Monday, March 24, 2014

Stuck In Time

"This for my trapped in the 90s n*ggas!" -Nas (Loco-Motive, 2012) 

Loyal reader, as you know I'll be the first to tell you that while I embrace certain aspects of today's hip hop scene (not all of them), I'm an "80s baby" who is admittedly stuck in the 80s and specifically the 90s, and you can base that on the majority of the material I cover on the blog, as well as my listening habits over the years. For whatever reason, there are some who take issue with the very notion that there's a large group of fans who continue to rever such pivotal times in hip hop history. With all due respect, the only people who are likely to take these issues are those of today's generation. I was going to make this post an extended one, but I'll present my thoughts as is. I've said most of this before and I'll continue to repeat it.

Comparing today's hip hop scene to ANY period between its beginnings up to 1999 is like day and night. Actually, there's NO comparison. Simply put, in the 80s and 90s, hip hop was filled with not only talented MCs who cared about the culture (as well as wanting to be the best), but the music itself had aspects you don't see today: creativity, everyone had their own style and more freedom as artists (do you think an album such as the Geto Boys' "We Can't Be Stopped", album cover and content wise, would see the light of day in 2014). I can go on and on and on. Speaking of style, most artists during those periods had their own and didn't try to hop on the latest trend or sound like the next artist (you can make a case that a lot of cats hopped on the "gangsta rap" bandwagon, but even then you got a lot of different perspectives in that area). When you turned on the radio and TV, there was a true balance in terms of the material being presented, instead of showing and playing the same thing EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is not to say that the 80s and 90s were perfect. Those decades had its share of wackness, but damn, that wackness wasn't put over MUCH better music. For example, did MC Brains' "Oochie Coochie" receive more TV and radio play than Black Sheep's "The Choice Is Yours" in 1991? Absolutely not. There's a clear reason why the latter is a true hip hop classic and the former is a mere footnote in hip hop history.

Overall, it's all about nostalgia, respecting and recognizing the architects of hip hop and its culture. Contrary to what some today may believe, hip hop did NOT start with the likes of Drake, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, French Montana, Waka Flocka, OJ Da Juiceman, Yung Joc, Wiz Khalifa, Dem Franchise Boyz, D4L, Soulja Boy or any artists like them who have contributed to the VERY watered down sound of this music for the last 10+ years. We're "stuck" in those aformentioned decades because they produced quality, classic, timeless music, creativity was rewarded, not blocked, there was no fear of expressing yourself, intelligence was celebrated and not ridiculed, relevant issues of the day were discussed in the music, plus more, which we'll sadly never see again. Why would anyone be "stuck" in any period or embrace an "era" where there's nothing going on and it's lacking in every form possible? I'm sorry, but if anyone out there thinks we're in the midst of a creative resurgence or a "golden era", I'm not sure what genre of music you're listening to, but it sure isn't hip hop. Years from now, while people such as myself will CONTINUE to sing the praises of how great the 80s and 90s were, I don't forsee anyone being "stuck" in the post 90s hip hop world.

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