Monday, April 21, 2008

five confessions of a hip-hop head

i've been checking out mtv(secondary channels) for the last few weeks as this month they've been celebrating the 20th anniversary of yo! mtv raps. saturday morning i was planted on the couch with a basket of recently laundered clothes sprouted between my legs. in between moments of folding clothes i found myself jumping from my seat so i could pop-lock to planet rock or wop to paper thin or just sit there and swallow big daddy kane's godiva goodness while my ears sucked on the hard candy of his cadence, savoring his lemonhead lyrics from sugary surface to sour soul.

now i've been a hip-hop head since the beginning and being from the "bk of the ny" brings with it additional pressure as one is expected to have a certain level of knowledge and taste regarding hip-hop, especially old school hip-hop. as a teenager, i was more sensitive to the unspoken rules of the game. however, now that i'm older, i'm thinking i can pop the top off of the long-held secrets regarding my fandom of hip-hop music. many of the coming revelations will probably shock you, appaul you, perhaps even make you wish for my immediate death. all i ask is that you bear with me as i reveal but a few of the confessions i've been re-visiting lately...

1. i never liked digable planets and especially hated rebirth of slick - cool like dat. the video struck me as so obviously cultivated and packaged like spam being sold at saks. everything was placed 'just so' in order to create this image of 'cool', even down to the riff. it was the equivalent of the "recipe for 'evolved' rap"...

"If one wants a neo (code:pseudo) hip-hop group who will generate lots of buzz for not rapping about gangstas and drinking and partying, here's what you need:"

  1. three rappers who are asthetically pleasing. one must have locs, one must be a female so as not to piss off the women libbers even though she'll be used primarily as a covert sex object, which means she can't wear a bra or be a fat/nasty. one must be just ambiguously sexual to appeal to both sexes (i think butterfly was that too...)

  2. abstract lyrics should be "mystical" (code: nonsensical) enough for folk to exclaim "wow, that was DEEP!" to friends even as they ask themselves"what the fuck do they MEAN?!?"

  3. video should be produced in black and white cuz it's cool when it's in black and white and ANYBODY can do it in color...(wish i knew THAT shit when i was too ashamed to tell my friends my folk and i still had a black and white television during the first george's presidency. could have saved myself a whole lot of grief...)

  4. songs must have a jazz riff cuz jazz is 'thinking man's music' and if we want to at least give the impression we're elevating the masses, we must start with the riff, even if the rap is crap.

as you can see, i just never got into them.

2. 60% of the flow/lyrics in the song self-destruction was garbage.

the three top flows on the joint:

  1. doug e fresh - he stepped out of that wack ass riff and created his own beat, sans music. best thing he could have done, and even though lyrically he wasn't bringing anything new, his flow was number one as far as i'm concerned.

  2. heavy-d - you KNOW lyrically he probably was the tightest cat in the bunch and he's another one who had the smarts to put in his own riff.

  3. mc delight - short yet powerful.

the three weakest flows on the joint:

  1. just-ice - i'm sorry, but whenever i hear his rhyme, punctuated with him talking about "IT'S TIME I RELEASE" i'm thinking dude bout to take a shit. i keep waiting for him to grunt before i hear the sound of something splashing into water.

  2. daddy-o and wise - come on, you plugged your own shit in the rhyme? this is about self-destruction of the black community and all you got is some babble followed by a plug of your song "all that jazz"? tacky bastids...

  3. d-nice - lyrically he was pretty much on time, but do you remember the video? why was he looking into the camera like that? i thought someone had a hand up his ass and was moving his mouth like he was a puppet.

3. when i saw mc serch dissing mc hammer on that 3rd bass song, i wanted to kick his ass.

no, it wasn't because mc serch was a white dude trying to take out a black dude. it was because he thought that by dissing black dude it would somehow make him 'blacker'. i was and am insulted. see, it's shit like this that had bill clinton misunderstanding what 'being black' entailed. he thought it was an address (thanks to dick gregory for that one). someone should have told serch 'being black' ain't a belief either.

4. i always thought doug e fresh was the cutest but i preferred slick rick in bed.

and i know i'm not the only one. doug e fresh might have had the tight hair cut and nice lips, but slick rick had a nastiness about him all the girls wanted to know about. he had that "i'll lick you all over and love it" look in his eyes. you think i'm playin? listen to some of his lyrics. the thing is, he wasn't making sexual promises or anything. however, through his storytelling, you could tell he'd come raw when necessary.

5. rakim is living off of past glory.

yeah, i know this last one is gonna get me killed. so be it. that dude hasn't put out anything relevant in almost twenty years. for real, how long we gonna be like "oh, that next rakim joint is gonna be DA BOMB!"? he's like that old football player who invented the boot-leg pass...significant contribution no doubt, but the invention was fifty years ago and yet we still seeing this cat at conventions collecting checks for the old shit cuz ain't nothing new to report.

aiight, that's all i've got for now. no doubt i'll be hearing cries of outrage now.