of Creed, by the way), I don't feel this deducts from the legitimacy of the music itself. Sure, it may be commercialized Christ-pushing crap, but hey, one motivation isn't any better than any other. While we may pretend that having some guys from Ireland tell us who to vote for is somehow intellectual and deep, I just don't think it really is any more "valid" than fighting for your right to party.

Now, as a fellow white guy, I identify with your need to trivialize any culture that is not our own. I think it's important that we act as a race to preserve our place at the top of the western socioeconomic food chain and deep down I understand how putting down other subcultures' dress, dance and music furthers our cause. There is a part of me, though, that knows to my core I'm as much a social anarchist as I am a supremist and I value individualism over even the benefits of group membership.

So I will not subscribe to the oppressive belief that music genres require a ranking order for importance and legitimacy. After all, there is only one valid critic of music from any genre and that person is me. For my own benefit, I will not be so narrow as to wholely ignore any genre outright or brush aside anything I've not yet taken the time or interest to explore. It simply does not serve me to do so. And remember, those of you who have taste other than mine are simply wrong regardless.
 
May 30, 2002 at 4:26 AM Post #13 of 92

grancasa

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I'd have to say that most stuff played on MTV and the Top-40/Urban radio these days is crap, hip-hop included. But there are some groups/artists that I respect and find add something to music and society in general. I would put early Run DMC and Public Enemy in there for sure. I enjoy the roots, and Outkast has had some great stuff. Probably my favorite hip hop artist is KRS-One. His message is strong and intelligent, and his music varries and is always top quality. I also like some of the drum-n-bass artists, who sometimes tread close to the hip-hop border.
 
May 30, 2002 at 4:38 AM Post #14 of 92

Poddy

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It has its place. Obviously not in my collection but each to their own. If you enjoy it power to you.
As for my own opinion. As has been mentioned before older hip hop which really started it all is all that i can bear. As in my belief it actually was a musical form. People like Run dmc were doing things no one had heard on a large scale level before they were pioneers. They produced some great music that i can listen to. Unfortunately Hip Hop as it is today has been somewhat trivialised. Although groups mentioned here such as Roots sound like something i will have to explore.

To end the politically correct section of my post. I hate what hip hop has been turned into. It sickens me every time one of these rappers gets up on their soap box and talks about being real and how it is in the ghetto. They know less about the ghetto than me and im a white Australian adolescent. If they continued to live in the Bronx then they can talk as much as they want. But dont parade around Hollywood covered in chains demeaning women by treating them as objects and calling yourself real. Its just marketing thats all i feel hip hop is these days. And unfortunately the kids are buying it. But in a year they will be buying something else so in the end it doesnt really matter. Ill listen to what i want to listen to and everyone else can do the same
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. I feel better now.

Edit: I hate the slang as well.
 
May 30, 2002 at 12:22 PM Post #15 of 92

Beagle

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Quote:

Originally posted by kelly
There is no genre of music that is invalid


True, if it is in fact music, not amusical crap.
 

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