Friday, December 15, 2006
A "Quincy"-style autopsy on Hip Hop..
**This might make more sense if you play the clip first**
Even though my mother claims to have imbibed many bottles of wine while she was pregnant with me, her way of explaining why I have always been nuttier than squirrel shit, I think that I would have been just as crazy of a kid even if I wasn't born addicted to cheap whine. You'd think that growing up a kid like me would have been knee deep in comic books, enjoyed the lessons of "Fat Albert" before I realized that he was a closeted homosexual, checked out the very entertaining "Scooby Doo" even though I was too young to understand that Scooby and Shaggy were bona fide potheads, or maybe tuned in to the heroics of the "Superfriends" despite the fact that I wanted some dastardly villain to kill the "Wonder Twins" as soon as humanly possible because of their proverbial wackness. I watched those shows sure, but my favorite show back then was "Quincy", the hour long drama where a forensic coroner in Los Angeles would gather facts about questionable deaths that everyone else thought were open and shut cases. Besides the show being a quality piece of television, something seemed appealing to me, even then, about an old man who opens up dead people for a living, lives on a house-boat and is still able to get more ass than a proverbial toilet seat whenever he likes. My poor mother, bless her heart, besides the fact that I had an inappropriate habit of fondling the legs of the two older white girls across the street, those creamy white thighs still haunt my thoughts by the way, she also had to deal with the fact that her baby boy wanted to be a person who opened up dead for a living. I really thought that I would realize my future job goal, that was until my Jr. High science class where we had to dissect a frog and I immediately threw up my chicken patty and french fries that I ate the period before right into Jane Gloss' lap. OK, that was just one incident, that didn't mean that I wasn't destined to be a coroner, me still envisioning myself performing an autopsy and giving a press conference where I try to explain as delicately as I can without laughing that the "up and coming" starlet died due to an excess amount of sperm in her stomach. Unfortunately, as I'm about to point out, there were two more incidents that occurred in the following years that tipped me off to the fact that I would never be a coroner.
The first incident happened was in South Carolina the same summer I spent a great deal time on my great uncles farm, something that I felt would be a great experience based on the fact that he made the best moonshine and all the corn-fed women in the area who would possibly fuck me like my dick produced crude oil. Unfortunately that summer turned into a bad experience, resulting in one hand-job from a chick 20 years my senior, farm work that kept me exhausted, and the slaughtering of animals that disgusted me so much that I'm pretty sure I ate salad and bread for a year in a half. The second incident, and I'm going to try to say this as delicately as possible, is when I had sex with one of my girlfriends and we found out it was "that time of the month" by what resulted on my bedsheets. These sheets looked like I had shot a motherfucker on them so I knew I couldn't have my dear mother wash them, so I stuffed them into my car trunk to be washed at a nearby laundry-mat later. Well, I forgot about those sheets to be totally honest, so a few weeks later when I was driving my car and smelled something funny I didn't know what it was. Later, when I opened up my trunk, the funk that emerged had literally knocked me over, resulting in me taking turns violently coughing and throwing up on myself. Right then, after I realized that I would have to shit-can this car asap, I knew that being a coroner would be out of the question. I mean, if I can't take the powerful whiff of old vagina how am I going to deal with formaldehyde??
So it seems that the only autopsy's that I will be performing are ones where words are my instruments of operation, and since Hip Hop is the only lifeless corpse that I can find to do a post-Mortum on, lets get this autopsy under way. Here are what I feel are some of the causes of death when it comes to the art-form that we all know and love, Hip Hop.
Rappers who claim they don't freestyle: I respect Too Short and recognize him as a veteran in the game, but I always shake my head in disgust whenever I hear his song "Paystyle" in which he completely disregards one of the purest expressions that Hip Hop has ever known. I guess Too Short isn't the only guilty party here, ever since I first started listening to Hip Hop up I've heard rappers express their personal feeling that freestyling is irrelevant, but not only did it seem disingenuous on their part but it was a sort of a "the dog ate my homework" excuse for people who lacked the ability to string more than 2 impromptu sentences together. As time went on more and more people expressed the same sentiments, it basically lowered the bar that has resulted in this "Special Olympics" that we have found ourselves in the middle of when it comes to lyricism nowadays. Listen, I know that not everyone is blessed with a quick mind to rhyme off script in front of thousands of adoring fans, but I used to give cats credit back in the day for at least attempting to free-style. I mean, this is Hip Hop for Christs sake.
MC Hammer: People tend to give Hammer more shit than a full colostomy bag based on his artistry or lack thereof, thats not the case with me. I wasn't a fan of his music even though I did masturbate to Oaktown 357 on more than one occasion, but based on the fact that it seemed like the Oakland resident was doing what he loved gave him a pass from me, artistically that is. Doing this autopsy I've found that he is definitely one of the reasons why Hip Hop met its untimely demise, not because he wore extremely baggy pants or a speed-o in that "Pumps in a Bump" video, but because Hammer was the first rapper that proved that you could make retirement dough off of this Hip Hop shit. Sure rappers were getting paid before that, but it was basically "Benz and a little crib" money, not "summer house in San tropez and personal chef" loot, so the game changed and some say for the worst. I don't hate Hammer, but the brother did prove that you could make a shitload of dough with a limited amount of lyrical skill. The emergence of Hammer, to millions of kids who once thought that they lacked the vocabulary and the ability to craft metaphors and similes, became a god-damned inspiration.
Hip Hop Journalists Part 1: I implore all of you, any person who happens to stumble upon this post, when you read the thoughts of anybody talking about music please take their incoherent ramblings with a huge fucking grain of salt. Present company included, I'm glad that anyone reads this drivel at all, but at the end of the day trust your own instincts when it comes to what you like and not some god awful blogger that you wouldn't trust with a bag of your own god-damned laundry. That being said Hip Hop journalists have contributed to the demise of Hip Hop as well, the ones that refuse to be honest and say that a particular artist is horseshit just because said artist happens to be on the cover of said magazine that month. Maybe I'm just a romantic, but something is utterly appealing about doing a juicy interview with someone that you don't try to completely fellate, an interview where you flat out tell that artist how much of a fan you aren't of theirs, and candidly telling them that hearing one of their songs is akin to a turkey ejaculating, or a flooded car that refuses to start. But you won't hear that because they have to abide by massa's deadlines and musical sensibilities..
Hip Hop Journalists Part 2: Also you have to watch out for the plethora of wanna-be wordsmiths that want to openly rebuke the notion of Hip Hip being "dead" like the petulant children that they are. Sure they don't want to co-sign on the notion of the art-form taking it's final breaths because, dog-gonnit, they have flowery things to say about Jim Jones and claiming that Hip Hop was dead interferes with that line of thnking to be quite honest. Also, their knee-jerk reaction of 'Hip Hop not being dead" kind of makes them look like a product of inbreeding, them not understanding the hyperbole based on an art-form that we all love dearly being in complete dire straights. But its also hard to trust the opinions of many Hip Hop journalists, especially when they nitpick and slam an album of a respected artist but want to turn around and throw praise amongst praise on some down south crew named MC Chittlin and DJ Black-Face who couldn't hold the verbal jockstrap of the prior artist I mentioned. That's like you nitpicking about someones dunk-technique and turning around and giving the retarded kid a pass when he drools all over the place and double-dribbles like a motherfucker. Come on..(There are some great Hip Hop bloggers and Journalists, just the horrible ones are the fucking majority)
Southern Hip Hop: I could try to be as accommodating as possible, breaking down the slew of southern artists that I listen to just so I won't sound like I'm generalizing an entire region of folks, but fuck it, I feel that mass amounts of southern Hip Hop is straight up wack and if you don't like it I'm not exactly the hardest motherfucker to find. I'm not trying to say that if you were born below the Mason Dixon line that you are automatically a waste of rap space, but at this particular moment in time there are a shitload of southern artists that sound completely horrible. I must say though, the prominence of the south in the past couple of years has furthered contributed to the overall lowering of the bar lyrically. Simplistic beats and rhymes being photocopied out of a Dr. Seuss book that is a southern staple is the main reason why people like Jim Jones, why they give Lil Wayne props and act as if the Clipse were the second coming of A Tribe Called Quest, because the bar has been lowered so much that any old thing seems like a worthy alternative. Its like coming home from prison and chowing down on Taco Bell and fucking the ugliest girl on your block, anything is better than Prison food and a dude named "Bridgette" with his shirt tied in a knot in the front.
Materialism being the norm: I know, I know, Hip Hop has always had a hint of materialism to it, you got me there. I feel you, bitching about the rampant materialism of current artists is a rather silly endeavor when you think about all the rope chains Slick Rick used to wear and the snazzy suits and jewelery that Big Daddy Kane wore, I hear you. I guess I was cool with the materialism of the rappers of the past for 2 reasons. 1) They could spit.. Seriously, as many rope chains and cars that they talked about, it was easier to deal with because most of those brothers were lyrically sound.. and 2)Back in the day there was much more of a counterbalance. I mean, you could bitch about the materialism of Slick Rick and the violence of N.W.A, but there were so many artists to choose from with completely different approaches that you didn't seem to mind.
...to be continued.