Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Sound of Music..by The HumanityCritic

As someone who suffers from dyslexia and ADD issues, I can always appreciate when something important gets through this battlefield that I call a skull and teaches me something that I can hold on to for the rest of my life. Sure, I've had teachers who have cared about me, parents who loved and nurtured me, life experiences that have molded the masturbatory existence that I call a life. I cherish all of those influences, but Hip Hop, believe it or not has taught me a plethora of lessons.(And no, and one of them is not sliding a credit card between a strippers asscrack Ala the Nelly "Tip Drill" video.) From my rapping days when you never knew who was going to suddenly battle you, it taught me to always be prepared and stand up for myself. From a fan standpoint, and someone who cherishes real lyricism, it taught me to have pride in your own work, and not respect anyone who doesn't.(ex: Wack MC's, people who use ghostwriters) Because of critics ranging from piss poor politicians to my own parents, it taught me loyalty, because if you are a Hip Hop fan I'm sure you have defended said art-form more than one would like to admit. Which brings me to the best lesson of all, since most critics who blast Hip Hop are grossly misinformed about it and put every rap act into one barrel, it has taught me to give certain things a chance and not blindly criticize without the proper research. Here is a look at various forms of music, some I know, some I didn't have too experienced with at first, and the final conclusion that I came to.

Country and Western: To be totally honest, up until a few years ago I didn't think much about Country and Western music. As I kid I knew about the standard big names, Willy Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kenny Rogers, and the only reason I knew about him is because I specifically remember telling a girl "You gotta know when to hold em'" when I was trying to influence her to give me a hand-job. I also remember as a kid seeing these commercials, you know the ones where artists would peddle their music with the songs scrolling down the screen, and seeing men named "Boxcar Willie" and "Slim Whitman" and laughing for minutes because of how ridiculous they looked and sounded. But as time passed and I got older, became more familiar with the music in general, and my band opening up for about a thousand country bands in every shit kicking bar you can imagine, I have a certain respect for it now. When you think about it, hate to be so simplistic about it, but its just "white blues" in a certain sense. I'm not the biggest fan of pop country acts like Shania Twain or the Dixie Chicks, or that Bush apologizing, jingoistic bastard Toby Keith, but I respect country, even though I currently have the same number of country albums as I do Kobe Bryant rap records. Zero.

Rock: Being a child of the 80's, where most kids were exposed to MTV form it's inception, I was exposed to various forms of music. I mean, people shit on MTV and for good reason, but if it wasn't for that 24 hour music channel I wouldn't be able to tell you who the fuck "spandau ballet" is, "Men at Work", "Culture Club", or any other 80's band that leaves a puzzled look on the faces of those born after 1977 when you bring them up. I also think that MTV is responsible for my love of rock music today, if I'm not playing Hip Hop in my car I am playing some "Rage Against the Machine", "The White Stripes", some Hendrix, "System of a Down", even going for some calmer paced stuff like the "Red Hot Chili Peppers". I mentioned before that I have a band and I have found that it is so much different from being an MC because a REAL MC has to control the crowd and have a stage presence. A rock singer, in my experience, besides putting on a good show has to really have a "Fuck you if you don't like it approach".(That usually works with my band) Now, my friend Danny is in what you would call a death medal band and I hate supporting him with a passion. Not because I'm a shitty friend, but because the last time I was at one of his gigs some asshole was on stage and cut himself on purpose. This motherfucker was trying to get blood on people, no one was outraged surprisingly but me, so I threw a full bottle of beer at his face to get him to stop. He stopped, but I haven't been invited to anymore of Danny's shows, and maybe that's a good thing.

Classical: Did I ever tell you that it has been sort of a lifelong goal of mine to be a bona fide "Renaissance man". I'm not shitting you, a refined motherfucker who can recite poetry, astute in the world of politics, art, athletics, just an all around cultured fuck. Well, since I thought that liking and having a deep appreciation of classical music was on the "Renaissance man" list, my dreams were dashed very early. I don't know what it is, but every time I have gone to a classical concert, either with my 11th grade class or on a date with a woman that I could definitely see naked if I could have just kept my eyes open, I have fallen asleep like a baby within minutes.(I snore, so like Mary J Blige without her makeup, it can get pretty ugly..) But after I started dating a flute player who was in a local symphony at the time, I had a new appreciation for classical to the point that I would incorporate certain pieces of it in my guitar solos. I remember people used to come up to me after shows and say, "That guitar solo kicked ass, you are quite the musician to come up with that!!", and before I could just bask in the lie the girl I was dating would say, "Yeah, that is my favorite Beethoven piece!", ruining my shine. But seriously, she introduced me to a whole new world of music that definitely expanded my creativity on many levels. She was great, but since she had a certain hatred for giving "mouth hugs", I think she had enough of me when I would try to encourage her by saying "Come on baby, think of it like a "skin flute!"

Reggae: If I hear someone say, "You must be the first black guy with dreadlocks that I've ever known to HATE Reggae!!", I am going to kick them square in the chest. I'm weird because I don't have an abundance of marijuana and practice rastafarianism? It's not that I hate reggae, let me explain. I actually enjoy reggae, acts like Bob Marley and the Wailers, Pete Tosh, Third World, groups like that I can listen to for hours. But, and I know that many people will disagree with me, "Dancehall" is the music that irritates the ever loving piss out of me whenever it infiltrates my ears. I have tried to like it, listening to it for hours trying to max out my objectivity and find some redeeming value in it. But what ends up happening is I get so frustrated and irritated that I quickly eject that CD and put in some hip hop, letting out orgasmic sounds of refreshment like the character Keenan Ivory Wayans played in "Hollywood Shuffle" when he got his jheri curl activator back. Granted, I have misled women into sleeping with me because I have acted like I'm a dancehall fan, infiltrated a dancehall club and pretended to like the music I was dancing to. Which led to a few nights of guilt free sex, but the end result was the woman in question looking at me like a snitch mob informant when I told her that I actually despised said art-form.

Reggaeton: (see Reggae) I'm not going to go into how much of a fan I'm not of this art form because it would seem mean and offend fans of said art-form. A Cuban friend of mine got mad that I said that Reggaeton was like a "special Olympics for certain rappers who want to mask their lyrical shortcomings" and to never say it again. Damn, I guess I just did. But seriously, it's just irritating to me and I have listened to hours of it and been to many clubs that have played it. It's just not my cup of tea, sorry.

Hip Hop: I was watching Common's video "I used to Love her" where he equates Hip Hop as a girl he has always been in love with, and I came up with my own comparison. Hip Hop to me is like one of your own kids who was the apple of your eye for a long time, but as they grew older they started becoming a first class criminal. I mean, a real fuck up, having to bail them out of jail constantly, pay for lawyers for them, try to get them off of the drug of the moment that they are on. Despite how far they have falling, and what a pain in the ass they can sometimes be, you will always love them unconditionally because they are your child. That, my friends, is Hip Hop to me in a nutshell. Obviously you can tell that I'm a fan, even though the quality of the art-form has taken a nose dive during the last 7 years or so. With groups like Lil John, Mike Jones, that goddamn "Laffy Taffy" motherfucker that I would assassinate for free, and groups of that ilk, it's hard to feel positive of the future of Hip Hop. But I look at it as this, Hip Hop is going through a "hair band" phase right now. Remember in the 80's when you had those bands who wore extremely tight spandex, makeup, and moused hair so high only to rival some women who lived on the Jersey shore? Well people got pretty sick and fucking tired of hearing "Power ballads", so Nirvana came along and changed rock music for the better. The question I have for Hip Hop is, who will be our Kurt Cobain??

R&B: This art-form now is almost as bad as Hip Hop is, with all these "singing thugs" who go on and on about "taking someones lady". I wish one of those dudes would try that shit on me, as I try to strangle him with his chain as he yells "It's just music man, it's just music!" But seriously it seems that the current state of R&B is missing, for lack of a better word, Soul. It seems that the same 5 producers are working with the same 5 writers, and since everyone pretty much sounds the same anyways, we have the luxury of hearing the same monotonous bullshit through television and radio. By the way, what ever happened to good old "Hump Music". Music that you could put on and your lover knows that you are about to give her a pelvic thrusting of a lifetime, or that of a 15 year old.(Maybe that's just me) But you have to use certain artists for certain situations though. For that High School sweetheart who you haven't seen since graduation 91' and you want to set the mood, throw in some Al Green, "Lets stay together" might be a great choice. If you are hanging out with your significant lover on a rainy Sunday afternoon, throw in some Sade and before you know it you will be humping like two drugged up test bunnies. Fellas, you meet some coffee-shop chick sporting a Afro and a dashiki, throw on some Isaac Hayes, if you are drunk enough and squint you might think that you are fucking Pam Greer in her prime. Lastly, if you take home some questionable piece of sex that looks good but probably is more diseased than that monkey in outbreak, throw on two condoms then throw on some Public Enemy. Its not exactly "mood music", but anything to keep your mind off the the bad decision that you are currently inside will help somewhat.

47 comments:

chrisbilal said...

You so disrespected reggae. I'm thinking you have heard the watered down stuff like NORE's fat non rapping ass. Daddy Yankee is becoming too mainstream. I dont think you have listened to Tego or Ivy Queen, or Don Omar, Nicky Jam etc. Listening to the MTV and BET reggaeton is like listening to Chingy or J-Kwon, or Will Smith and calling it rap.

church

BillyBongThorton said...

LOL Unfortunately I can say that HC has listened to some of the people that you named because I have personally sent him some music recently. He didn't like it, which I don't understand, but he was cool about it though...lol

cathedral

Oliviasmommi said...

Personally, I think that men who possess very discriminating tastes in music are just about a sexy as it gets...

Nova said...

Truth be told, I completely relate to how you feel about Hip-Hop. But, I gotta say, if the state of the medium now is a "bad hair day" then it's been a LONG fuckin' day.

chele said...

I haven't heard any good "mood music" since Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On. I'm glad you said something because no one (my kids) listens to me when I say that today's music leaves little to be desired.

Rell said...

Man I totally totally feel you on Reggae. It is one of the bains of my existence. I simply abhor it like nothing else.

I think Bob Marley is a top-three most overrated people in the history of man (ok that might be taking a little far but you get my point.)

Your comparison to "I use to love her" and the cracked friend who was your girl for the longest but now is just shit -- is right on.

Good writing yo...

paco said...

I used to hate reggaeton when I was younger but I learned to love it. Im not saying that u will or that it is an acquired taste... but I have learned that very few non-hispanic people here in the states like it.

indigo said...

i feel you on the reggae... *sigh* they play it all the time here, that and this crunk nonsense and reggaeton...

i wish there was some better hip hop and better r&b. and i feel u on the prodigal son type of thing. i love country music. i like baroque music A LOT more than classical. and i hope that hip hop's kurt cobain is a chick

IsLifeLame said...

"Hair band"
I think I had a post about this a while ago but I used the sweat pants connection. Sweat pants are a genre killer, man. They killed metal back in the day and they're killing Hip-hop now. Who cares if you're rockin "cargo" style sweat pants that shit is still sweat pants. They are the ultimate indicator that you have given up. Unless of course you are in the security of your own home or going to the gym.

shinjyo said...

Great post, I am impressed with your musical tastes.

FantasyFootballGuru said...

You are a funny dude, for real. When are you doing to start getting paid for this stuff?

bec said...

LMMFAO!!! You don't have any sense!! I would have hurt that blood hurling dude as well.

gardenfanatic said...

I have to tell you that you are by far the best blogger out there. Had to be said.

a beer sort of girl said...

And this stuff, Critic, is why everyone loves you. Excellent opinion breakdown by genre, and as always, great closing.

"but anything to keep your mind off the the bad decision that you are currently inside will help somewhat."

kathi said...

You never lose that sense of humor that makes people love you and want to smack you at the same time. *hugs*
I didn't realize you had dyslexia. I'd like to ask you some questions about that sometime, if it's okay with you.

chrisbilal said...

Yeah, I guess if you dont like reggae, than you cant like reggaeton, and if you don't like reggaeton you probably dont like salsa merengue, or tijuano, kompa, and a whole lot of good music. HC, you are missing out on some good shit, some really good shit.

And pls tell me how you feel about M.I.A, id love to hear your opinion. Dead serious, get at me if you want her music

Crackpot Press said...

Re: Mood Music.

I remember women going crazy over LL COOL J's "I Need Love"

Also anything by Pantera is fantastic mood music... just does something to some folks.

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to say HI and thanks for visiting..don't know how you found me but you are definately welcome anytime......:)

Richard said...

If ya want some practice at loyalty, be a Prince fan.
Oh yeah, everyone liked him after Purple Rain but try defending Around The World In A Day, Parade (and Under the Cherry Moon!), Lovesexy, Graffiti Bridge (and the movie!)...that FUCKING symbol...the list goes on...nutty little bastard.
But to this day...I'm a fan!!

:)

Inside Man said...

I bet you somebody says Pac is the Kurt Cobain of hip hop.

"I think Bob Marley is a top-three most overrated people in the history of man"

Rell are you serious? Saying Bob is overrated is like saying MLK or Malcom X is overrated. No black musician has ever weeped the pain of our struggle in his music so sincerely. Get your mind right and pay homage.

Rose said...

I like the way you talked about each type of music. Laffy Taffy is not music...I love me some Al Green from back in the day and Natalie Cole...that's real music-timeless.

David said...

I am mostly a fan of '70s rock music (Boston and Styx are high on my list). Although, I have acquired a taste for some of the great bands of the '60s (Beatles, Led Zepplin). I am also open to some new music (Coldplay, Blues Traveler). I was a fan of disco, not so much of the usually innane lyrics, but the rhythms and harmonies of the music that really got me moving on the dance floor. I don't like much country music, but I really loved John Denver when I was a kid. I certainly don't mind watching Shania Twain videos, not that I am really listening to her songs! I enjoy some classical orchestra type music, especially Mozart. Sometimes that sort of music makes me sleepy too, but usually it stimulates lots of interesting images and memories in my mind. Your flute playing former girlfriend reminded me of my Latin teacher in High School. She was a funky old lady, but really cool in some ways. She told us stories about the Romans that were really interesting. One story was about Roman prostitutes. They were known as "flute girls" back then and they had a definite talent for mouth hugs!

Guess said...

I was agreeing with everything you said and thinking 'I cant stand dancehall too, and have just a tiny patience with reggae, until you said "diseased like that monkey in Outbreak" - that just did it for me.LOLOLOL

Still loving your work, HC

Nneka's World said...

I am loving your work and i agree with you on the state of music, although i was born in the 80ies thank the lord for my parents who raised me on good music, so i get depressed and pissed off at the state of what they pass for music and i call Bulls***t!

Everybody wants to sing and rap, its either you have it or you dont, and they just infiltrate my delicate senses with such trash, like pretty ricky, or is it ray-j, lets not even talk about camron "singing" dipset WTF was that.
Me i am an old school fan, marvin gaye, teddy pendergrass, big daddy kane, tribe called quest, when LL was LL and not singing "paradise is very nice" was he out of lyrics *shudders*

mai said...

i really hear everything you're saying - i feel like an old lady sometimes, telling my daughter today's music isn't much good, especially the poor excuse for hip-hop (and if i hear her tryna sing 'shake yo' laffi taffi one mo' time, i'ma find D4L and handle mines!)

but yeah, i'm pretty much feelin' you on this post.

@ Rell: Say what now? Bob Marley overrated? Huh? I'm sorry, I don't follow.

Dr O2 said...

the only kindda music I don' seem to enjoy are Techno hits.

I used to hate rap but after the uprise of Eminem, I listen to a fare share of rap...

Rock is my favorite...

Country; thought I'ld never like it but find myself on periods of country-only!!!

P.S: great post.

nikki said...

my attention deficit disorder has prevented me from reading this entire post in one sitting. i'll have to come back in about an hour and read some more. i should have it read by the end of the day.

Luke Cage said...

LOL.. the lost art of good ol' mood music. I've become my mom now man. My mom used to tell me, "this isn't music today. What we had in our day was MUUU-ZAK." Now I'm the one saying the same things to my nephews and neices. I might as well had 2 heads... lol

Georgiapeach said...

What's going down? You been putting in some work eh?...lol. Every site I go to your have left a comment. Good job! But I am sure you haven't been able to get any work done...lol!

I am Jack said...

My thing is keep commenting on peoples site, you don't do it enough anyways. So ignore incoherent advice saying otherwise...lol

Great post as always..

Belve said...

HC, I can't see a few of your musical choices as making sense (Not that they all should)
I'm guessing by your love of stripped down types of music ie Country, Real R&B, etc. That you hate Disco, Techno and other more frenzied types of music. All I can say *shrugs* Ehhh

But Reggaeton is what I call my drunk monkey style music.. since I can only tolerate it when I'm at least half drunk and already dancing like an idiot.

Robert N. Marley over-rated??? Rell do yourself a favor and just say your a black republican next time to finish the statement.

normiekins said...

thanks for visiting my blog

josie said...

you came right with the R&B, it is missing something. i always listen to older songs than the new cause they got to grow on me first.
i like dancehall and soca. i also like conscious which is sizzla and anthony b.
i also listen to rock music, some fast ones and the slower ones but not the death metal shit. too demonic and crazy.
i also like pure moods that is enya. it calms me down. helps me to think.

Rell said...

KG,

I'm dead serious. Maybe he should've just been a speaker or something then. He's music, for my tastes, was down right awful.

Amadeo said...

Anything you can find in hood music you can find the white equivalent in country. Ex: The Letter that Johnny Walker Read.

Hey man you gotta revise the year...I was born in '78 and I know all that stuff, hell I own plenty of it to this day.

seamus said...

"Hair band phase" is a good parallel. The thing is that during the hair band era, some good rock bands were making excellent music -- REM, Husker Du, etc. -- but you had to go to college radio to hear them.

Hip-hop's got a pretty good "underground" scene right now. MF Doom is like REM; Prince Paul is like Butch Vig; Little Brother is like the Pixies. The best part is since the Internet is replacing radio/MTV as a distribution channel, maybe we don't need another Kurt Cobain.

Quel said...

How do you come up with SO MUCH great material day in and day out?! Do you get paid to write? You have to be a magazine writer. Am I late? Should I already know the answer to this?

Shon said...

Funny Post.
I believe music has changed because society has changed. Most songs that get the most spins are songs that you can dance to in the club. Hence.... Laffy Taffy. Worse lyrics ever, but a banging beat. No, nothing to write a paper about, but, you can shake yo ass all night long.

Oh yeah, and the artist gracing stages today are on average about 19 or 20. What are they suppose to talk about? Not that I'm happy with it, but if I want the music of the 80's (which I love), I tune in at 3 AM and buy one of those CD's that has 6 million songs for $2.99.

Much Love,
Shon

HC, How can you not enjoy that big booty, small waist chick, grinding to reggae music against your ... You know what I'm trying to say:)

Nia said...

I have to agree that Hip Hop and R&B are not what they used to be but I still have love for it. I can't help its what I grew up on. You know what made me laugh...when some young kid *about 20* asked me who Dead Prez were. I bet the same boy is probably somewhere listening to 50 cents right now. Pray for the children...

I swear you have a small, but dedicated, cult following. I'm sure a few of your commenters would drink unknown liquids in a fortress deep in the woods if you asked them too.

mcnappy said...

i don't own a radio. why? cuz i don't trust mass media to pick songs of quality. if you want the good stuff, no matter the genre, you have to go to live shows/independents/web radio and look for it. unfortunately, nobody's gonna deliver it ups-style to your door. dammit.

GC (God's Child) said...

Kobe Bryant rap records?

Do those really exist? Nah, you're just being funny.


BTW, can you please explain Crunk & B?

Consider it Sound of Music Volume II

Beana said...

I'm feeling you on Rage Against the Machine, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and definetly on System of a Down, but NOT THE WHITE STRIPES!!! Nooooo!

B

Laylaw said...

I am so totally with you about reggaeton and dancehall...I just don't have any love at all for those genres.

That having been said, I think tastes in hip-hop largely depend on where you're from. For example, we in the Midwest (I'm from St. Louis originally) were all over that Houston scene, with the Geto Boys, Scarface, Big Mike, and UGK back in the 80's, when Nelly was still in his daipies. Not to mention that Tennessee thang with 8ball and MJG, DJ Squeeky, and Triple 6 Mafia back when Gangsta Boo was with the group (I still think they kicked her out because she was the only one with ANY skills).

Hip-hop and r&b will never die, because right now there's some dude in Utah honing his flow and there's a young lady in Japan who can BLOW. It's worldwide, baby!

Kelly said...

Ever listened to Pantera? That is some I'm-gonna-kick-you're-ass-what-u-gonna-do-about-it? music. i love it. Try it. Vulgar Display of Power is their best record.

Elle B. said...

I pretty much hate reggaeton..it was cool for like 2 songs when it came out..but it never stopped...never went away. I'm in LA and you know were are thick on the hispanic population, they've taken it to a whole nuther level...dedicated radio stations, parties, concerts and shit. I need a break!

Brother OMi said...

"as I try to strangle him with his chain as he yells "It's just music man, it's just music!"

too funny
hey i love reggaeton... lol!
its all love, we all have our joints we dig.. everyone is entitled to an opinion

Brother OMi said...

Tego is the man!