Most rap fans I talk to these days have concluded that the only place to go for real rap music is to head underground. And I realized that names like Jay Electronica, Phil Ade, Action Bronson, B.I.G KRIT and others are the ones producing rap music. And Nikki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross are producing popular music songs. Which are exactly what that genre title implies. The issue is that people of a certain age are used to the now "underground" rap music being the stuff that was main stream rap music in the 90’s and early 2000’s. A sound like Wu-Tang or Mobb Deep was our rap music. But today it’s underground or (cringe) old school. And it makes me sad. First of all I’m not sure I can keep up with all the underground artists, it’s not like there is one distribution channel for good underground artists. And there are a million rappin ass niggaz out there and how can I weed through all of them to find a good one? ipods make me less patient and less likely to commit to listening to someone’s entire album like I once did when their CD was in the CD changer. So I’m missing that intimate relationship that I used to have with a particular artist or a particular album. I no longer really know what song is coming next on the album and I no longer memorize all the lyrics like I used to. Very few artists (I use the term “artist” loosely) have playbackability (I heard that term from someone else and it was perfect so I jacked it). Even the artists that I do like, I don’t actually play their albums over and over like I used to and I’m not sure why. It could be:
- That the music isn’t as inspiring
- I’m getting too old
- ipods are hurting my ability to focus on one album
Maybe it’s a combination of all of those factors. I actually found myself wondering at one point if I was even a fan of rap music anymore because I had gone such a long time without caring to hear any rap albums. But then I was introduced to some good underground stuff that re-awakened the thirst in me and I knew that girl was still there. The girl who incorporated Jay-Z and Biggie lyrics into answers to high school essay questions. The girl who went to Virgin with her brother at midnight to get Jay’s latest album as soon as it dropped. The girl who was so impressed with Beanie Siegal’s first album that she had to recite a few lyrics for her friend in a
elevator full of amused and possibly mortified Caucasian peers. The girl who wrote her own rhymes to past time while studying abroad, then recorded her rhyme over a 50 cent instrumental and mailed it from Bangkok to NY so her brother could hear it ASAP (I also taped a pic of myself to the cassette case so I would have a makeshift album cover. It was called Live from Thailand. Inspired by Live from NY by Raekwon I think). The girl who was so excited to hear that Lil’ Kim was going to have a follow up album after Hard Core that she pulled the car over, found a pay phone and called a friend to tell her the new single was coming on the radio right now (yes the album was terrible and no I had no cell phone at the time). I won’t go on. But you get my point. Loyola College dorm
I miss being a hard core rap fan.