It's funny, like most musical genres that have a decent level of maturity, there's always somebody out there saying that the music is in decline. Hip-hop has been going to hell for years now. Ah, but it's still everywhere. Well, which is it then?
It doesn't really matter to me, though I will say that hip-hop is no different than any other brand of pop music — there's good and there's not so good, and much of the former has been totally overlooked by the majority of listeners. So when people say that rap music is in decline, that it's just a pile of beats and chest-thumping, they are of course commenting on the fact that the more daring artists never see the light of day. For myself, there are outfits like Digable Planets, The Roots, and Glue who can and do expand the genre.
But then there's one of rap's subgenres: crunk. The history of that word, which cuts through people as dissimilar as Lil John, Doctor Seuss, and Conan O'Brian, isn't really worth going into. Let's just say that it's, uhmm… multi-purpose. Crunk, the music? Hey, don't ask me. I keep reading about this stuff as a genre, but my ears think it's got nothing distinctive to offer. Hey, the hip-hop version of emo?
I hate to disappoint you, but all of this is leading up not to a real review of Bred 2 Die Born To Live but a quick anecdote. I'm listening and hearing a huge pile of clichéd stuff; bitches, ho's, and motherf*cker's. There's even a cover of Ludacris' "Pussy Poppin". In between all of this are a handful of more serious things, "Livin' In The Projects" being the best of it all. Too bad the beats seem so bland and generic.
So right smack in the middle my second listen, I start flipping through the CD booklet. What's this guy have to say, after throwin' down amid the bitches and ho's and all? The first line from the dedications paragraph had me laughing out loud: "I wanna thank da Lord Jesus Christ my true maker and savior…"
I just don't know what any of this means. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go bust out my Public Enemy records.