Monday, September 29, 2008

acapella at it's best

As you may or may not know, I'm a music freak. And I mean freak. I've been known to listen to everything from Frank Zappa to Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin to Fiona Apple, Keith Sweat to Slick Rick. The reason I bring this up: I miss music. Anyone see where she went? Remember the days when bands and artists started on the street corners, singing and playing for anyone who would listen? Remember when selling tapes out of your trunk was the only form of marketing? Since when does going on tv, having someone else do your hair and make up and singing someone else's songs make you an artist?! Since when does making a few words rhyme over someone else's beat make you an MC?! I can't understand this. I'm looking around at Da Band, Danity Kane, Taylor what-in-the-hell-were-they-thinking Hicks, Yung Berg, Lil Mama... I just do not understand!! I remember when battling was a way to show your love of the culture, community, the art of Hip Hop. Now it's the breeding ground for violence and aggression. Why? I think the main problem here in the confusion between Hip Hop and Rap. Many don't know the difference, or that there even is a difference. But rest assured, there is. I understand Rap's mentality of wanting money and/or fame, the aggression that comes with the Rap lifestyle and background. However, Hip Hop - true Hip Hop - is not Rap. I feel that all great Hip Hop artists can also be rappers. But rappers aren't necessarily Hip Hop. Pardon me for saying, but being a great Hip Hop artist takes a good deal of knowledge, education, lyrical genious, wit, humor, love, acceptance, understanding, fun and hardwork, among other things. Seems like nowadays, if you can catch the beat and know two words that rhyme, you've got a record deal. If you've got the look that people have mistakenly identified with being associated with the Hip Hop culture, then you've got a record. I'm sick of it, quite honestly. I'm tired of having to defend "Rap" music because people don't know the difference between the two. Sure, I enjoy my deal of Rap music as well. I like the bland lyrics and watered down beats that all the sound the same, but get the people dancing. I like cruising in my car listening to the radio just as much as the next guy, but.... I guess I just miss real artistry. I miss the 80's and 90's, when music took real talent. I miss stuff like this.... - Stop, Look, Listen by MC Lyte who is seriously one of the greatest lyricists in the Hip Hop game, and one of my personal favorites. One of, if not the, queens of Hip Hop in the 80's - MC Lyte brought a raw and uncut style of rhyming to the stage. Still making hits today, she is a true pioneer of the art of MCing. - If I Ever Fall In Love Again (Acapella) by Shai is one of the best 'boy band' songs of the 90's. Along side Soul 4 Real, Boyz II Men, Jodeci and many others, Shai showed real talent. Although they aren't together anymore, songs like this remind me of the 'good old days'. - The Show by Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew, which included Ricky D - who later changed his name to Slick Rick - and DJs Barry B and Chill Will. This song is the epitome of Hip Hop. It's fun, witty, and the talent it takes for Doug E. Fresh, the Human Beat Boxer, to create the sounds he does with his mouth is absolutely incredible. If you don't agree this is amazing, then check your pulse, 'cause you must be dead!! - Cinderfella by Dana Dane is the perfect Old Skool Hip Hop song. It's all about telling a story, and in this case, it's Dana Dane's version of the classic tale. His flow, style and character are nothing short of brilliant. This is definitely one of those songs that can always put me in a good mood!

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