I wonder how many parents are disappointed in certain aspects of their kid’s behavior despite their direct involvement in it? I wonder how many parents cursed in front of their kid but hate that their kid uses profanity, smoked in front of their kid but hate that their kid smokes, etc… Now of course you always want the best for your kid but realistically, how do you teach a lesson that you yourself haven’t learned and how do you have the gall to then hold your child accountable for a lack of wisdom you never imparted? The “kid” I’m talking about here is hip hop.
Now I don’t remember as much complaining about hip hop back in the day when I was young but then again, I’m not a kid anymore and also, there wasn’t an Internets that echoed the most miniscule of complaints from the ends of middle earth to center of the arts. There were only 3 plugs in 1991 (De La Soul) but were the hip hop universe fully interconnected back then, it may have been popular consensus that Nice and Smooth really weren’t that nice or smooth and at times, were a bit of a rickety rocket. This is not to say that they were not good entertainers. This is just to say that a developing art form in its infancy stages is void of subtext and thus, every advent within the budding genre was viewed favorably simply because it lacked precedent. In other words, there was no preexisting style to bite or bastardize and we were more forgiving. But does that mean that it was ALL good?
Artists we loved back then but probably haven’t touched their CD since “then”
- Das Efx
- Lost Boyz
Could it be that acknowledging the perceived flaws in modern day hip hop would mean accepting personal responsibility and our roles in why some of it is currently not to our liking? What exactly are we expecting the prevailing content of hip hop to be when every time someone asks who the greatest emcees are, “Biggie, Jay-Z and Tupac often occupy 3/5 of the slots? And what exactly was the predominant lyrical content of our beloved Mount Rushmore of hip hop? So then why are we turned off by so much talk of guns, money and b*tches when those were some of the golden era’s amendments to the hip hop constitution? Being upset at how hip hop turned out is like being upset at your own life but discounting all the decisions YOU made which led to the current conditions.
Artists we didn’t care for before but consider groundbreaking pioneers now
- 2 – Live Crew
- Cash Money / Juvenile
Are we allowing our emotional connection to that old shit to cloud our current sense of smell? Seems we can only smell the new shit but that old shit that has since dried up and calcified now looks like that good shit but if you really put your hands on it, you’ll soon realize, it’s just old shit. We’ve been resting on our laurels so long that the only thing remaining may be our laurels and that hasn’t really been hearty now has it?
Maybe it’s time to accept some harsh realities…”HIP…HOP… you claim Young Thug is not your child…the paternity test revealed however that YOU ARE THE FATHER!!”
- I love gangsta rap but I hate gangstas
- I love balling but I hate ballers
- I love women but I hate misogynist lyrics
- I love Kanye but I hate Kanye
- I love creativity but I hate change
- I love the golden era but I probably complained about a lot of it to
- I hate gangsta rap except when N.W.A. did it
- I hate drug rap except when Jay Z did it
- I hate lyrics that degrade women except when Tupac did it
Sidebar: Have you ever considered what you would be listening to if there was no hip hop? Keep complaining and you’ll soon find out. Sidebar complete.
Janita – Three Songs She’d Love to Have Written
Janita’s newest album Here Be Dragons is another in a progression of finely crafted hymns for the empowered. Whether by love, as in the silky “I Do,” or by subverting expectations, in the Beatlesesque “Not What You’re Used To,” Janita draws on lessons learned during a positively unique career that spans decades and continents. We caught up with Janita on the heels of her latest single “When It’s All Up To You” to find out three songs she’d love to have written.
Elliott Smith — “L.A.”
This is one of my favorite songs by Elliott Smith. I listened to the full album Figure 8 a lot while I was writing the songs on my new album, and it was a huge influence on me both melodically and lyrically. This song in particular has also informed some of the production choices we made later, like the heavier guitars you hear on my song “Not What You’re Used To.”
“L.A.” is incredibly melodic, but there’s an elusive, haunting quality to it. It feels like you’re always trying to reach it, catch up to it somehow. The backing vocals accentuate that feeling. In my mind, the song paints such a vivid picture of the ephemeral, fickle nature of L.A., and the similarly transient nature of the main character. Elliott Smith himself? I don’t know exactly how he does (did) it, but I’m certainly in awe of it.
Radiohead — “There There”
So hypnotic. So badass. Could the production possibly be any cooler? The melody is intricate and beautiful, and I can relate to the lyric from every which angle: as the singer, as the one being sung to, and whether in love relationships, friendships, or with total strangers. The subject matter simply comes up in life in so many ways all the time… I recently tried to express similar notions as I was writing a song, only to remember that it was already done here perfectly. Goddammit.
Punch Brothers — “Julep”
This song is simply magical to me. It’s made me bawl my eyes out at a Punch Brothers concert two separate times. It’s like that viral video that was circulating some years ago of a baby moved to tears when her mom sings a sad tune. I’m that baby when it comes to this song. It simply hits some sort of primal button in me and keeps pressing it until the very end.
While you’re at it, check out Janita’s video for “Digging in the Dirt,” a funky and faithful rendition of the Peter Gabriel classic.
New Music – Bachelor
Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and Palehound’s Ellen Kempner join forces as Bachelor – a musical powerhouse whose new record Doomin’ Sun drops May 28th on Polyvinyl.
Kemper and Duterter recorded the album during two weeks of mutual appreciation in California. Three visceral singles have been released in the lead-up, including the Pixies-flavored “Stay in the Car” and the sprawling “Anything At All.”
Bachelor has also announced the Doomin’ Sun Fest, a one-day livestream featuring Tegan & Sara, Courtney Barnett, Adrianne Lenker, Jeff Tweedy, Japanese Breakfast, Julien Baker, and more.
Self-Serving Interview with Electronic Device Does Little to Advance Musician’s Career
Two men that look suspiciously alike meet outside a fictitious Brooklyn hot-spot – six feet apart.
MC Krispy E: Very nice to meet you. (squints) Have we met before?
Electronic Device: Maybe?
MC Krispy E: Is the rest of the band joining us?
Electronic Device: (pause) I am the rest of the band.
MC Krispy E: You are Electronic Device? What’s that about?
Electronic Device: Uhm, yeah, it’s like a pen name. You know what that is, right?
MC Krispy E: I have some idea.
Electronic Device: It was actually the name of one of my dad’s companies back in the day before…
MC Krispy E: (looking at his watch) Wonderful. So… it says here you have a new single called “All Things Come to an End” inspired by the death of your brother.
Electronic Device: Yeah, after my brother died I recorded songs as a form of therapy in his old bedroom in Staten Island.
MC Krispy E: And now I read that you have cancer. Am I supposed to feel extra sorry for you?
Electronic Device: Uhm…
MC Krispy E: It sounds like this album is going to be super depressing.
Electronic Device: It’s not, I swear. I was looking for some happiness while recording these songs, there’s not much of an agenda beyond that.
Electronic Device: I wasn’t really thinking about influences while recording, but listening back I hear some Concrete Blonde, some Cracker.
MC Krispy: So bands no one is interested in?
Electronic Device: What the hell, man?
MC Krispy: Sorry, it’s almost like I can’t help it. What’s the single about?
Electronic Device: I hate saying what a song is about because everything is up for interpretation.
MC Krispy E: Humor us.
Electronic Device: I can say that “All Things Come to an End” has multiple narrators, some of which are unreliable.
MC Krispy E: (stares)
Electronic Device: And that one day I was at my Dad’s house and when I turned the corner into the hallway my Dad thought I was my brother for a moment, which was super sad because of course I couldn’t be.
MC Krispy E: And then you wrote a whole song about that.
Electronic Device: I guess so. When you put it that way…
MC Krispy E: (yawning) Tell us when the single come out.
Electronic Device: The single is out now. The album comes out in 2021.
MC Krispy E: Well, good for you. And good luck with that cancer thing.
Electronic Device: Yeah, you too.
MC Krispy E: Thanks. What?