Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Posted by Michael at 9:09 PM
So, here is something weird.
During the Obama era, hip-hop seemed to lay dormant. The genre rehashed old ideas and glories while sort of going aimlessly in myriad directions. Yelawolf melded rap with country style singing, while Kendrick Lamar melded rap with R&B. The Black Lives Matter movement may have powered Lamar forward a bit but it seemed a bit morose, like a graveyard march for a dying genre. I remember one person I know asking "Is rap over?" while, when mentioning Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP 2, people seemed surprised he was still making music.
Unlike superstar rappers of old, both Yelawolf and Lamar seemed to stumble in to success - Yelawolf was vocally dissatisfied with his debut album Radioactive while Lamar took several efforts to get to the point of his last two albums, Damn and To Pimp A Butterfly. One of the rappers I was most satisfied about and that I really built this site in order to promote, Kenan Bell, was inactive during most of that period, only coming back very recently.
In the past year, however, something really weird has happened. The hip-hop world suddenly and abruptly became active again after being asleep since, very likely, all the way back in to the mid-2000s, when Nas created an album bluntly titled Hip-Hop Is Dead. Rap has been at the forefront of political consciousness with YG rapping "Fuck Donald Trump" (including in a remix with Macklemore) while Insane Clown Posse became the face of working class solidarity in a march on Washington, 1990s white rapper Kid Rock unfortunately became the face of white Trump support and Eminem drew "a line in the sand" toward white fans who may support the Donald. Rapper Nas also wrote an open letter on Trump and the resurgence of open racism.
My friend Kenan Bell favorited a tweet I wrote asking the question in the title of this post. I really hope that this thought, if true, inspires him and others to get back in to the genre that we grew up with, helping it to grow just as we did in to something for the next generation. I also hope that, based on the sharp attacks on nationalism and racism by John McCain or Air Force General Jay B. Silveria, that the brutal reality of President Trump pushes some to return to the better angels of our nature.
Posted by Michael at 12:24 PM
Friday, October 13, 2017
I guess hip-hop isn't quite finished yet.
Posted by Michael at 10:34 PM