Sunday, June 11, 2006



This is a bad, bad thing. Not only is it a bad thing because it attempts to sugarcoat the culture and pitch it to children who have no business listening to it, it also craps over 25 years of history with this utter bastardization. Let's not judge the book too closely by the cover, but there's dancing bunnies on the front (I suppose a much too literal take on the album's name which is equally tragic--Hippity Hop--like some Mother Goose-Mary Poppins storytime horsh-ish)...and there's carnival clowns.

So maybe you're saying, "j3, perhaps your mistaken. Maybe it's not really a take on hip hop. Maybe that's just the name of it, but the content is something completely different."

Well, please join me in reading through the description of this piece that was pulled directly from the (notice the very edgy "z" instead of "s" in the plural of "kid", this is like a freaking time machine). Here it is:

“It's Hip-Hop, Mom and Pop”

The Mayor of Mount Vernon, N.Y., is turning a 94-year old firehouse into a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. . . Lauryn Hill recently collected an armful of awards for her hugely successful hip-hop album. . .

So what exactly is hip-hop and why is it so difficult to keep still and stop smiling while listening to it? Well, try this one on for size: Music For Little People's newest release, Hippity Hop. It's a duly danceable initiation to hip-hop, with familiar songs for younger audiences transformed rhythmically into this street-inspired sound. A sprinkling of seasoned artists mixed generously with talented West Coast teenagers will have Mom and Dad raiding the kids' CD collection.
My favorite cut is Cultural Heritage Choirs' poppin' version of "Cookie Jar." I can see Dad now, tooling to work, windows down, bellowing at the top of his lungs, "Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?" The Choir, along with Eric Bibb, also has a fun time reinventing "Funky Nursery Rhymes"; and Taj Mahal jumps all over "Everyday People," and a Bob Marley tune, "Three Little Birds," with Shinehead sharing vocals.

Maria Muldaur offers a brand new version of "Brand New Key"; and traditional songs from the slavery era, "Juba Dis and Juba Dat" and "Little Liza Jane," are given hip-hop life by Sheila E and the album's producer, Linda Tillery, respectively. Rounding out the album is Tillery’s take on "Mary’s Dancing Lamb."

So when the mayor of Mount Vernon looked at that old firehouse and said, "It looks like a building, but it's not. It's an idea," I guess what he meant was that hip-hop is an idea that's here to stay.

Keep in hippity-hop touch with me at Catch you on the flip side.

Let me know when you're done vomiting.

There's a number of things that are completely wrong here. I'm not sure why the writer can't keep still and stop smiling when listening to hip hop, but there is nothing about this that is "street-inspired". This is Romper Room. NWA would be "street-inspired." How about "Brenda's Gotta Baby" if you want "street-inspired"? Then the writer makes a "coastal" reference which is just so tremendously disturbing and, even worse, the writer suggests that the parents will be "raiding" the kid's CD collection because of this hunk of crap. Wow. That's a family with some serious problems.

Okay, read with me, the following sentence three times consecutively. Tell me this doesn't absolutely scream hip hop culture:

My favorite cut is Culture Heritage Choirs' poppin' version of "Cookie Jar." I can see Dad now, tooling to work, windows down, bellowing at the top of his lungs, "Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?"


And, uh, yeah, I guess hip hop is an "idea that's here to stay," being that it's now over 30 years old, but you would never be able to tell that from looking at this piece. This times hip hop so badly. It places it as a fad, a passing phase and, what's even worse, is it uses it as a sort of educational, clap-your-hands type of instrument for children. Why is it bad? Because it's not at all a realistic depiction of hip hop. And it paints a very misleading picture for children of the world that's on the outside of their picket fence. And, beyond that, hip hop is so drenched in culture and none of it is present here. No breakers, no graf writers. It's an absolute insult. And, sorry, Bob Marley is not hip hop. He was black and smoked incredible amounts of weed, but those two elements alone do not make him hip hop.

Thaddeus' first children's record will be De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising. If you insist on giving your kid a hip hop record, make it this one. Sure, there's some stuff in there a youngin probably shouldn't listen to, but I'd rather my child have an understanding of the culture rather than learn a couple of stupid dance moves and end up getting his ass kicked in junior high because he's been living with his head under a pile of stones and think he has an understanding for a culture or a race because he listened to this crap growing up.

I'll leave you with a few comments (sounds mostly like parents) posted on Enjoy. I'll catch you on the flip side, G.

"Hippity Hop is the best childrens cd ever. It really touches my soul. I feel that all ages can get into this music. With songs like cookie jar, everyday people, funky nursery rhymes, brand new key and others this cd gives hip hop a new meaning. Try this cd and give it your own opinion. Don't take my word for it."

"I loved this CD and my infant son does as well. I think we will be listening to this CD well into his toddler years - it can be sung along to quite easily. I am a huge hip hop fan and I got this because I am finding that my collection is inappropriate for young kids. But this CD did not offend my hip hop sensibilities at all."

"This CD is simply and utterly awesome! My toddler has been bebopping to it for months and when she's old enough to understand the words, she'll also get inspiring messages from "Brand New Key." The girl's solo in the middle of that song is really nice and spreads the word about the world living together as one. "Cookie Jar" is too cute and too funny--an original and creative remake of that kid's song. I still crack up every time I hear it! But most importantly, I love that my daughter is getting a taste of different flavors of music and American culture. The musicians have taken some classics and fitted them with a new sound representative of African-American culture. I'm a white American living in France and so couldn't be more thrilled that my daughter is exposed to children's music from my country other than Barney, Seasame St., etc. I'm waiting for #2--hurry up!"

"...Parents need not be alarmed at the inclusion of rap, which adheres to its original definition (rhythm and poetry) and never offends. All in all, this should have the kids up dancing, digging, and doing their thing, hippity-hop-style..."


TX said...

Please...shoot me in the face. This is awful. In the meantime, nice Brenda reference. Maybe one of the best "street-inspired" songs ever.

scumdog steev said...

A hip hop album for children should include Lil Eazy-E. Hah.

Seriously, how can you have a hip hop album for children without real hip hop? We should do a compilation for kids, including NWA's "100 Miles and Running" or Wu-Tang's "CREAM." Those are some lessons kids should learn.

You're right about De La Soul, too.