Re: Death Row Bunnies

Today I’m going to take some time to address this week’s comic. It’s true, I’m a fan of Hip Hop. Now I’d be remiss if I didn’t elaborate on some facets of this, however. Despite the comic above, I’m not a big fan of the Death Row Records brand of music. It’s not my thing even remotely.

I grew up with rap music, and maybe it’s a result of my environment that I didn’t grow in the same directions it did. Right now I’m just an old, dorky white guy who has a fondness for some of the music of my youth. I’m far more moved by the up-beat, fun music put out by Tribe Called Quest, Digital Underground, Young MC, De La Soul, and others like them. I could relate to fun times. I could relate to being moved and being happy.

‘Gangsta’ rap struck a bad chord with me from the beginning. I’ll even admit to not giving some artists, who may have been great creators, the tiniest chance to win me over because of how they presented themselves. A genre of music dominated by fun and good times, even whimsical comedy every once in a while, was replaced by guns, and drugs, and hate, and such an overwhelming degree of grandstanding phoniness that I was driven away for a long time. To this day it takes something really different to catch my attention in the Hip Hop scene. Very little of it resonates with me now.

Truthfully I kind of miss it, which is why I can sometimes be found spending entire evenings nostalgically rummaging around the internet for traces of the rhythm and soul and fun I grew up with such a fondness for. There’s so little of it left, and it’s been a very long time since I’ve been excited to hear a hip hop artist anymore.

Nerdcore is moving along, and it’s a start. It isn’t there yet, though. A lot of it is simply mimicking more traditional, hardcore gangsta rap and dropping in geek related lyrics and themes. It needs to start becoming its own thing. Frontalot‘s a shining example of where it needs to start heading. He’s unique, different, and it shows that his influences are more varied than the Death Row variety stuff. It’s the right direction, but it isn’t there for me completely.

Hip Hop is inundated lately with people trying to make a fortune, not trying to make music and tell a story. The goal of the genre has gone from one of exposure and awareness to merchandising and money clips. My fingers are crossed that sometime, in my lifetime, rap and Hip Hop can pave a new path, and start making music I’m proud to listen to again.

^ 2 Comments...

  1. Kwesi

    I totally hear you about the gangsta rap (ridiculous and a shame)! Have you ever listened to Soweto Kinch? He presents a real fresh Jazz meets Hip Hop fusion (http://www.myspace.com/sowetokinch / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soweto_Kinch).

    Anyways, LOVE the comic! Very creative :)
    I’ll keep checking back for sure.

  2. brian

    Awesome! Thanks for reading! Gave this artist a listen and it sounds like he performs with a live band. I can’t state how impressed I am when a hip hop artist performs with an actual drum kit on stage. I know some artists just have a DJ and drum machine or some such. Live drums impress the crap out of me. Thanks for the heads up.