I realized a few years ago that I had no idea what music was popular and considered “good” these days. This was mainly because I hadn’t had a car for a while and that’s where I’d listen to the radio. I wasn’t actively seeking new music, on Spotify, Genius, Vevo or whatever the hell people do these days… but if it comes my way like radio, I’ll tune in.
Today’s rant is about rap music.
I used to be a B+ rap fan. I’m 42, I remember as the form was first taking shape. Sugar Hill Gang, Slick Rick, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, etc. Times were changing in the 80s and music reflected it. Sometimes it was just entertainment, sometimes it was social discourse, and sometimes you didn’t know what the lyrics were about. Music is ultimately art.
Though the were exceptions, the two things rap music always seemed to be good for was Tempo and Beat, which are tied together. They were songs that excited people, that I could at least nod my head to if not dance to at clubs.
Or at least that’s how it was up until I got rid of my car in 2000. In the years following I had a casual finger on the pulse of rap, hearing songs here and there… Eminem Jay Z, Kanye, etc.
But in 2012 I got a car again and after a while of listening to classic rock and sports, I’m trying to learn about what’s good in today’s rap and the radio usually played the popular stuff, especially the rap/hip-hop station in NYC. And my the prevailing question that I ask is…
WHERE THE FUCK DID THE BEATS GO?!?!
What’s replaced a good drum beat is this slow, creeping be-boop, be-boop or a slow riff on a high-hat cymbal and a soft beat. And often there’s a sang musical interlude sang by someone else. And the sang choruses allow for all of the “featuring” artists in songs. Thisperson featuring Thatperson. See the example I found on the radio.
There’s no hip, and definitely no hop.
I mean, Snoop had a sang chorus in Gin and Juice, Biggie had a sang chorus in Mo Money, Mo Problems, were those the founding fathers of today’s awful rap/sang format? Is it because of them that Eminem now sounds like this?!?!:
Say it ain’t so!!!!
Rap music has lost it’s edge. And I don’t even mean they have to be about race relations like Public Enemy or Gangsta living like NWA. I know there are good artists out there somewhere, but as it seems from radio, what I’ve seen on tv and countdowns, that to gain general acceptance, music producers forgot how rap should sound.