Aight, dedicated readers. I've had it. I've gotta put my foot down. I've lost my tolerance. I can't take it anymore. I'm getting too old for this silly ish. I'm not saying I'm too good for it, but I'm too old. I've decided this after sifting through endless hip hop records over the last month or so. Believe it or not, this is not a commentary on the quality of hip hop, but rather specific elements within hip hop that I simply outgrew. Session is in class. Listen up. Learn.
I've been faking it for the last seven to eight years. I gotta be honest with you. I hate intros on hip hop records. They make no sense whatsoever. I don't need a formal setup, I don't need you to tell me what you're gonna tell me, I just need you to get it started. Intros serve no purpose, but to confuse the consumer into thinking they're getting one more track. If I have to hear one more intro with a baby crying, a squad car siren or someone smoking weed, I'm going to take an ice pick and ram it into my ears to gut them of the ability to receive sound. Get on with the record, you silly rappers. They don't lend anything to the record, they don't help build context and they certainly don't make it more entertaining. Remember this, with listeners moving toward a shuffle format, you're better off just leaving off the intro because once it goes onto an iPod, the intro is going to be sandwiched in between track eight and track fifteen. Leave it off and get on with the damn album. The outro is twice as stupid. It's like we need a recessional like it was a church service. Stop being so self-righteous and simply fade to black. Let's not confuse "creativity" with "longwindedness."
SPOKEN WORD EMCEES
To my coffee shop brethren, I apologize. I can't stand your steez. If I wanted "poetry," I'd read. And, for you all that don't know me, I hate to read. If I'm listening to a hip hop record then I expect to hear just that. Once you go dropping the "revolution will not be televised" horsecrap in there, I just tune out. Maybe I'm not deep enough. Maybe I'm just a shallow pair of ears that just wants to shake my ass, but I can't do the poetry anymore. No offense to the Last Poets or Gil Scott-Heron because dudes were dope, but it ain't as relevant anymore. I don't have time for it. I just turned dirty thirty and I ain't gettin' any younger. I want you to rap your ass off and leave the snaps for those kids drinking coffee quoting Ginsberg.
Again, like with above, it's not the material that I really have a problem with. I mean, if you want a positive message to put out there, go on with yo bad sef, but dude, go easy on the holier-than-though posture. I get it. But looking down on the dudes that talk about ice and women simply because they are and you're not doesn't put you on a higher ground that makes you exempt from criticism. You might poise yourself as an intellect, an eccentric or even an artist as opposed to a rapper, but it doesn't entitle you to the penthouse suite. Plus, once you devote years to the music of Public Enemy, you ain't gonna say anything that I ain't already heard. I'm too old. Leave me alone. Go save a whale or go windmillin' for peace. You ain't better than Young Jeezy, Lil' Wayne, Mims, Bun B, Mike Jones or Rich Boy just because you wear a robe and denounce fame and fortune.
THE GUEST R&B VOCALIST
Whoever started this horrible trend (Ashanti/Ja Rule), I'd like for you to publicly apologize. You've made great records good and good records garbage. I know it sells records, but I've lost my tolerance for this crap. Whenever I hear someone on the hook, I black out and swear I'm stuck in traffic listening to 50 Ford Taurus horns. It's like that sound when your ears reach their threshold for volume and it just becomes one single deafening midtone. I absolutely despise this garbage. I'd much rather hear someone scratching a record on the hook. Maybe I'm alone, but then again, this is older, less tolerant generation speaking. Get your own damn record and stay off the cut. I guess we can thank the trailblazing Grammy morons for actually creating a Grammy for this blend of hip hop only encouraging and validating such garbage.
Yeah, I might catch hell for this one, but it's an old gimmick and anyone that still falls for it is an nincompoop. Yeah, I bought into a few battles, but the ol' "yo, let's settle it on the mic" stuff is so West Side Story and just corny. I like battle raps, but just going after one dude to sell a record is played. And live battles are just as bad these days (with few exceptions). They talk all this "freestyle" garbage like they just made it up. Let me help the general audience out here, real freestyle emcees you can tell because they don't say they're freestylin'. You can just hear it in the content and delivery. If you have a favorite freestyle emcee, grow up and realize that dude ain't freestyling. Youngblood.
20-TRACK HIP HOP RECORDS
Let's get this straight: because of labels pushing for song counts and quantity over quality, hip hop records are often discounted to be predominantly filler. If dudes would release 11-song bangers and help redefine the formulaic approach to hip hop records, you wouldn't see so much downloading and bootlegging. We know all that glitters is just interludes. I don't have the time or patience anymore to sit and listen to any hip hop record over 14 songs. Tell me one person who enjoys hour-long bowel movements and I might reconsider. Good albums are made better by cutting out excess. Bad albums are made less painful by cutting them in half. Shorter records means a better world with healthier children.
Do it right the first time. You'll keep your fanbase happy and music buyers happier. Trust me.
HIP HOP VS. RAP DISCUSSION
If I have to go through this meaningless and endless conversation again, I'm really going to just walk down the street and start throwing rocks through the windows of strangers. I'll make it as easy as I can for you: they're the same damn thing. People who like to have this conversation just like to hear their voices. In fact, those who like to break down the genre into smaller more specific sub-categories (emo hip hop, gangsta rap [yes, people still use this term--Fox News], alternative hip hop) just exhaust the crap out of me. Call it what you want because it's all the same thing. Red cow, blue cow. Just stop arguing about it. It's okay to say you like "rap" and it makes you no cooler to your friends to say that you're into "hip hop, but not rap." If it does make you cooler, you need to find some new friends because them peeps are just tools. They're the same folks that listen to "conscious rappers" and think that those battles are real.
THE GUEST RAPPER
Look, it can work. And it has for many artists. But when you flip over an album and it looks more like a compilation than a studio record, maybe you don't really have a rap career. Perhaps you're just wanting to put your buddy on. That's fine. Or maybe you know this dude that spits absolute fire and you want more people to hear him. Also fine. But if you can't carry one freaking track on your own, you don't belong in this game. Leave record-making to the big boys who can do it without training wheels.
THE UBER-PRODUCER ALBUMS
As evidence of the Pharrell record, the Timbaland record, the first Swizz Beats record and the fact that the second Swizz Beats record has yet to release, stick to producing others because you ain't no rapper and you sold all your best beats for $75,000 a pop to Justin Timberlake. Yes, Kanye's different. Much different. And when I say "uber-producer," I'm not talking about Doom, Madlib, Dilla Dawg, El, Dan the Automator, Prince Paul, blah, blah, blah.
Alright, it's time for another intriguing episode of Real World over an ice cold beer. Be good, folks. Los Angeles post forthcoming. Maybe this weekend.