Lowered expectations

I have been made to spend more time than I might fancy listening to things that I just can’t make myself like, damning any attempts to or against it as of late… For the past 5ish weeks, I been back at one of my old places of employment, this time on a part-time/seasonal basis, slinging negro clothing goods in varying levels of bad taste and egregious cost.
That is not what this post is about…

Anyway, I am working with, save for the manager of the store, people who are 5-12 years younger than me, so suffice it to say that our tastes in music greatly vary. Three times over the course of these weeks have I heard something played from the stack of CDs in the store that I would listen to at home with one being a J. Cole mixtape that I downloaded when I did get home. With that in mind, I brought in another one I’d found and brought it into the store and would never hear it again except for in my home or my car.

What, then, are we made to listen to?

Never mind, now, that 10 years ago, the mall officials themselves would not allow such things to be played out loud in the mall due to objectionable content, but apparently rules are relaxed now.
When the local radio station is not playing their normal 7 songs on repeat, they play a lineup of Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Waka Flocka Flame, Gucci Mane and whatever other ig’nant short bus rap they can come up with.
Being that this is not my number one vessel to the paying of my mortgage, I do not have it in me to complain about the nonsense that oozes from the speakers in the store in a customer-repelling volume. I do not behave as if I enjoy it either, mainly because I do not possess an internal mechanism that allows me to lie to myself.

What this does, though, is drive me to thoughts of back when in order to be ALLOWED to rap, you had to be ABLE to rap. That was up to and including being able to speak the motherfucking language. That time apparently ended sometime during the last decade – when precisely has somehow escaped me in my deluge of big boy bills.
Where this leaves us is in the presence of what the homie Tony Grands (I think) has dubbed “handi-rap” cats, those who, on the surface, are not very bright or articulate. There is no onus to exercise the need to be such, when considering their target demographic and understanding that they’re not supposed to last long anyway. That said, these songs need to be nothing more than loud, simple, profane and offensive. This works for an “urban” clothing store it seems, based solely on the overlap of the target market and it works in spades somehow.

I swear, though, that this whole thing is making me kind of stupid though. So much so that I have taken back the habit of typing my blogs in MS word instead of trusting my natural ability to do this myself. I get back in the car, then I go home, listening to music of people who should be allowed to actually make music, as opposed to those who are simply lucky enough to have gotten in on the rush exacerbated by the collective lowering of expectations. On my lunch break Monday, I spent the hour with Skillz’ album that releases today (don’t judge me, it has since earned my $10.00 or less on single-disc albums at FYE) and a line that stuck out, driving me to have written 5ish paragraphs and counting here.

“Yeah, I’m bad to the bone/I couldn’t write ‘pretty boy swag’ if I had Down’s Syndrome”

[Phlip note – no less than 15 of the two of you reading this now received a text containing that or saw it on Twitter the INSTANT I heard that line]

Wanna know the sad part about that?
I will – probably Saturday since Katie will be at work and I probably will not need to do anything to the yard – go and buy that album because it is one of an artist who seems to care just as much about the quality of his music as he does about his bottom line. Not to mention that his Twitter is often damned hilarious and sometimes includes links to free music and such.

But that ain’t the sad part.

The sad part is that I will be one of maybe 5-10k people (generous estimate, probably less honestly) who lay out the hard-earned $10.74 with sales tax for an album that deserves it, whereas some chicken eater named Juaquin Malphurs will have sold 55k in 3 weeks of an album that I wouldn’t piss on to put out a fire.

Wait, let me guess, this post makes me a “hater,” huh?

Back to the history lesson… Even southern rappers had to have a bit of a grasp on the language and an understanding of lyricism in ordered to be considered for a position as a successful hip hop act.
And please miss me with the bullshit “that ain’t hip hop, that’s rap” discussion, I put that argument to rest in April.
“But, but… what about Biz Markie?”
I will contend that rappers that were to be taken as comic relief will be given a pass of sorts, and Biz DEFINITELY falls under that distinction. Don’t forget that Big Daddy Kane wrote his rhymes anyway
I would ask, in rebuttal, what do we do when the whole of that 7 songs on the radio are rappers who would have been SIMILAR comic relief, right up to and including the silly ad-libs and Nikki Minaj’s allegedly surgically-enhanced ass and ‘tard mannerisms?

From there, we will take the Genesis of “Southern” hip hop as the introduction of Outkast and those who came on with them into the popular lexicon. While they definitely sounded different from what we’d been hearing, they could rap their asses off. Somewhere along the line, though, it seem that the accepted standard was that “Southern” rap, with regional differences in rates and style of speech blurred the lines. So much that people from other regions seem to assume that even normal people who live down here can’t even fucking read, based solely on what is heard on the radio and BET Hip Hop awards.

It used to be that the money spent by the market drove what was hot. Good shit sold and that, in the name of the classic vicious cycle, got us MORE good shit. These days, the market seems to be interested in the most dumbed-down product available, and then challenges the notion that one should even THINK of suggesting that people actually want something even decent.

Fuck it, I am off this soap box… This shit will never change. Suffice it to say that when I have come to hate a representative 90% of hip hop, I am dangerously close to simply having to concede that I am beginning to hate hip hop.
Damn this whole being old and crotchety thing.


Kousen Tora said…
It all began once Master P oozed his ass into the music market... not to mention Ma$e who always talked like he constantly had marbles in his mouth.
Not mad, only genius said…
Amen, brother....

I, too, have lamented the subjugation of music. It hasn't only happened to hip-hop and rap-- it happened all across the board. It's no secret that music is commercialized to fit into the standards of moronic teenagers, but I remember being a teenager and having a higher standard of what I listened to. It may very well be that I was a music snob from the get-go, but even so, there was a level of intellect that went into music.

Unfortunately this new generation is one Ritalin away from total mental retardation and the music industry seems to follow suit. We dinosaurs that understand in the technical sense what good music is have been winnowed out of relevancy.

I think intellect and originality just cost more than what the music industry is willing to invest.

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