Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 11:05am
Let me start by saying, if you see this note as the grumbled complaining of a struggling artist.. well you have every right to. On the flip though, i wouldnt be a struggling artist if i wasnt a fan of art, specifically music to begin with. So as a fan, a fan that has lived with three generations of hip hop i feel i have every right to express my self. Hip hop well.. music.. well.. commercial art in general is not what it used to be. Its a sad day when television and youtube are the only places you can go to find any tangible creativity. It is what it is. But we now have the internet.. and old fucks like me can express our distaste with all our friends at once and entertain our selfves with the shit storm of a fall out that ensues from said expression. And with that.. i present my list of 4 things that ruined our beloved Hip Hop ( in my opinion ).
#4 Tupac’s “Ambitions of a Ridah” beat ( it will be posted on my page if you need a reminder)
I know, im supposed to love this beat. I spent most of the 90’s stuffed in the back of Monte Carlos and Cutlass Supremes, with subwoofers bigger than asses we were trying to attract with them. And every night going to the teen clubs.. or at the teen clubs or at the house party this song would play. Hell it was probly playing in the back ground when i first fondled a member of the opposite sex. No matter, i never liked this beat, didnt like it then, dont like it now. But.. thats not the point. there have been and still are many beats that have become insanely popular that i did not like ( All about the Benjamins, tribe called quests “scenerio” most recently LiL waynes ” 6 foot 7 foot”) thats not the point.
The point is what this beat um .. whats the Biblical term for this? Oh yeah.. begot.. its what this beat begot. What resulted in the popularity of this song. See .. what had happened was before this song was a hit or whatever, in order to produce hip hop you had to be one of two things: either a passable musician, or a damn good audio editor/ engineer with a deep as record collection. But after this beat, all that flew out the window. You could now get by while ” Henpecking”. Henpecking is a term used by piano teachers to describe when a student tries to get by while using one or two fingers. Pecking at the keyboard in search for a melody like a hen pecks its beak at feed.. henpecking.
Thanks to the “Ambitions” beat i have had to grind my teeth as i listen to beats made by a “producer” that doesnt know the first thing about music theory, chord structure, melody, or even the names of the black and white keys in-front of him. ” Hey mr hip hop producer.. whats the difference between A-flat and G-sharp? Trick question dummy they are the same note. I blame this beat for every amateur beat that sounds like the guy stumbled on the melody randomly hitting keys on the keyboard with his index finger. From the bulk of No limits’ catalog to Lil John, they are all the bastard children of this God forsaken beat. And speaking of Lil John:
#3 Lil John
What you say? Lil John? Seriously? What did Lil John ever do to you? Nothing really. I mean out of the generation of henpecking hip hop producers that floated thru the first 5 or six years of this century, lil John is my favorite. But with that said, he fucked up the game for everyone.
It wasnt the “yeeeaahh” trademark holler. Nope everyone needs a cherry on top and that was his. It wasnt that his beats were insanely simple. Nope by the time Lil John hit, i had learned to get over the fact that the musicians behind hip hop were just gonna skate by for the remainder of my interest in the genre. It wasnt even really that i think that he is partly responsible for ruining Atlanta hip hop. It was his fault, yes.. but some blame has to also be put on Outkast. Outkast set the bar so damn high, the entire city decided to put out music that was mindless in protest of their accomplishments for the next.. well.. 15 years.
As with the ‘Pac beat. it wasnt Lil John himself or what he accomplished. Once again it is what he begot. After Lil john stumbled on the like .. 2 synth sounds he has been living off for what, 7 years now. and convinced rappers to rap over them. Every song HAS to be a club song. The big dummies that run record hip hop labels decided that no song would be sent to the radio with any muscle unless it could be played at a club, with behind or infront of a Lil John record. Now after the success of that dreadlocked sum-bitch. Every song on the radio has to be bass heavy. And EVERY song on the radio has to be about going to, leaving from, getting drunk in, having sex on the floor of. you guessed it.. THE CLUB. Gone are the days when a song could be a great head phone song.. and was a hit cause of that .. or a cruising song.. like.. say Crossroads by Bone thugs. That song would never get radio play today. Why? cause its not a club record. The same songs you here in the club are the same songs on hip hop radio and that is that.. no if ands or butts.. thank you Lil John for ruining the art of creating a song for a specific audience or describing emotion. every song i hear in the morning, noon, night. On monday thru sunday.. is a club record. You almost fucked up hip hop marketing as much as the mixtape.. ALMOST.
#2 THE MIXTAPE
Hold your breath, let me say it for you: mixtapes have been around forever! Yeah i know..and depending on what article you read, some may consider them the life blood of hip hop. I dont, but some may, and ill take that opinion in stride.
As with #3 and #4. The reason mixtapes are on this list isnt a personal thing. Ive never bought a mixtape in my life, but then again, ive never bought an Eminem cd either, ( Hes not #1 incase you were wondering although he holds a strong case). It once again, it has to do with the recent misuse of the mixtape as a marketing tool that has stifled the creativity of hip hop.
History lesson. There was a magical, majestical time when an up and coming hip hop artist, got his buzz off a record. See .. i know its mind blowing isnt it. Yeah see.. he had to write a complete song, with original music and off the strength of that record it was decided wether or not he had the talent worthy of the investment to make more records. Heavy right? Either that or, now this is even more mind blowing.. he performed enough gigs in front of live people and was so entertaining in person, that investing in this individual to record was a no brainer. I know im talking ancient lore here.
But somewhere inbetween 50 cent and Lil wayne. It was decided that none of that was necessary. Dont have any original music? Thats FINE! oh cant pay for a beat? NO PROBLEM! Have no idea how to write your own hook? PSSHH WHAT ARE THOSE?! See what you can do young man is put out a collection of music, that completely rips off artists more popular than you so you can ride the wave of their success, and rip off beats and music you cant afford to pay for. Legal issues? what are those? as long as you call it a “mixtape” you dont have to pay for jack shit!
Now aint that a bitch. The concept of talent development in hip hop has been completely thrown out the window. Rapper: ” um mr record exec arent you worried that since all my hooks on my mixtapes were already written on the songs a copied that i may not be able to write one of my own?” EXEC: ” No son, see your mixtape sold 4,000 copies online so we estimate if we give you a million bucks it wont matter what you do you will go platnium!” Rapper: ” oh that sounds good.. and ill get to keep all that money cause im gonna record it in a home studio anyway!! wheres the weed man!!??”.. sigh.. oh that reminds me.. numero uno
#1 PROTOOLS/FRUITY LOOPS/CUBASE ETC ( HOME COMPUTER MUSIC RECORDING SOFTWARE)
This is how you know my list is objective. As a hip hop musician my self, i have spent the majority of the last few years at my computer in the basement staring at colored wave files, moving virtual knobs and faders with a mouse, making bleeps and blop noises with software i may or may not have payed for.
That dont mean its right. Its actually wrong. Dead wrong. Pete Rock and Grandmaster Flash should line me and all my contemporaries up in the street and tommy gun us to death. And i wouldnt blame them one bit. This is some sad shit over here. I could make a case that i went to school for this stuff.. spent a few grand to work in huge studios with actual echo chambers, a sea of knobs and lights, cabinets of microphones, and an old guy whos only job was to keep the piano in tune. School was heaven for me, all was as it should be. I imagined a career where people would pay me to record them.. and i would use all my knowledge to translate the aritists John lennon esque babble ” i want it to sound more green” into: i think that means he wants more mids in the string section. I could say that but I wont. I wont cause it will make my mode of work sound even more pathetic in comparison to where i started.
Making electronic music aint shit.. imma keep it one hundred. Its tough to make good music. It will always be difficult to make music that sounds original that others will want to fork over hard earned money for. But see money at one point was the great equalizer.
I know i lost you. Ill catch you up. See, it used to cost money to record. Which ment you had to impress someone. A few people actually, in order to even step foot in a recording studio, cause one thing that will all ways remain the same is that musicians are broke. No mixtape, no simple ass club beat would ever make it to the radio in the previous decade if someone didnt put up some serious bread in order for it to be recorded. Which ment you atleast had to be decent to get there. Then protools came out and well.. crushed that whole process. The buffer.. that quality buffer. The guy that got paid to listen to your record and see if it was musically correct? That it pushed some kind of boundary? Yeah Barry Gourdy the asshole that he was had a staff of those dudes.. now.. they dont exists.
Got a computer? Got a boy that can hack you some soft ware? oh shit! you a super star now!! Aint that a bitch. Now anyone who wants to invest 10 bucks in a cd or download some good shit on the internet has to wade thru a sea of autotuned up, computer thug,fan boys, in order to find anything they dig. And anyone worth a damn got to first fight thru 7,000 bedroom gangstas to get anywhere. Quality control is in your computer and its up to your facebook friends to determine if you get to leave the house or not.
All you can do as a artisit now a days is learn your craft the best you can. If you got someone to teach you some scales it wont hurt. Learning how to play your keyboard well that wont hurt either. Good thing is the bedroom gangstas cant take their computers on stage with them.. and the stage will define us all.
So in short: Hip hop sucks cause the new kids make simple ass club songs outta simple ass beats on their simple ass computers, steal the rest and call it a mixtape.
Chucky 2 fingers@2 years ago with 4 notes
#hip hop #hip-hop #rap #hiphop #lil wayne #tupac #Skyscraper Stereo #opinion #beats #production #mixtapes #liljon