Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Current State of Hip Hop-- Why I Am DISTURBED: Part 2

So hopefully you've had a chance to ruminate and perhaps even look up some of the songs that I chose as examples of the STEEP decline of hip hop music in America. Well, I should say mainstream hip hop because there are plenty of underground and not-so-underground hip hop artists that are still artists and express incisive and relevant social commentary with tongues as sharp as double edged swords. More on them later... first, I need to lacerate my chosen vitims and crow over their bloodied and mutilated "bodies" if you will.

Let's proceed in order shall we?

Laffy Taffy- MY DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, THEY WILL GIVE ANYONE A RECORD DEAL. You don't even have to be able to produce a complete, let alone coherent thought to be able to make a song and get it into heavy rotation. The whole 3+ minutes of this "destined to be a classic" song is a string of half- assed, half constructed, gramatically and linguistically disconnected... just... SHIT that talks about a woman's "assets". Even the DJ on the radio was like 'Damn, y'all like any song, don't you?' I can't even think about it anymore-- Every second longer I think about it, I feel my brain cells beginning to rebel.

"Here We Go" by Trina- Many of you may not know this but before she joined Slip 'N Slide Records as the "Queen of Miami" (HUGE double entendre there, since Miami is populated by a lot of queens... Drag Queens, that is) Trina was a relatively normal, non descript real estate agent. Then she met Trick Daddy... and it was all down hill from there. The classic first single you will remember her on is "Shut Up" whose lyrics are echoed in her newest piece of bovine filth-- "Here We Go". They were eloquent then, and they resonate with the soul even now **snicker, giggle, guffaw*...DAMMIT, I knew I couldn't say that with a straight face. I don't know why I even try...
The fact of the matter is that, as we will see with many of the songs heretofore, it is the BEAT that sells the songs... And she had the BALLS OUT NERVE to use Force MD's "Tender Love" to talk about her man cheating on her. This was my cousin's wedding song for crying out loud! I think she was going for irony... she missed the mark. BIGTIME. It just sounds stupid. (I remember when I first heard the song on the radio. I was so excited to hear the 80's R&B classic and damn near crashed into the car in front of me when I heard her voice and what she was saying. I couldn't believe it. I called the radio station and was like "What the f**k?") I dare you to listen to the vocals of this song without the production and not vomit...or at the very least feel mildly constipated. I think the saddest part is that an entire generation who never heard the original song is going to completely miss the beauty of it, ecause she mauled it into something ugly and mean.

" Oh I Think They Like Me" by Dem Franchise Boys- Admittedly, this song is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. When I go out dancing and it comes on, I find the nearest boy and work him out. Because of the beat. Its hot. The lyrics.... are not. Correction: most are not. Da Brat and Bow-Wow who guest appear on this record actually do a good job. However, Da Brat is a lyricist. She knows what the hell she is doing on an album (see: Funkdafied). Bow-Wow could stand to sharpen his skills a little, and become more well read, but he has potential. He's young, fearless and has the potential to be dangerous if you put some education into his hands. Something like Kanye West/Andre 3000 with some 'booty bounce' thrown in so that it will get played in the club. BUT the rest of 'em... go back to wherever you came from with that nonsense and stay there. And don't EVEN get me started on Jermaine Dupree. I'm still trying to figure out how he managed to land Janet Jackson... maybe he really is a 'cunning linguist'...

"Run (Cum) Girl"- When did radio get so bold? I heard the unedited version when I was out one night and damn near fell out. I mean... just... wow. BOLD. The song is basically dirty talk. Don't get me wrong, dirty talk turns me on. But not when my 8 year old neice is spewing it out of her mouth. And since it is in HEAVY rotation on the radio, I see 5 year olds that are reciting the lyrics... and don't even know their ABC's yet. That's not cute. Its SAD.
Also, if you are going to make a song like that, fool me into thinking I might actually want to screw you. Be seductive.... not sexual. Guys who are blatantly sexual in their every day discussion, or when they are rapping generally are the ones who will think they've rocked my world until they look over and see that I was reading a book the whole time.

"I'm Sprung" by T-Pain- All I have to say is "ewww." He tried to be like Roger Troutman and Keith Sweat at the same time and managed to just f**k the whole thing up. Regardless of whether or not you like Roger Troutman or Keith Sweat (or even know who they are) you must realize that they are untouchable and that trying to imitate them, with a whack song no less, will make you look like a fool.

"I Should Have Cheated" by Keisha Cole- Ok... promotion of the spread of STDs? Thank you soooo much. No, you shouldn't have cheated. You should have confronted his insecurity about your relationship like and adult and talked about it. I run a teen mentoring program where the girls love this song and have started spewing this kind of farcical thinking about relationships as if it was gospel truth. This is why everyone claims the youth of America are in danger-- they listen to this type of crap all the time. It only takes 7 exposures for something to work its way into your character unconsciously. This song is in heavy rotation on 4 major radio stations. And they wonder why teen STD and HIV rates are through the f**king roof. This chick comes onto the scene with this song... what the hell happened to her in her life? Also, when was the last time she went to see the gyno? She should work on that.

Well, I anxiously await your comments and feedback. I'm dying to know what you all think. There will be a part three that is currently in the works.... until I get there, I encourage you take a journey through underground hip hop and neo-soul. There you will find people who are actually talking about things that matter in this world.
To help you out here are some artists worth checking out:

Angie Stone
Amel Larrieux
John Legend
Leela James
Jaguar Wright
Jill Scott
Little Brother
Dilated Peoples
Mos Def
Talib Kweli
The Roots
Black Eyed Peas
... the list goes on and on and on....

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Current State of Hip Hop-- Why I am DISTURBED: Part 1-- The Prelude

Ok... the current state of hip hop is... vomit inducing at best. To prove my point, a sampling of the songs that get the most airplay (since I hear them 12 times a day)

"Laffy Taffy"
Lyric of note: "I wanna duh nah nah, cuz you so thick... girl shake that laffy taffy..."

"Here We Go Again" by Trina
Done over the instrumental to "Tender Love", the classic 80's love song
Lyric of note: "Sounds like blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, I'm like 'Ok, uh huh, wassup, SHUT UP!"

"Oh I Think They Like Me" by Jermaine Dupree
Lyric of note: "Oh I think they like me cuz they heard me on the other one, so its only right that I hit you with another one."

"Run(Cum) Girl"
Just a nasty song... and the guy who raps has the nerve to NOT BE CUTE!
"Run (cum) girl, I'm tryna get your body (p***y) wet. Work that, let me see you drip sweat."

"I'm Sprung"
A whining song that tries to be like Keith Sweat and FAILS miserably
Lyric of note: "Now I'm feelin kinda lonely, on top of that I'm pretty horny." (At least he's honest)

"I Should Have Cheated"
A very poorly written song that promotes the spread of STD's
Lyric of note: "I might as well have cheated on you, as much as you accuse me of cheating."

Since its late and I have to be in class tomorrow morning, I'm going to let you ruminate upon the above sampling of songs, look up lyrics, correct and fill in the blanks if you like or leave comments.
Then I will return with a vengeance to deliver an incisive, perhaps mean, and definitely venom filled commentary later....

For now, I bid you adieu.