Author Topic: The Hip-Hop and Rap Music Talk Thread  (Read 574 times)

C

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The Hip-Hop and Rap Music Talk Thread
« on: February 27, 2015, 10:59:04 am »
I figure this is something that warrants discussion- rap music. My dad actually came up to me about a week ago and said to me that rap music was "bad" and it was teaching people that the world owed them something. So I asked him to cite the rappers or songs he had apparently been listening to, and he told me that it was from an analysis. I asked him to present me this analysis so that I could review it as an avid listener of rap music, but he wouldn't. Probably didn't exist... but...

Still, even if there was an analysis, what's this reputation that rap music has with conservatives or musically ignorant people? The easiest answer I can give is that most rap music that is presented by record companies in music videos is rap music that glorifies the thug lifestyle, or braggadocio rap wherein the speaker brags about material possessions and the women he has.

That sub-genre of rap music exists, but a lot of it is actually very fun to listen to if only for its self-awareness and cheesiness. I don't wanna drop names and song titles yet, though. The first question I have is "Who do you think of when you think of rap music? What song?"

Aesthemic

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Re: The Hip-Hop and Rap Music Talk Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 11:17:17 am »
When I think of rap, I think of Ill Mind of Hopsin 5. It is a GREAT track with a LOT of emotion. Hopsin is one of my favorite music artists overall because he does what he wants and doesn't let others influence his style. It's his style and no one else's. He has changed over time and thus the topics have changed over time, but it is all about what he feels on the inside and how he sees the world. Keep in mind that he is VERY blunt in his music...

I really think rap and hip-hop gets a lot of its bad... rap... due to, as you said, how record companies produce "mainstream" rap and hip-hop. I would say the biggest focus in mainstream music is sex, drugs, and alcohol. It seems between that and material possessions, that is all that matters in life. I cannot agree with that, and as a result it really turns me off from the music.

There are things I do that don't define me. I like my music to do one of a few things:

  • Tell me a story.
  • Support my current mindset.
  • Stimulate my mind.

Mainstream anything doesn't do ANY of this for me. I think that is the big problem. The main view of rap and hip-hop is drugs, sex, and alcohol. None of that does ANY of the above.

Until really digging deep into stuff like Hopsin, I didn't have much of an appreciation for rap. I listened to a few artists from time to time and some of it was really good, but I never really had anyone to talk with to discover new artists. I listened to some nerdcore and it was great.

It has an unfair reputation and that's because people keep pushing that agenda; it doesn't have to define it.

(I'm really digging the stuff you suggested to me btw.)

C

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Re: The Hip-Hop and Rap Music Talk Thread
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 12:18:19 pm »
Quote
I really think rap and hip-hop gets a lot of its bad... rap...

Please excuse me while I reprise my role in corpse disposal.

...

... ...

... ... ...

Alright. Aesthemic is right, the biggest problem with rap music is not the music itself, it is what is presented from the genre by record labels. First of all, the drugs/sex/alcohol party sells, but not because of the drugs/sex/alcohol. Even the rappers that I revile the most all seem to rap their hardest on their braggadocio tracks. Braggadocio is, by definition, aggressive bragging, which means that the lyrics are written to be spoken roughly.

I happen to love the braggadocio sub-genre because it can get very cheesy, but it's easy to see why it alienates people from rap music as a whole. So the criticism from outsiders mainly comes from a perspective of disliking hedonism or gangstahood, which is often present in braggadocio rap. I can hate those songs for their lyrical content, but I can enjoy them for their style.

But music is, and historically has been, capable of being used to tell stories or inform. Just think back the Vietnam era, where Edwin Starr's War appeared. It can be used to inform, inspire, and entertain, and rap music isn't an exception. It can cause emotion just as it comes from a place of emotion.

In the greater hip-hop and rap culture, the mainstream are often seen as sellouts. There's a lot of anger in it at times. Most often I see braggadocio rap being used as a "fuck you" to a rap artist's or group's detractors, but it is also from a place of insecurity.  They have to justify to themselves where they've come from and where they're going.

I'm gonna drop this here.

El-P's Last Good Sleep, a song he wrote and rapped with Company Flo, from the album Fun Crusher Plus. This is not him bragging, this is not about drugs or sex. This is about when he was growing up with an abusive alcoholic stepfather. It's very depressing! It's also an example of what Aesthemic said he liked, music that tells stories or stimulates his mind, but it's not the best example of what you'll find when you try to get into rap music.

More often than not, when you try to get into rap music, you either have to ask around or just dive into the shit and hope you find something you like. I started with House of Pain, because Top O' The Morning To Ya is a fun song and I liked the beats. Now, I can't go back to House of Pain like I can with El-P, because House of Pain has maybe two or their thought provoking, narrative heavy songs to El-P's entire albums of them. There's a backdrop to House of Pain- that is, it's based on the Irish crime families in New York- but it's hard to see by the lyrical content.

And actually, House of Pain was the only group I listened to for a long while, until La Coka Nostra, a sort of reunion project for most of the members of La Coka Nostra appeared. I don't even like La Coka Nostra for the most part, except for two songs, because La Coka Nostra exemplifies the greatest problem people have with rap music- every song really is about drugs and sex in some way. I like the rappers- I mean, Everlast did an interesting solo country-rock stint for several years after House of Pain broke up in '96- I just don't like the project.

A Brand You Can Trust is worth listening to because it's sharp lyrically, but it is also alienating all at once. I think my point there is that I can acknowledge that there might be some rap music that is unpleasant, but it falls down to taste. I don't like rap music that glorifies junkie/pusher life, and I think thug life rap is generally pretty silly.

What really got me into rap music was Killer Mike with Ric Flair. It has this mix of cheesiness and  motivation, and the beat is catchy enough to make you nod your head incessantly to it.  It's easy listening. That's good rap music, and I don't think most people will argue it.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 12:36:33 pm by C »