Monday, October 13, 2014

Real Talk

I was on recently, a site I used to visit quite often,.Out of sheer curiousity, I just happened to stumble upon the site's review on Wiz Khalifa's "Blacc Hollywood" album, but before I get to the comments towards the end of that review which sparked this post, I have a little story on Wiz. Now, I've never been a fan of this cat and never understood what anyone saw in him. In late 2010, again out of sheer curiousity, I decided to download and listen to his "Cabin Fever" mixtape, to see what all the "hype" was about. Not only was I not impressed with anything I heard, he sounded like he was high the entire time and I kept wondering, "what the hell was I listening to?" It was funny for all the wrong reasons. The ONLY time I considered myself liking something that bared his name was "Black And Yellow", which was mostly due to the tight beat and Snoop's verse. At the end of the day, the only appeal, if you will, I assumed anyone saw in him was that he smoked a lot (lyrically he had nothing), and if that's something that'll get you a large fanbase, that doesn't say too much about the direction of hip hop. Getting back to the  "Blacc Hollywood" review, Pizzo, the reviewer, made the following comments:

"There's a feeling at the moment that this generation of artists that came in with Wiz are already on their way out, and Blacc Hollywood unfortunately doesn't do much to counter that argument."

I can only imagine what the album sounds like, but that first sentence not only made me shake my head, but it also took me back a few years. Remember the "ringtone era," as well as a time when seemingly every popular song on the radio and TV had people doing some type of silly dance that would eventually end up being forgotten? There was a time when a lot of artists were coming out, lacking all the characteristics of what a hip hop artist/MC is supposed to be. I can name quite a few of them: Wiz Khalifa, Yung Joc, Young Dro, Dem Franchise Boyz, Hurricane Chris, Richboy, D4L (oh God, remember that TERRIBLE "Laffy Taffy" song), OJ Da Juiceman, Mims, Shop Boyz, Unk, Soulja Boy, etc, the list goes on and on. These cats came in out of nowhere with questionable momentum, had one or two hits, then after that they simply vanished, never to be heard from again (Soulja Boy seems to be an exception, believe it or not). Mims, whose one and only hit was "This Is Why I'm Hot" (tight beat, forgettable lyrics), was quoted as saying "he could make a mil sayin' nothing on a track," and sadly that's what he did. The more I think about it, these artists (and others like them) simply had no interest in hip hop or the culture and basically saw it as a way to make a quick buck, nothing more. They took up mad time and space on radio and TV from other artists who CLEARLY deserved the recognition and attention. For example, you would hear a STUPID song with STUPID lyrics such as "chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side" on the radio, but a talented group like Little Brother was deemed either "irrelevant" or "too intelligent?" The shit is/was mind boggling. Another interesting fact is that I was saying these same things in 2006-2007, and years later I'm still making the same arguments regarding the state of hip hop. Such a shame. I would love to ask the people who signed these artists what were they thinking, seriously. All of this unfortunately created such a watered down genre, never thought I would see hip hop with standards being set SO LOW. This has to change before it's too late.

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