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The Fall of Hip Hop Music

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In the early days of Hip Hop, most notably around the last fifteen years of the 20th century, there had always been an underlying, but often vocal, opposition to popular American music, or "pop" music. The idea was always that, by surrendering the people's music, designed for the downtrodden inner-city, to corporate America, Hip Hop contradicted everything it stood for. However, that which the soothsayers of rap feared has come true, and those cunning profiteers, who take control of every potential cash-crop they detect, have commandeered the music so seamlessly that the glory days of yesteryear and the code under which they operated, are all but forgotten.

Back then, the unwritten code implied that an artist must "pay dues", such as battling other MC's in the streets or hosting parties held in city parks or apartments, before they can be respected as a true rap artist. This code was enforced musically and collectively by those already anointed, rather effectively destroying the fragile careers of artists who had bypassed these rites of passage and crossed over into the mainstream by way of a marketing strategy.

The two most notable causalities were MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, both of whom won Grammy Awards, at a time when such honors was considered a scarlet letter in the music's culture. Such brutal attacks proved that the music was, indeed, larger than any man, and no feelings would be spared to safeguard the musical frontier which had refused to join the empire
 

Today, we see events like the annual Hip Hop Honors, which decided to commemorate The Dirty South for their “dominance” in rap music over the last decade, a dominance measured by sales, not talent, and is clearly a result of the over-exposure that comes from squeezing a successful product for everything it's worth. The landscape has been mangled. Artists that were previously banished are now celebrated, like the actor-turned-rapper and exemplar of pop star, Drake, who has shrewdly conformed to the south's unique interpretation of rap music and has seamlessly integrated with its clique, despite the fact that he hails from Canada, thousands of miles away.

In 2010, Drake, the canuck, who has outrun a sure exile by about fifteen years, wears his mainstream accolades with pride and is adored by fans, which are appearing more and more like the crowd at the Mickey Mouse Club and less like a classic "park jam". Just like Ice, who was harshly vilified and torn from grace, he has bypassed the code and has been inserted into the chain-wearing, campaign-popping world of dancing floozies and big rims. Most certainly under a team of business advisers, he masquerades as a tried and true member of the Dirty South and whistles "Dixie" all the way to the Canadian bank.

It is truly a sad state of affairs, and the real victims are the abandoned artists who are still out there. Much like the Samurai of the far east, whose ideals were smothered by their countries' desire to join the industrial surge of the west in the 19th century, they remain on the fringe and never receive what's rightfully theirs. These forgotten souls, remnants of the original colonies and second-generation frontiersman, like Slum Village, Guilty Simpson, Aesop Rock, Madlib, Oh-No, MF Doom, Kool Keith and Del the Funky Homosapien press on, following the original commandments of hip hop, equipped with the technology of the day and a skill set that's 30 years evolved.

They receive no support from major radio stations, which are in the pocket of the evil syndicate and only serve as a promotional tool for the mainstream acts, and they certainly are not honored with an award show honoring their "dominance". They aren't even invited. Their fan base consists of hip hop romantics, and their work fits the description of cult classic. Like most of our distorted perceptions of history, the present time period will be remembered as the era of the Dirty South and artists such as Drake, while those who has taken the art where it should be melt into obscurity.

So, if you enjoy the new breed, understand that you are perfectly normal. Many have adopted the music that was hijacked and taken from the ghetto by the same people who use all of their interests to control them. However, just know that when you claim to be a fan of hip hop, the music you enjoy is not in it's pure state but rather, is a deformed mutation of it.

To the rest of the fans, keep it real.

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About ProfPlume

  • Jordan Richardson

    Absolute elitist bullshit.

    First of all, I’m curious as to why you go out of your way to note the “Dirty South” and then bemoan its existence as a hip hop influence without even really explaining what it is or what specifically it is you’re referring to.

    You then discard Drake, going out of your way again to mention twice that he’s Canadian (is that meant as a negative?), and then dismissing him as some sort of talentless marketing vehicle as though he lacks talent.

    Hip hop is a big tent and I can assure you that there’s room enough for Drake and other (Gasp!) popular artists. And artists like Aesop Rock and MF Doom have been making waves for a long time, earning legions of fans in the process and having no trouble making an industry impact.

    It’s amazing that I can have an appreciation for Immortal Technique, MF Doom, Slum Village and so on and still enjoy music by Drake, Eminem, Kanye, and Jay-Z. Does that make me “normal?” Or am I only “normal” when I listen to Em and Drake?

    And how obnoxious to armchair an opinion about where hip hop “should be?” Who’s to say where it “should be?”

    Is Del the Funky Homosapien “normal” because he went mainstream in Gorillaz?

    just know that when you claim to be a fan of hip hop, the music you enjoy is not in it’s pure state but rather, is a deformed mutation of it.

    Absolute utter nonsense.

    Hip hop’s “pure state” doesn’t belong to any one vein of the art form. It belongs to the people and if the people move from Grandmaster Flash to NWA to Kanye to MF Doom to Common to Atmosphere to Drake, so be it. It’s shameful to discredit any one strand of the art simply because you believe it to be too “mainstream,” but it’s an all-too-common critique of music snobs who’d only have their world turn in one direction.

  • RunOn Sentence

    Self-indulgent articles that hyperbolically declare hip hop music dead, big up undie-rap and invariably close with the sarcastic use of a hip hop related term they know is outdated? A little too ’07 for me.

  • profplume

    I mention that he is wildly popular. That means MANY people enjoy Drake’s music. You are obviously in that group. I have no problem with that. That’s why this is an opinion piece and not a straight report.

    The people who are of my opinion will certainly attest to my facts. Being from the Bronx, I just happen to have to have witnessed the rise of Hip Hop through a different lens than, let’s say, someone in a different country.
    By no means does that make me better than anybody, but I believe, for instance, that a person who grew up to the sounds of be-bop jazz in the middle of New Orleans in the 30’s has a different view of the music’s development than another arvid fan of be-bop who lives in Seattle crca 1960. Would you not agree?
    I am willing to bet, dollars to donuts, that were not in New York City around 1975-85, when Hip Hop came on to the scene. Am I right? There is your difference of opinion. I repeat: It does not make me better than you; It’s just a perspective. (Perhaps I should have said that, however I can’t say “my perspective” in every title. My personal blog, you can see is in fact titled “Plume’s Perspective”. I digress)

    The beautiful thing about online writing is that I don’t hide behind a newspaper, I’m right here to answer questions and comments.
    I appreciate you even reading, but I assure you that to me it’s clear: Drake’s level of talent on the microphone is feeble when compared to someone like, let’s say, Doom. And I am currently recording, from my bedroom, a dis on Drake that I will gladly send to you as I am spreading it as far as the web will take it. (Although, like I said, the landscape has changed and even if I murder him, which I easily will, it doesn’t matter to people who like Drake, obviously.)

    However, that is purely an opinion and should be treated as such.

    What is a fact, trust me, is that a dude like Drake is exactly the type of person that would have been, let’s say, frowned upon, 20 years ago, for all the reasons I mentioned and then some. (He makes Puffy look hard. Nothing against Puff, he’s prooved his stamina and he’s a smart dude to go from club promoter and going through some funcked up stuff to nowactually from wher I live right now in Mount Vernon, but from my perspective, Puffy was known as soft when he was jumping around in shiny suits on the heels of the black Raider hat west coast movement. See, Puffy was an anomoly with that shiny suit stuff. He was rare, but that exact thing is what the south caught on to when THEY finally got their shine, get it Bling Bling. Puffy did it, but he was looked at as soft with the shiny, they were stickin’ with that underground that is now called “back packer” music. But the south was hungry, so they did what was hot, they don’t give a damn about the old NY roots, dissin’, battling and paying dues. Shiit, the west coast didn’t even really dig that back in 1990-ish when they got theirs (in my other piece i illustrate the evolution, which is really common knowledge anyway)
    The west was about bloods/crips, not really battlin and spraypainting, for the most part, as they were marketed.

    So, since the dirty south jumped on at the shiny time, and coin bling bling and did it even better than Puff and in bulk, that’s what they know and what the kids shoot for. Nobody is gonna say, “hey, everybody is vibin’ on the bling stuff, but I’m gonna take it to NY, NO..”

    And since they don’t care about NY, they don’t care about the “code” and it doesn’t matter that a rapper can come on the scene from a TV show, comin’ through on the streets. (Please don’t start telling me how hard Drake is, it doesn’t even matter that’s not the point. Back in the day, when hrap was new, not every corporate &&&whatever&&& was looking to throw money at rappers. The only rappers that got to be exposed were people who were “put on” where somebody vouched for him and they aren’t vouching for someone who is getting burnt in cypha’s on the street. He would be rushed off the set. Today, all it takes is a pretty face and the innate ability to stay on beat.)

    far as the dirty south, which you’re right, I didn’t explain. (they make me stay within a certain # of words)
    I have no beef with the south. As I explain in the elongated version of this article(which I will send to anyone who cares), they’re popularity is only a result of the natural progression of Hip Hop.

    First it was NY, then the west coast became popular (because they were new), then the Puffy era (and I’m not blaming him) marked the time when the music went commercial, as explained.

    Think about it. Here comes corporate America to finally claim the music for themselves.
    INow, the friggin fruit loops commercial is a rap. The burger King, everyone.

    Still with me? Anyway, here come the corporations and Hip Hop is selling like crazy…..Famous Rappers do commercials and appear on shows…nothing wrong with that, because they are making bread, but with all of that money going around, nothing is being spent unless it’s going to the maximum number of people. So they test the market, like every business does to see how they can reach the most people. If the south is what’s hot, and that puffy style, and Bling Bling, cool, but that’s where the money’s going, that’s who is being propped up. The new generation of kids come in and that’s the rap that they know.

    So, I come back to the point and, in conclusion, I repeat that Rap is not the same. I say it was a fall, you say it’s fine. Nobody’s right.

    That’s opinion. If I said that the Lakers suck…well, say what you’d like, but take it lightly.

    As far as the exceptions, like Luke and Rap-a-lot, that were in existence at the time or the NY rappers who crossed over or any of those. Everything has an exception.

    I only get a limited amount of words, as i said, so pointing out how I didn’t complete a thought is not only wrong, IMO, but it only speaks to my poor writing technique, because I am quite happy to answer any and all questions when it comes to defending my opinion.

    Thank you again for your input.

  • profplume

    Run on Sentence,

    your post prooves my point. Do you see how you speak:
    “Self-indulgent articles that hyperbolically declare hip hop music dead”
    I never said it was dead. The original model is absolutely dead, but I never say Hip Hop is dead. I say it fell(my opinion bolstered with facts)

    “big up undie-rap”
    Indie rap?? That’s an internet name. None of the people who helped shape hip hop uses the term “indie rap”
    haha
    Did RunDMC run around saying they were the baddest INDIE rappers around? of course not, just the fact that you would call it indie rap, by pure logic, illustrate my point. If it was still in its natural form, why the hell would it need a tag??

    Is a diamond called an indie diamond?

    Is New Coke the original coke?

    Is Special K strawberry the original Special K?
    If I said I listened to Indie Jazz, would you assume that was the first jazz made? maybe classic jazz or original jazz. I have no problem with the term original rap or classic rap, as it is often called for the purpose of compilations.

    If anything, the dirty south is “indie”, are you kidding me??

    Thanks for proving my point.
    I notice your reference to 2007.

    As I will repeat until my last breath, everyone, regardless of age, gener, race..etc has a right to their own two cents, but with that said, let me take a fun guess:

    You are 21 years old>>> I know I’m close, but that doesn’t mean anything except that your perspective is different than mine. The same that my grandfather Had a much more authentic view of WW2 than I.
    and-
    …… “hip hop related term they know is outdated?”– again, your age glares through as what is outdated to you is a phrase thats inception I witnessed.
    As an old bastard, my friend, I wasn’t being sarcastic about anything….lol

    Peace Out!
    I’m Audi 5000!

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Hip hop has always afforded itself a rather big tent (regional feuds notwithstanding). Even in the early days you had scenes as diverse as the elctro-funk of the west coast (Egyptian Lover, World Class Wreckin Cru) and the Miami bass sound of Florida (2 Live Cru, Magic Mike). Hip hop has always been made up of many diverse regional scenes pretty much from day one.

    I sort of have to agree with Jordan though, that this is elitist, or at least seems to have been written from the perspective of a rather obvious East Coast bias.

    Aside from that though, the narrative is bogged down by so much unnecessary and excessive verbiage, it’s a little hard to locate the actual point. Even an alleged professor like yourself should know that with writing, sometimes less is actually more….

    -Glen

  • Jordan Richardson

    Honestly, Professor Plume (or whatever you’re going by today), I don’t have the time at the moment to pick through that dog’s breakfast you call a comment. I do want to acknowledge its existence, but man…

  • profplume

    of courese not, dude, of course not…I’ll be happy to finish the conversation whenever you decide you have an answer.

    I think calculus is dog’s breakfast, because I don’t understand it, but I know It’s math, so I can’t argue it. UYou dig..keep listening to your boy, actor turned grammy winner( did you know Hammer and Vanilla Ice won grammy’s?

  • profplume

    Thank you Glen. Knock on the writing style, that’s fine, We are in an age of quick facts and dip…nobody wants to read. Every sentence makes a point. I would go through it, but when I do , I get comments like J.R. and it was wasted.

    Yes, indeed, it was written from an east coast biased, as I said.

    Please do not argue that Hip Hop music was not originated in NY, It’s not debatable.

    I also know that it’s NY against the world. Nobody likes obnoxious NY’ers with the Yankees(evil empire) hahaha

    Please present an argument

  • prof plume

    Honestly Glen and the rest (by the way, I fully expected this opposition, I am aware that Drake has millions of fans. That’s the idea.

    It’s sad that you are making this a South vs. East attack. NO.This is just an illustration (verbose or not) of the mutation of rap musice and why Drake has those fans.

    There is no sucH thing as a “sucka MC”

    Again, this is written by a 35 year old, bitter NY’er who has watched this occur. If you are not in that demographic, then you have a different angle. Instead of arguing, which is fine if you finish your argument, but you could say, “oh, that’s how a hip hop fan from NYC who has seen this thing pop off sees it”

    I go back to the grandpa WW2 stories that Jordan didn’t feel like reading. Would you argue with an old man about the war if you were 15?

    P.S. even a verbose argument can be challenged and so far, I still think I’m right.

    I’ll conyinue to be here, defending my page.

    Peace! I’m Ghost!

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I don’t think anyone would debate that hip-hop’s origins were in New York. The fact remains that those same origins didn’t stay there…but rather that they spread out and mutated pretty rapidly.

    One of the things that keeps hip-hop music interesting is that it continues to change, and as a fan I hope this continues to be the case. Otherwise the music would get boring pretty quickly. If it had stopped with the original New York sound, we wouldn’t have made it past Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash.

    When you talk to some of the more enlightened minds in hip-hop — Chuck D for example — you will also find that they embrace the concept of a broader, more artistically and politically diverse hip-hop, and one which includes everybody from the “dirty south” to the west coast and beyond.

    The tent is big enough for everyone. As for your personal tastes, one man’s Drake is another man’s Lil Wayne is another man’s Eminem. It’s all subjective when you get right down to it.

    -Glen

  • profplume

    I agree, but you must see that an actor from Canadian Nickalodeon is not the typre of MC that would have flourished in the old set.

    Chuck D is a mature dude now. It’s one reason why there is not such an opposition.

    Still, you mis read my point. It’s simple, no verbiage:

    Hip Hop has changed. I consider it a fall (the title) I’m happy to oblige articles the other way.

    Proff that it changed is the fact that Drake, a 90210 Canada actor would NOT have enjoyed his stature in rap in the early days. That’s it. He would be Vanilla ICE.

    OPINION bolstered with fact.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Okay, time to take a stab at this. Since you’re arguing that perspective matters, I should reveal that I am a 31-year-old Canadian with diverse tastes in music that can be explored by looking at my reviews here.

    That’s why this is an opinion piece and not a straight report.

    I’ve seen a lot of people hide behind the nature of their writing as though that excuses any conceivable lines of thought. This being an opinion piece does not put it above criticism in any way.

    The people who are of my opinion will certainly attest to my facts.

    This implies that facts, or subsequently the “seeing” or “attesting” of those facts, remain subject to agreement with your opinion. This is ridiculous in so many ways. Facts are facts, but this is, as you state yourself, an opinion piece. The facts are not subjective in any fashion, nor do they operate on a sliding scale, so the suggestion that people will agree with your facts if they share your perspective is just bizarre. If you use facts, they stand on their own as facts. I am challenging the assumptions you’re making based on those facts.

    that a person who grew up to the sounds of be-bop jazz in the middle of New Orleans in the 30’s has a different view of the music’s development than another arvid fan of be-bop who lives in Seattle crca 1960. Would you not agree?

    This goes without saying and makes no difference on, again, the assumptions you make. To call your piece “The Fall of Hop Hop Music” is knowingly hyperbolic, just as it was knowingly hyperbolic for another writer to blame Ke$ha for the state of American music. This hyperbole has nothing to do with your confines or background or perspective; it has to do with selling your piece to readers. Using it as such means that you take responsibility for your claims. Cavalierly dismissing it as “just an opinion” and saying “hey man, we all have different perspective…” is a discredit to the varying perspectives of your readers and to the central notion of your core opinion.

    I am willing to bet, dollars to donuts, that were not in New York City around 1975-85, when Hip Hop came on to the scene. Am I right?

    You are absolutely right, but making this assumption about all of your readers is erroneous. You present your opinion as couched in your perspective when it is not only possible but likely that others with the identical perspective, couched in NYC and so forth, could arrive at a completely different assumption and/or opinion. Am I right in suggesting that your perspective does not denote that your opinion is factual?

    Furthermore, suggesting such a perspective serves only to isolate your work from readers because they cannot relate. You say that this (namely Drake) represents the “fall of hip hop” and then fail to state your perspective in any meaningful way, choosing instead to be rather verbose in light of the obvious need this article has for REAL substance. You can’t merely back your claims by saying “hey, I was there, maaan.”

    More to the point, perhaps, is that I could argue that you were not in Canada in the late 70s and early 80s and thus did not know about the hip hop scene here and thusly cannot discredit it because you weren’t “here,” man. But that would be not only inaccurate, as anyone with education can speak to any particular musical “scene” with more knowhow than first comers, but it would be rude.

    Drake’s level of talent on the microphone is feeble when compared to someone like, let’s say, Doom.

    Agreed. But your piece makes no case for this and you yourself come from a “bitter” perspective, as you go on to explain in your comment, and this somewhat renders your criticism feeble in and of itself. It reads like a whiny story: Drake made it big and, god damn it, he shouldn’t have!

    The comment about Drake making Puffy look “hard” only serves to, again, isolate your readers from the communal musical experience. Rappers don’t need to be “hard” to be talented or worth listening to and your linear thought process on the art form makes your writing inaccessible and needlessly showy.

    a dude like Drake is exactly the type of person that would have been, let’s say, frowned upon, 20 years ago, for all the reasons I mentioned and then some

    But again, this betrays your linear perspective. What you and SO many music fans need to realize is that it’s not 20 years ago. What “would have worked” doesn’t matter and I, for one, am grateful for that. I need my music to evolve, not stagnate. If I want to listen to music that “works” 20 years ago, I’ll listen to Tribe or Jungle Brothers or something.

    they’re popularity is only a result of the natural progression of Hip Hop

    Exactly. Is this a problem?

    I repeat that Rap is not the same

    Nothing is the same, though. Suggesting it’s a fall because it’s not “hard” like it was only creates the sense that your opinion is stagnant and reinforces the sense that you’re bitter towards the inevitable process of evolution.

    Corporations seizing control is part of a much larger mechanism than just hip hop, as you well know, and it does not necessarily have a connection with levels of talent. Saying MF Doom should be big and Drake shouldn’t be is interesting because MF Doom would be required to use the mechanisms as they are currently to be as “big” as Drake and so on. His refusal to do so, much like Immortal Technique’s selling records out of the back of his vehicle and so forth, creates a sense of dignity and integrity in those artists. It shows their passion.

    That’s opinion. If I said that the Lakers suck…well, say what you’d like, but take it lightly.

    So you are willingly passing your work off as insignificant? Why should anyone care what you think if you yourself don’t care about your opinion?

    I only get a limited amount of words, as i said, so pointing out how I didn’t complete a thought is not only wrong

    I’ve been writing here for a few years now and I’m pretty sure you can go over two pages. More to the point, I’m pretty sure a more focused narrative would have made your points clearer. You aren’t all that limited by word count, Professor.

    Please do not argue that Hip Hop music was not originated in NY, It’s not debatable.

    Well that all depends on what you’re talking about. Hip hop probably found its roots in African music and was probably originated in New York communities in which many West Indies people lived, but rap probably first took its form from West African poetry. Perhaps Blowfly, a Georgian songwriter who used to do parodies, was among the first rappers (his approach was more comedic). Or perhaps it was the African tradition of “the dozens,” which inspired “battle rapping” of course, that tread the course. Or maybe the jazz poetry out of Harlem itself.

    The point is that it’s hard to pin down a movement and that’s fundamentally what hip hop is. Saying it started here or there is not only irrelevant, it’s silly.

    I go back to the grandpa WW2 stories that Jordan didn’t feel like reading.

    This just a dumb thing to say.

    Would you argue with an old man about the war if you were 15?

    Yes. I would.

  • Jordan Richardson

    you must see that an actor from Canadian Nickalodeon is not the typre of MC that would have flourished in the old set.

    1. Who cares. It’s not the “old set,” anymore. And Drake’s not trying to sell himself as a hip hop traditionalist, either.

    2. Why, again, does it fucking matter that he’s from Canada in any way or form? Why do you keep bringing this up like it has relevance? If he was from New York, would he be more respected by you?

    3. Graham (Drake) has been making mix tapes since 2006. He’s only 23-years-old, yet you’re discarding him instantaneously and his album’s not even out yet. You’re discarding him on the basis of hype alone and on the basis of comparing him to industry vets. This is a lame, indecisive critique on many levels, but you’ll just keep on hiding behind your “opinion” and keep on expressing your view that hip hop was “born in New York” and thus it justifies your “perspective.” Again, lame.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Using the grandfather argument about World War II as an example, would you not argue with your grandfather if he was to go on assuming that most Germans were still Nazis and that the war was still on with the same enemies in the same place?

    Of course his “view” of the war in its context would be “authentic,” but that doesn’t mean that his perspective has value currently or that it has more relevance. If anything, it can impose a different and outdated set of prejudices that can render growth and evolution nearly impossible.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “a person who grew up to the sounds of be-bop jazz in the middle of New Orleans in the 30’s has a different view of the music’s development”

    That’s likely because they are from some parallel dimension since bebop didn’t come about until the 1940s. Or maybe Canada. Just keeping it real

  • HipHopHonor

    Hip Hop… Just like everything else has had several evolutions, damn let it be, we werent the same person we were 10 years ago. Neither is Hip Hop. *

  • http://hubpages.com/profile/Bob+Etier Miss Bob Etier

    #1: “Or am I only ‘normal’ when I listen to Em and Drake?”
    Honestly, Jordan, if I were you I wouldn’t leave myself open to questions about my “normalcy.”

    AND…

    “And how obnoxious to armchair an opinion about where hip hop ‘should be?’ Who’s to say where it ‘should be?'”

    OPINION. Look it up. Anyone can have an opinion about where anything should be. Even you. And that was meant to be taken two ways.

  • zingzing

    honestly, prof plume, it sounds like you got old and the world moved on. or you stopped listening with an open mind. hip hop will always change, and if you don’t like it, too bad.

    if there was one thing that could have caused hop hop to die off, it would have been those late 80s sampling court cases. suddenly, hip hop wasn’t the free for all that had sparked its initial creativity. but it fought on through that, and it’s bigger and wider than ever.

    it hasn’t fallen. hip hop is king of the hill now.

  • RunOn Sentence

    “big up undie-rap”
    Indie rap?? That’s an internet name. None of the people who helped shape hip hop uses the term “indie rap”
    haha
    Did RunDMC run around saying they were the baddest INDIE rappers around? of course not, just the fact that you would call it indie rap, by pure logic, illustrate my point. If it was still in its natural form, why the hell would it need a tag??

    Is a diamond called an indie diamond?

    Is New Coke the original coke?

    Is Special K strawberry the original Special K?
    If I said I listened to Indie Jazz, would you assume that was the first jazz made? maybe classic jazz or original jazz. I have no problem with the term original rap or classic rap, as it is often called for the purpose of compilations.

    If anything, the dirty south is “indie”, are you kidding me??

    Thanks for proving my point.
    ========
    My friend, calm down. Oy vey. Of course I don’t sincerely use gratuitous, if not just plain silly, terms like undie-rap (oh and for some reason you quoted me as using the term indie rap when I did no such thing; guess that makes us even on the “I never said” scale eh?) ugh, or even worse, hipster rap, I just used it here (sarcastically, see I admit it) to express my irreverence towards the non-commerical rap music that you and countless others seem to glorify and worship to no end. Much of which I myself listen to. Love me some Aesop Rock, and I’ve always viewed MF DOOM (I believe he goes by just DOOM now, and where the hell were your all-caps?) as the Jay-Z equivalent of the underground, for whatever that’s worth these days. I’d also throw Astronautalis, P.O.S, Shing02 and Dash Speaks and in there too. And no love for Atmosphere?

    Wow, that undie thing really set you off huh? I don’t know, you seemed to me like the type who would catch the irony.

    And on that note, please don’t lie to yourself. Face it, “keeping it real” is one of those overused (should’ve used this instead of “outdated”) phrases that no one can say with a straight face anymore. See also bling, or bling-bling if it suits your fancy.

    I notice your reference to 2007.
    ======
    To be honest, I chose 07 at random, even though I knew it would be used against me. I’ve been hearing this hip hop is dead or has fallen nonsense for years now and I personally find it difficult to pinpoint when it all began. I’ve all kinds of guesses ’06,’03, some even claim it was during the 90s. But they’re all so subjective and I think we will never know. Suppose it really doesn’t matter now.

    As I will repeat until my last breath, everyone, regardless of age, gener, race..etc has a right to their own two cents, but with that said, let me take a fun guess:

    You are 21 years old>>>
    ======

    [insert buzzer sound here]

    Thanks for playing. Where did that even come from anyway? Oh well, whether you believe me or not, allow me to put it this way, I hope I’m not too old to use an emoticon. With that said: ;)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Honestly, Jordan, if I were you I wouldn’t leave myself open to questions about my “normalcy.”

    Okay?

    OPINION. Look it up. Anyone can have an opinion about where anything should be. Even you. And that was meant to be taken two ways.

    Everything I write on this website is an opinion piece, Miss Bob (hate to confuse you with the unfortunately labelled “Fake Bob”). I’m not entirely sure, however, that my opinion is immune from criticism or lively discussion.

    A lot of you “writers” really need to understand that the act of creating an opinion does not render your opinion as coated in iron. We are ALL, writers and commenters and fellow travelers, allowed to share and discuss our opinions here. It’s part of what drew me here years ago and it’s part of what keeps me writing here for years to come.

    These discussions add value, yet when you say something like “it’s just my opinion,” you’re attempting to get out from under the criticism lofted towards you. OF COURSE, it’s just your opinion, we know that. But WHY is it your opinion? And of what value is your opinion?

    There’s nothing wrong about exploring or discussing opinions, Miss Bob. I think it’s unfortunate that you felt you had to interject in this discussion to express the opposing view, as your writing here certainly shouldn’t be immune to comments and thoughts from readers and admirers.

  • NERVEX

    I agree 100% as to what was written. Hip hop has changed for the worst. Nobody can tell me that Drake, Jeezy, Lil wayne, Rick Ross, Gucci mane or a bunch of other corny mc,s got skills, substance, or subject matter. Alot of these jokers are not in it for the culture but only for the material aspect of this. Im not saying the south started this cause in my personal opinion Puffy ruined Hip Hop. Big R.I.P & mad respect to craig mack but anything other than that was crazy wack. The mind set of these young mc’s is way off. I wish hip hop would take itself seriously like classical and blues did U cant just be any cornball doing this , you gots to feel it within. We use to clown wack joints back in the day we need to step to these youngsters and let them no that no wack shit & no biting allowed. just opinion but mad respect to all

  • Alexander M

    Very well written…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/patrick-taylor/ Patrick Taylor

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as a hip hop fan who is getting burned out on the music.

    To me, hip hop is like punk rock. I love punk rock, but when it went mainstream in the 1990s, it totally lost it’s edge and lost the plot. Late 90s emo, a direct descendent of punk, has got to be some of the worst music on earth. on the other trajectory were bands that decided that they should just sound like minor threat or the ramones or the UK Subs, as if the genre was frozen in amber. That said, there was also a lot of great music coming out of punk – at the drive in, trail of dead, and Fucked Up, for example, as well as a lot of bands doing the same ol’ same ol’ well.

    Hip hop is going in two different directions. One faction is ossifying according to a set of rules laid down twenty years ago into something retro and anachronistic (see duck down’s battle rhymes and boom-bap, KRS-One, a lot of the golden age emulators). I like this sound, but it’s like all the punk bands that just sound like minor threat or the ramones or the UK Subs, as if those bands were trying to set a template.

    In the other hand hip hop is going more mainstream. There’s two reasons for this: hip hop is mainstream, and the younger generation who grew up listening to it (like Drake) never knew a time when it WASN’T mainstream. It went big at the end of the millennium, so to a lot of younger people, there isn’t a huge gap between fifty cent and green day.

    Second, hip hop isn’t making money like it used to. Back in the day you could have a relatively hardcore street act like the Wu selling millions. Even six years ago, going platinum was the norm. People don’t buy albums anymore, and hip hop fans are among the worst offenders. If you do a hardcore street album, you’re lucky to sell fifty thousand copies. if you actually want to make money, you gotta get lady gaga to sing the hook, and appeal to the teenage girls, and make a song that your mom will listen to. Drake (and BoB, and the black eyed peas) are a result of these tendencies, on one hand artistic (mixing hip hop with other influences) and on the other hand mercenary (mixing hip hop with other influences that will sell records). Drake, Lil Wayne, and kanye have all succeeded with this. Wale and david banner have tried and failed miserably.

    My solution is to not listen to mainstream rap, and not worry about it. Just because nickleback sells millions doesn’t mean rock is dead. There are still great, exciting hip hop artists putting out albums. The brother ali record last year was pretty spectacular. POS did an excellent job on Never Better of mixing punk and hip hop. Stones Throw is putting out great left-field hip hop. Even Duck Down is holding down the old school sound for old farts like me who like it.

    I agree with NERVEX – puff daddy is to blame for a lot of this. So are copyright laws that mean that it’s more cost-effective to just sample a whole song rather than build a collage bomb squad style. so is the fact that as hip hop started making money, it had to be dumbed down for the mainstream, who realized that it didn’t matter WHAT the MC, just how he said it. I can’t believe cats who are described as “not lyrical” can make money rapping, but fuck it, if that’s what people want, that’s what they get. Most art that has mass popularity is pretty shallow.

    face it. hip hop is now like rock, a large genre that is watered down and factionalized into millions of different sub genres. It’s lost it’s danger, lost it’s exclusivity, and lost it’s edge, but there are still artists keeping it real, making interesting art, and taking the form in new directions.

  • profplume

    Right on, Nervex! You nailed it with Puffy, please read my follow up article where i explain exactly how rap “fell”.

    I fully expected such opposition, as documented by record sales, but I was confident that my views were not soley mine.

    Run on Sentence, just as I correctly assumed that Jordan was a Canadian, I guessed you were 21 because you referenced 07 as if it were a milestone year, as 18 is. Educated guess, true.
    Does it matter, not really, but it certainly does not afford you a first hand viewpoint.

    If you first opened your eyes to the scene during the “dominance” of the South, well…..

    Drake also appears to be somewhat of a champion for Canada and the Jewish religion (judging from Hot 97, so I’ll also assume that. Again, it means nothing here…)

    Jordan, as said when you commented on my explaination article, I greatly respect you for your well-thought-out arguments (though wrong lol)
    Your nazi argument is not totally parallel. Still, if that was the opinion of a WW2 vet, I would respect that view as long as he took time to support it.

  • profplume

    I swear there is something going on with my “post” button. Sorry, I know it’s obnoxious.

    Anyway, Patrick and the rest, I urge you to please read my follow up article which explains this one historically and certainly mentions Puffy.
    Both were totally conceived in my own mind alone and it’s cool to see people seeing the same situation.

    Thanks everyone for making this into a very healthy debate.

  • profplume

    —Oh yes, the 40’s bebop comment is ridiculous and a sure sign of surrender. lol If you switched the dates does the point change?

    Finally Jordan,

    Regarding your long comment where you disect mine, I thank you again for delivering a decent argument, however:

    1. I do not hide behind anything. Yes, it is my opinion, but I only say that in hopes of blocking any serious personal attacks and encouraged debate. Although, I admit that I shouldn’t have used the word “facts” ( views, i guess)

    2. I hope that my second article was more straightforward and you still don’t feel slighted by what you feel is a lack of evidence or explaination.

    3. I definitely don’t wish to isolate myself from readers, nobody does, however I will never let the size of my readership to dictate my views.
    As Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio pundit, who signed a $250 million contract and dominates the airwaves despite the fact that he is only supported by 30%* of Americans and despised by the rest, can attest, it only matters that you can defend your position convincingly. Rush is so smug and arrogant in his criticism that you almost feel he’s purposely creating tension.

    * 30% is a rough estimate, before somebody tells me that my credibility is shot because the latest poll say that it’s 28%.

  • ms chocolatta

    Wow it’s funny how HATER’S RING OUT SO LOUDLY. I been around long enough know that Hip HOP IS NOT SO MAINSTREAM. It started with Mc Lyte, Public Enemy, KMD,AND 3RD BASS. However the flow of rap has change. The flow of Hip Hop has changes. We the listener want to hear our struggles, wants, and needs in a different format and if your flow is slow then your beats are weak. Its the people choice on who stands and falls either get with the pace or drift in the back and fad away. Hip Hop is not base off where you are from nor who you drop to your knee a worship. If any one who knew Hip Hop it has had all sex, color, and religions as well to bring some powerful lyrics and beats. Wow some of you don’t know Hip HOP YOU JUST GOT IT WHEN WHAT 2000’S HIT

  • mschocolatta

    profplume- I good on ur deep and hateful feelings you have toward good rappers. Yes it is your opinion. However that’s just like that body part that exit ur bodily fluids when it has been broken down into waste. You that right. Speak your peace stand for the rapper’s you feel have been overlooked. However we live in a world where if your not hungry enough you are left starving. So if all these rapper and artist are starving hard enough then they will get hungry enough take what’s rightful is theirs. Until then the soup kitchen is open. Bars need Dj’s and after hours are still banging. So keep on with your thoughts and views, there is never a right or wrong. (Philosophy 101)

  • profplume

    mschocolatta,

    Welcome, my name is Professor Plume, and here your comments are always welcome and, more importantly always answered.

    First of, I apologize, I thought all of the detractors were gone after a long and fruitful debate, and I have since been discussing my recent “Article of The Day” award winning piece and it has led to an idea I have to change the scope of the entire music world. Whether it happens is yet to be seen, but with my vision so grand, it is difficult to then ward of some implied claim that I don’t know Hip Hop. (lightly chuckles)

    umm, I believe you will find your answers within the long debate transcripts, however allow me to just say,I have absolutely no hate toward anybody. None.

    And, I say that while I am, in fact, from my bedroom, working on a track right now dissing Drake. Why? Because that is Hip Hop. That is what it was always about. There’s no hate involved, no more than two boxers have for each other after a bout.

    Thank You and I hope You will continue to participate in our healthy conversation.

  • LB

    I agree that hip-hop is dead! Why not just call it “Drugs” or “Genocide”? I mean dam the problem is there is no balance. No more filters for the wack. Every so called MC either boast of doing or sold/selling narcotics, being a pimp or anything but positive and it’s starting to get embarrassing for real!

    They need to stop fronting for the money and realize the damage that’s being done to this generation in which there is a lack of parental guidance so they can be easily influenced and manipulated.

    NY is definitely takes some blame for the elitist attitude trying to be gate keepers for the art form when being different has been what I loved about this genre in the first place. “Even Jadakiss made the same statement on NY, check youtube.”

    So now the flood gates are open especially with the birth of mp3’s and digital production. TO THE YOUTH “ALL OF YOU CAN NOT BE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT FIELD, THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS!”.

    NAS said it but people do not want to admit it, HIP HOP is dead, meaning it’s no longer an art form.

  • profplume

    lol Very interesting. I was very passionate about these articles when I wrote them (or at least serious), and I still stand behind the jist of what I said and could easily give all of the arguments for why i did (and have as you see lol)
    BUT I highly doubt I would write them today, simply because my entire relationship with, and therefore perception of, hip hop has since changed….as it has many times in my life.

    I’ve since gotten back into the music as an artist/producer myself, because of the “digital era” mostly, because to an “old school,” vinyl to MPC60, producer who went to school for engineering in the 90’s when you needed at least a hundred grand in hardware…and a lotta space to put it in, to kick out anything that even has a chance of playing on the radio much less the club, this era of laptops running insane programs and plug ins that allows you to make a professional recording…..and essentially puts you on par with a great majority of the music coming out, especially in hip hop…is miraculous. lol In hip hop, and REALLY in underground hip hop, everyone from top to bottom is basically using the same “tools” —give or take—-which completely levels the playing field, leaving it up to the man pushing the buttons. This is nothing short of heavenly, man. Anyone who truly “loves” hip hop, as an artist I mean, would be silly not to enjoy this utopia.

    Not to mention, the end of the pimp-labels hoeing out their artists, ruining their “careers”, destroying their artistic view, so they could put out 22 dollars CDs full of garbage and the ability to market and distribute your product by yourself for peanuts….with practically zero overhead and a limitless stock…….are all things someone like me dreamed of 15-20 years ago.

    So, for that reason, I now see hip hop from a lot closer. To the casual listener as I have been before, it’s wack, but if you search just a little, there are some really, really, evolved lyricists and just overall some dope shit coming down the pike. …………of course, there is also, as you said, some trash! lol And I believe what the average person of the last ten years considers to be “Hip Hop” and what MTV, BET, and Hot 97 considers to be hip hop right now……….is indeed, rather flaccid.
    But I now think…is that a reflection of “hip hop,” the true culture as we know and remember it, or simply a reflection of the mindless, and growing duller by the minute, majority of fools in this country???

    In short, the art form is and always will be there. the pallette will be clean and ready for anyone who wishes to create beauty……..and there will always be someone…and there will always be someone to answer him…and so on.