Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm Just So Ricky Ricardo - Ridiculous

So I am on the shuttle, shuttling between shuttle stops on the work campus and we managed to get stuck in traffic between buildings. Traffic between buildings? - you ask - I know, come on, this company isn't THAT big yet, but its not Google employees. Its concert traffic. My informal visual survey of the people in traffic around me included spoiled brats and their parents in gigantic SUVs, cars full of teenage girls, and lonely looking single middle-aged women. Who could be playing at the Shoreline Amphitheatre which would draw such a crowd? Josh Grobin? - nope, not enough old ladies. Alanis Morrisette? - nah, crowd is too young. Carrie Underwood? - don't think so, the rodeo contingency was too low. I decided to look it up. It turns out it is the Jonas Brothers. Who the hell are the Jonas Brothers? - you ask. Clearly you don't read Tiger Beat, Bop or US Weekly (Tiger Beat for adults). The Jonas Brothers are the latest iteration of the Partridge Family/Nelson(the music group, not the person)/Hanson musical family Disney sponsored crap-fest. And they just cost me 5 minutes of my life - and about 30 seconds of yours (depending on how fast you read).
So my dad made some comments last week I think about hip hop, some were fair, some were dumb.

"there will be hip-hop aficionados ten years from now, but the fact is: it's over. All that is left of American culture can be summed up in the interchangeable cover of the latest DVDs: foreshortened glinting pistols (preferably automatic). If we weren't reliving the same, tired, rage-against-the-establishment posturing, I could be persuaded that things were different. But there isn't even any self-awareness of the fact that they've been co-opted by the military/industrial/entertainment complex. The Notorious B.I.G.: coming soon to a theater near you. (A Division of SONY)"

Now, let me start by stating that I am by no means impartial in my view of hip hop. I'm a fan/fiend/geek. That said, hip hop isn't over, its not even close to being over. Its reaching its stride, hitting middle age and churning out some of the best music I have ever heard in my life. The raw creativity of the early 90s has made way for more polished and smart music that is being put out now. If hip-hop was an infant/toddler in the 80s, it was a rebellious teenager in the 90s. Maturity is a good thing in many ways. I will also admit that I am a painfully nostalgic person so my perception of things that happened in the past (music, people, movies, things I have said, things I did) is always elevated to some kind of star status like Shinobi. The legitimate criticisms in my mind that my dad makes are these: hip hop is commercialized, it glorifies violence and it presents itself as anti-establishment when it isn't. Hip hop is guilty on all charges, and fuck it, so am I. Hip hop and I are a complicated couple, get over it. Do those things make it dead? Shit no, those are issues that have always been associated with hip hop and always will be.
OK, getting off my soap box and going to throw some fire atcha.
Some RA The Rugged Man:
RA hands out some free lessons on these ones. His verse is second on this track. Also, shout out to Masta Killa and Killah Priest, two of the illest Wu-Tang MCs. Take notes.

OK, shout out to Dan on this one. I read about this track on Wikipedia but hadn't heard it until he sent me the track. According to Wikipedia RA's verse tells the story of his dad's experience in Vietnam.

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