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Stop the Madness
i'm ready for my close up mr demille
This is protected by the red, the black, and the green
With they key!  SISSIES!

Props to blackperson for her brilliant Stop the Madness Campaign where I picked up this nifty icon.

After listening to those old EPMD, Brand Nubian, and X-clan records that I bought last week I couldn't agree more.  Ever since the rise of gangster rap in the 90's, I've increasingly been dismayed with what passes for hip-hop these days.  I was thinking about this as I was listening to those records this past week. I really enjoyed the music  of the hip-hop community back in the late 80's and early 90's, a good deal of them from the Five Percent Nation Of Islam school of politics and religion. (Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers, Eric B and Rakim, MC Lyte, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul).  While I don't always identify with their politics, nor their oft militant persuasion, I loved the way they approached their sound and the skill with which they manipulated language and audio samples.  By having their identity wrapped up in the role of teacher, the lyrics tended to be very astute and they took the possibilities of rhyming structures to levels that hadn't been dreamed of yet.  I can remember the first time I head PRT's "Holy Intellect" and remember just being blown away by not only the lyrical structure, but the rate at which it was rattled off.

Paris... anyone remember him? 

P-dog, back to break 'em off somethin'
And never frontin' 'cause the rhymes keep comin'
Like lotto 'cause I'm in it to win it, I never lose
Never singin' but swingin' and bringin' nothin' but bad news

or Das Efx?

Bum stiggedy bum stiggedy bum, hon,
I got the old pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
But I can fe-fi-fo-fum, diddly-bum, here I come
So peter piper, I’m hyper than pinochio’s nose
I’m the supercalafragilistic tic-tac pro

Yeah, somebody Stop the Madness... and bring back the real hip-hop.

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Chuck D is a co-host of a show on Air America, and he rants about this a lot. He also said Def Jam records is a pile of crap now.

Chuck D's mah boy... yeah I'm a fan of the Beastie Boys, but if there's a group that I have the utmost repect for it was PE...

and i'm not surprised he feels that way... the post-Chronic state of rap/hip-hop is just depressing... sure there's some fun stuff happening in the underground, but it's just so sad that the mainstreaming of it has turned out as porrly as it has...

of course, I'm not really surprised... any time a genre truly "breaks" into the mainstream the really good stuff is typically marginalized... the teeming masses want something they can easily digest, which is how folks like Jay-Z , P-Diddy, Nelly, and their ilk have careers to begin with :(

paris came out with a new album about 15 months ago. it was reputed to be extremely anti-Bush. i never got around to finding it (downloading it), though.

a few points from my perspective:

- i agree that late 80s/early 90s hip-hop is better in quality, but there are also some really innovative things going on. in fact, it's really the only place where anything innovative is happening at all on the radio. there's a lot of it that i dislike, and obviously the lyrics have gone waaaaaaaaaaaay downhill compared to the rhymes spit by our personal faves. but keep in mind that our personal faves were isolated cases, just a handful of people out of thousands that were then active in the field.

- on the commercially-visible end, samples have fallen mostly by the wayside in the time since the famous turtles v. de la soul lawsuit. that lawsuit just happened to coincide with the rise of the chronic. licensing fees are just way too high in a lot of cases, which is why we have been saddled ever since with an excess of keyboard beats and the like, and why no one has really improved upon the bomb squad / lench mob practices.

- underground hip-hop seems pretty promising for all us old-schoolers, although i've yet to see something that fully delivers on its promise. if it's good lyrics you're looking for, though, you might find satisfaction in the likes of big undie names like mf doom or mr. lif. and certainly these artists have a lot more reckless approach to sampling.

Oh I agree with you there. The lawsuits over sampling effectively ended that era of music. What's really a shame is that in this age of digital music the possibilities would've been endless for creative sampling. OF course, the ease with which it could be done would also lead to a lot more crap in the marketplace of ideas as well.

Man... you know how to make my heart go pitter-patter by mentioning the Bomb Squad... PE records #1...

And yeah, I know there were just as many lame acts back then, too and we have the luxury of time to reflect back on the era and conveniently forget the crap that was mixed with the cream... and I won't deny that there are some fun things in the underground (the last Murs record was a personal fave of mine) but so much of it feels like a throw-back to the past rather than forging into bold new soundscapes....

yeah, i agree about the throwback thing. although the murs record was awesome! and if you didn't get a chance to hear the Madvillain album... damn.

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