You a slave to a page in my rhymebook..

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What happened to the music you just couldn’t skim thru..

I Just got back to the crib from being in the mix since it was nice out even though it shouldn’t be… mid 40’s in NYC in January isn’t normal and it might hit 70 later this week while Cali is getting feet of snow. But I digress.. this post isn’t about the weather… It’s about music.

Now I know whenever the topic of what a shit sandwich Hip Hop has turned to nowadays it seems Souljaboy‘s always the one to fall on the chopping block. Is it fair… nah not at all… should we spread the objectivity around.. fo sho. However I was always one to say “well we don’t get the music, but it isn’t aimed at us” (us being the 18 and over set) sure everyone from Sam Jackson to Natalie Portman did the superman, but that could be chalked up to a web savvy publicist improving their rating with the youth.

As I was on my way home, I ended up thinking shit… when I was 15, 16, 17, 18… the music I listened to had something to say. Nas gets criticized because he reads too much, yet when I listened to “It Was Written” the first time in Sophomore Year of HS I was enthralled by the complexity of word play, the depth of story telling and the sentiment I felt through out the tracks. Instead of criticizing homie for using “big words” and reading too much.. it made me want to go out and read more.

“I seen some cold nights and bloody days
They grab and me bullets spray
They use me wrong so I sing this song ’til this day
My body is cold steel for real
I was made to kill, that’s why they keep me concealed
Under car seats they sneak me in clubs
Been in the hands of mad thugs
They feed me when they load me with mad slugs
Seventeen precisely, one in my head
They call me Desert Eagle, semi-auto with lead
I’m seven inches four pounds, been through so many towns
Ohio to Little Rock to Canarsie, livin harshly
Beat up and battered, they pull me out
I watch as niggaz scattered, makin me kill
But what I feel it never mattered
When I’m empty I’m quiet, findin myself fiendin to be fired
A broken safety, niggaz place me in shelves
under beds, so I beg for my next owner to be a thoroughbred
Keep me full up with hollow heads” – Nas “I Gave you Power”

When Wu Tang Forever dropped.. disc 1 stayed on repeat.. most times I couldn’t get past the first song with the INSANE violin solo, and after I got tired of disc 1.. disc 2 was just as good. My favorite song hands down.. was “A Better Tomorrow”

“Yo, in the housing, thousands seen early graves
Victims of wordly ways, memories stays engraved
All my live brothers, is locked down with high numbers
The young hunger, blind to these lies, they die younger
In this New World the Order slaughter men, women, and children
Ten feet gates surround the building keep us sealed in
The projects, lifeless like a vietnam vet
Constant war, sever threats of enemy conquest
Crooked cops comb my building complex that’s in the rumble
Streets are like a jungle, can’t let my cypher crumble
Vivid thoughts, Devils resort to trick knowledge
They kick garbage, lust for chicks and quick dollars
I know the pain the game bring, I did the same thing
Spaced out in the staircase, performing a sting
It’s hard to keep control, I bless those who seek a scroll
Trying to reach a whole nation and break the sleeper hold
Not a role model, I walk a hard road to follow
I sold bottles of sorrow then chose poems and novels
The gospel was told, some souls it swallowed whole
Mentally they fold, and they eventually sold
their life and times, deadly like the virus design
but too, minute to dilute, the scientist mind” – Inspectah Deck ” A Better Tomorrow”

As I think of these two vivid examples, whose mere lyrics mark a place in time for me.. I wonder how did it become the status quo that we can accept sing songy nursery rhyme buffoonery as something suitable for those 5 to 10 years removed from us. Sure those 5 to 10 years seem like 15 to 20 sometimes. (the information age is a bitch) But I never once felt the need to dumb it down. This is a sample of the music I grew up on here in BK and I was able to appreciate every line, every bit of imagery and every story painted.

Sure I might seem more often than not to critique to the point of complaint regarding todays music, but I was always ready to give it a pass, it’s for the children. Fuck that shit.. I’m writing this post to correct myself. If something seems too deep for you young muthafuckas get your intellectual weight up.

People shouldn’t revel in their ignorance.

“Wu Tang is for the children.” – ODB. Oh and if you think Kanye was the originator of the award show spaz out.. Peep this video.

  1. it is actually pretty difficult to think of the state of hip hop now with what it used to be, particularly for young people, but it seems easy for us to remember the nas and wu-tang (as well as me memorizing EVERY LINE FROM EVERY SONG off of stakes is high in 96), yet forget about all the shit-ass pop songs that came out back then as well. i suppose the thing is now that there is literally almost NOTHING in the mainstream that can pass (though the luda joint that is out right now is kinda nice). the thing is, in 96, i still had to find stakes is high and uptown saturday night — cause even if they did have a video, people still weren’t really checking for them. clearly, some people are still doing this and finding quality shit, just like the blu and exile album last year.

    good post.

  2. whatup BK, I pretty much gave up on thinking about the State of Hip Hop. I overstand both extremes. Some believe that its all by design that uninformative Bama rap is dominating the airwaves, others think is politics as usual. Me personally it would take a 3 page dissertation to give my oppinion.

    …They say if you sit back and allow horrible things to happen you’re part responsible.

    good post.

  3. excellent post sir scribe. the music of our youth was not in fact tailored to us at youth, the industry had yet to learn to spoon feed up bullshit, so we found ourselves listening to “grown folk shit” Because there was honesty in it, we got it. And lets be real… some of us werent as far removed from the content and topics discussed as “society” would like to believe.

    Before ever rapper got “rich” they had only reality to rhyme about, a reality that the majority could relate too. while it could be argued that now that they have a few dimes to rub together, and therefore are still rapping about reality.. theres still something missing.

  4. Thor i feel you.. I guess you could say The counter balance to the De La’s and Tribe was Gangsta Music.. And now the counter balance is dance snap nursery rhyme ish..

    @ cOLDI overstand we could go into a debate on this that would last till 09′

    @ Digi.. is that you on the track.. if so.. self promotion is STILL Hip Hop.. good shit

    @ green.. good point.. I know it wasn’t exactly aimed at us.. or was it.. that parental advisory made me wanna see what the hoopla was about.. similarly those advisorys seemed to be earned back then… now it is just because someone can’t think of another word for muthafucka

  5. bk- i dont think it was. rap itself was looked at as a barely marketable trend back then, so no marketer was really thinking, oh tis will be great for the 15-18 demo. marketers have become much more savvy– just look at disneys pimping the hell out of the teen market in ways they never did when we were kids.

    although.. we did have kris kross who made us want to jump jump…

  6. Cosign what Thor said, there was pop-garbage in the 90s but there was balance.

    Souljah Boy should only be given lee way in the realm of a teenager making pop music. Pop music has always had some bubble gum.

    I think when he starts doing freestyles (like I saw on MTV2 the other day) and expects to be respected as a real MC, thats when we have a problem. Good post.

  7. Good post. But this NaS verse killed me the first time I heard it:

    Scent of a rose on the graveyard for real now
    The stakes is up a half a mil now
    I tried to grab him with his shield down
    Four walked in, they’re crazy paid up
    Sharp but straight up
    Gators from Barbados, never seen nobody play those
    Lay-Low’s what they called him, his head baldin
    Sippin cappucino, spilled on his silk suits, was scaldin
    Laugh was vulgar, canvas paintings of the Isatollah
    And on his arm he wore a priceless vulture
    Tobacco pipe smoker, Escobar your life is over
    Justify the righteous nova
    Bullets flew out his right shoulder
    Corpse leavin a foul odor, The Firm Volume 1 adjourned
    Bring it to a closure


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