Sunday, October 14, 2007

Self-Destruction, Ya Headed For Self-Destruction!

Any purveyor of my blog knows that I sometimes refer to myself as a "Hip-Hop purist". For anybody that doesn't know what a Hip-Hop purist is, I'll give a short definition and some examples. A Hip-Hop purist is a listener or producer of rap music that feels that Hip-Hop has been tainted by corporations. They feel that the lyrics have become a less important part of rap music. Now I'll give you some examples to see if you are a Hip-Hop purist. If you ever referred to Raekwons "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..." as "the purple tape", you may be a Hip-Hop purist. If you sit in front of your computer and wait for the next Ghostface Killah joint, you may be a Hip-Hop purist. If you call rappers by their given names, in a condescending manner, you may be a Hip-Hop purist. If you refer to listeners that have a serious favorite rapper, that they constantly listen to or try to imitate, as a "Stan", you are, without a doubt, a Hip-Hop purist. If you refer to 1988 through 1995 as the "Golden Age" of rap music, and 1996 through 2000 as the "Jiggy Era" or the "Bling Era", you may be a Hip-Hop purist. If you still have debates with your friends on whether "Illmatic" was better than "Ready To Die"(no arguments, but "Illmatic" was better), you and your friends may be Hip-Hop purists. If you ever referred to the kids that rock 80's gear as "pseudo-backpackers", you may be a Hip-Hop purist. If you had the same feeling as Nas when he dropped "Hip Hop is Dead", you may be a Hip-Hop purist. If you've ever said that over 50% of the rap music played on radio or television is not the "real", you are definitely right, but you may also be a Hip-Hop purist.

Now that you know that you are a Hip-Hop purist, know that you are one of the reasons that Hip-Hop is tainted. I know that the Hip-Hop purists, such as myself, have blame corporations and record companies for the current state of Hip-Hop. Now, lets be a little realistic, corporations and record labels base their preferences on the listeners preferences. When more people want to hear Soulja Boy than Aesop Rock, the record executives are going to promote Soulja Boy more. I know that you're asking, "how is this my fault?", well you're not helping the "real" Hip-Hop get it's recognition. Instead of buying these emcee's albums(I applaud the support for Talib Kweli, Common and Kanye West), you'd rather post their songs on YouTube or your Hip-Hop purist blog. Why would somebody buy these emcee's albums when they can just download it off of one of those Internet share sites. I know that I'm a perpetrator of this crime just is much as anybody else, but I've at least came to realize that I am at fault. I visit the web for my "real" Hip-Hop before I ever go to Fat Beats, I'd download off LimeWire before I ever step inside A-1 Records. But unlike most Hip-Hop purists, I don't think I'm better than the Diplomat Stan or a Lil Wayne Stan, I just have a different preference. I never brush off a rapper because he makes music to sell records(it is the recording business). Maybe the Hip-Hop purists should get down off their gold laden thrown, they assume they inherited from Rakim, and point fingers at themselves. When that new Little Brother drops(I know you already got the leaked version), maybe you should hit up BestBuy and cop it. Instead of all the Hip-Hop purists writing blogs(I sound so contradictory right now) or making podcasts, lets get out there and make it known that we are disgusted. Lets start making things happen, instead of sitting around throwing a tantrum.

Peace, I mean WAR!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Queens niggas run you niggas, ask Russell Simmons!

With Hip-Hop Honors coming on VH1, this Monday and the BET Hip-Hop Awards coming on October 17th, I figured an entry celebrating my hometown of Queens, New York and its contribution to Hip-Hop music. All Hip-Hop heads know all about Cedar and Sedgewick, Grandmaster Caz, and the Cold Crush and that The Bronx was the birthplace of Hip-Hop. I just want to let all the misinformed know that Queens made Hip-Hop the great art form that it is(I mean was). Lets go back(back into time), everybody in the rap world was doing that "bomb-diddy-bomb" shit, then a dude named Russell Simmons, from Queens, co-founded Def Jam Records with Rick Rubin, and introduced the world to Run-DMC. Unlike everyone else during the early eighties, notably Kurtis Blow, Run-DMC strayed away from the "dah-ha-dee-ha-ha" rap that was the norm. After the introduction of a higher quality rap product, the listeners demanded more from their emcees. A year after the entry of Run-DMC into the rap arena, another young man from Queens, by the name of James Todd Smith, began a career as a rapper. Smith, better known as LL Cool J, was the first artist to release a record on the newly started Def Jam Records, a label that would be the premiere Hip-Hop label. Two years later, in 1986, another Queens bred rapper would start the mafioso rap sub-genre, that would become popular in the mid-90's. Kool G Rap, is considered by most Hip-Hop heads to be the founder of the mafioso, Scarface and Goodfellas inspired rap(and that dude that made Superhead into Superhead). Kool G Rap's multi syllabic delivery was adopted by Big Daddy Kane, Nas, Fabolous, Big Pun, and many others. In 1988, a group from Queens named A Tribe Called Quest introduced the world to the bohemian, Afrocentric sounds of the Native Tongues Posse(I know some smart ass is going to say that the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul came out a first, the JB's were too "House" for me and De La had died before "De La Soul is Dead"). Rap drove along at the same pace for the late eighties, until 1992, when Dr. Dre dropped "The Chronic". This was the introduction of Snoop Doggy Dogg, The G Funk Era, The Dogg Pound, and Death Row Records, the West coast took over Hip-Hop music. The East coast needed to bring it back to the foundation, even though many would say the return of the East coast was Notorious B.I.G.'s doing(and some would say it was "Enter The Wu-Tang(36 Chambers)"), I say it was the amazing verse on Main Source's "Live at the BBQ". A young man from the Queensbridge Housing projects in Queens, by the name of Nas spit

"Verbal assassin, my architect pleases. / When I was twelve, I went to hell for snuffing Jesus! / Nasty Nas is a rebel to America, / Police murderer, I'm causing hysteria. / My troops roll up with a strange force, / I was trapped in a cage and let out by the "Main Source". / Swimming in women like a lifeguard. / Put on a bulletproof nigga, I strike hard. / Kidnap the President's wife without a plan, / and hanging niggas like the Ku Klux Klan!..."

Even though Wu-Tang Clan's debut album was released a year before Nas', the fanfare for Nas, after the verse on Main Source's album and the song "Halftime" from the Zebrahead soundtrack, had grown drastically. Nas' debut was, and by many, still is, considered a masterpiece and the catalyst for the return of the East coast.

Since the 90's pretty much sucked for rap music(with it being the whole Jiggy Era), I'll take this time to name a few notable Queens rappers who changed the rap atmosphere. Let's start with Akinyele, famous for "Put It In Your Mouth" and "Love Me For Free"(classics). Then there is Mic Geronimo, who made "Masta I.C.", also Cormega, who's famous for hating Nas. Queens is the foundation for some of the greatest rap groups ever(and the greatest, there is no debating against Run-DMC), Mobb Deep, Capone-N-Noreaga, Lost Boyz, 3rd Bass, Onyx, Organized Konfusion(not really a great group, just Pharoahe Monch), and the great Salt-n-Pepa. Queens is also known for it's emcees willing to battle, from Roxanne Shante murdering UTFO, MC Shan battling KRS-One(and losing, but getting honored for catapulting KRS to stardom), Nas "ethering" Jay-Z, LL Cool J annihilating any contender(leading 50 Cent to coin the phrase "LL your career"), and lastly, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. 50 Cent entered the rap game with the hood anthem "How To Rob", then he got himself shot. 50 returned and did something not seen before in the New York rap scene, he flooded the underground with mixtapes. Mixtapes were a regular occurrence for artist in the south and DJ's around America, but for an artist in New York's corporate market, it was unprecedented. 50 Cent, along with his G-Unit family began to gain a following and this led to a billion dollar bank account for Mr. Jackson(and every nigga in the hood making mixtapes to get some shine). So, my whole point in this entry is that, with rap music being so shitty right now, we need a Queens emcee to save us. When rappers were using mediocre rhyme schemes, a Queens rap group saved the day. When women needed somebody to rap to them, a Queens rapper saved the day. When somebodies career had to be murdered, a Queens rapper saved the day. When rappers were partying and bullshitting, a queens rapper brought in some gangster shit. You get my point, we need a new Queens rapper(and nobody from Far Rockaway, remember Father MC, remember MC Serch, R.I.P. Stack Bundles).

Peace, I mean WAR!