Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Music’s Murderers Part II – Bubblegum Rappers.

First and foremost allow me to apologize for the past month’s inactivity. There comes a time when one finds oneself bereft of nutritional sustenance for 30 days. If you’re Muslim, this period of fasting is called Ramadaan. If you’re not Muslim this period of fasting is called a Recession. Anyway, I am very much alive and kicking (kicking so much ass, that is) and I’m ready and raring to go. So let us celebrate this auspicious occasion with a brand spanking new post – the second installment of Music’s Murderers.

 In the previous edition of this eponymous and seminal series, I compiled a scathing yet ultimately factual dossier on the hugely successful yet incredibly insipid Will.I.Am. Today’s targets are much, much, MUCH worse – these men are so completely inept that to associate their names with words like “talent”, “creativity”, “inspiration” or even “authenticity” would be a travesty of universal law like dividing by zero.
The result.
Although I’m largely and unashamedly a child of 90s era grunge, post-grunge and rock as a whole, I am also a fan of the rap genre. When executed well, rap can be a vociferous and poetic exhibition of victory, loss, pain and emotion. Artists like Nas, Tupac and DMX can tell detailed and vibrant stories with verve and majesty. Others like BIG, Ludacris and Jay-Z string words together in gloriously inventive ways. Eminem can of course do both.  
No argument here.

Nowadays, DJs like David Guetta and Benni Benassi achieve more success producing R&B/Hip Hop than all of the Dr Dres, the Just Blazes and the Timbalands combined. We’re witnessing a new age of hip-hop that’s more Euro-dance than Gangsta Rap and it sucks balls. I’d honestly rather have Flava Flav, Ja Rule and Milli Vanilli making music than have to listen to Pitbull speak about dollies and Tonka trucks or whatever the hell he’s spewing from the pointless gap he calls his mouth.
"I know you want me."
 Dance music and R&B/Hip Hop are fundamentally different genres and their coming together in recent years has been nothing short of Biblical abomination. In my humble opinion, any rapper who makes a song about dancing deserves to be run over by his own Rolls Royce Phantom. Twice. Fat Joe will tell you that the only dance a rapper should do is to pull up his pants and do the Rock Away.
Now lean back.
 Now, I don’t make any claims to being “hard” but I’m a copywriter – to expect “hardness” from an advertising professional is like expecting My Little Pony episodes on the portable hard drive of a scarred and tattooed dock worker. I mean I’m hardly an archetype of the copywriter breed with my benign, supreme awesomeness and whatnot but most of us are filthy, junky hipsters who do weird things like eat Macaroons, drink Iced Green Tea and listen to The Smiths. Fuck the Smiths. 

Is there anything douchier than wearing your own band shirt?
 What I’m saying is, if I was a rapper I wouldn’t be making music about doing some sort of pre-determined dance routine because that would deplete what little amount of concentrated gangsta I had left. Think about the Running Man, The Dinosaur, The Macarena and whatever the Ketchup Song dance is called and consider the performers of said songs. Would they be “gangsta” in even the loosest sense of the word? 
 Soulja Boy, one of several examples of chromosomally-challenged doofuses in question, had Crank That. A dance so goddamn complicated that you need to be something akin to balletic yoga gymnast to pull it off properly. This kind of defies the point of a popular dance-themed song. I mean imagine if the lyric of Walk the Dinosaur was “Open the door, get on the floor. Everybody... SUPERMAN DAD HO! NA ME YOOOO! CRAN’ DAT SOU’ NOW WA’ MEEEE YOOOOOOO!” Whatever the hell he’s saying. Tell me Soulja, you untalented twit, how does one *ahem* “superman” a ho per se?

Ok I think I get it now.
And it’s not just the dancing that messes with my emotions; it’s the presumptuous nature of the modern-day rapper itself. Bow Wow – the artist formerly known as Lil Bow Wow – has reinvented himself from a whiny girl-looking kid rapper who appears in shitty movies to a whiny girl-looking adult rapper who appears in even shittier movies. Bow wow wow yippee yo yippe yay, where your hits at? Choke with me now.

Bow Wow might be selling his gangsta but I'm not buying it.
 I understand that every child star must reinvent him/herself in order to keep up with demand. The whole original Mickey Mouse Club did it, so did Miley Cyrus and some other too-grown kids I can’t think of right now. Justine Bieber will do it too (her rudimentary Goth phase should be something for the books). 

Zombie. Zombie. Zombie. Oooooh!
 Bow Wow was no different because in an effort to distance himself from his childlike image, he dropped the “Lil” from his name. I found this stupid because everybody knows that rap names are inversely proportionate to their awesomeness. In other words, the less the threatening the name, the more awesome the rapper is. For example: Eminem sounds like M&M - a delicious chocolate candy whilst Gangstar sounds like he’ll murder his own mother. Which one is more awesome?

Old Dirty Bastard is the exception to the rule.
If a rapper has “Lil” (or “Yung”) in his name then he’s obviously harder than he would have otherwise been. Wayne, Mama, Kim and Jon don’t sound all that great but attach “Lil” to that and suddenly images of tattooed people with a weird, scary accents shooting at you with Tec9s while sipping Purple Drank instantly spring to mind.

Scary how easy it is to find the ideal image sometimes.
And of course every true rapper is hard to the core. We know this like we know that Lady Gaga actually makes a far better man. 50 Cent survived multiple gunshot wounds, Game was actually in a coma as a result of a gun attack and Eminem lived through the most vile of all the vile trailer-park clichés (and they get pretty damn vile). Their ability to emerge from those situations and put it down to a beat means they keeps it real and that’s important for a rap artist. What does a kid who’s been rich and famous since he was 14 know about keeping it real? Nothing, that’s what. As a result, I can’t buy the gangsta of Bow Wow, Chris Brown or anybody like that. It seems stupid to me. 

Not buying Chris Brown's gangsta either.
 I can’t blame these artists of course. It’s not their fault that they got scouted out and signed via Youtube when they clearly shouldn’t have been. It’s not the artist’s fault that he’s defecating on our favourite genres because he’d rather be the most downloaded ringtone than the most respected artist. If people are buying the albums and watching the videos on the increasingly dreg MTV then why should today’s artists consult their endless and comprehensive libraries of fucks to give?

Best. Meme. Ever.
I can respect the “Get Money” rationale - I’d 'Crank' some 'Thats' for the money Soulja Boy’s raking in because if I did and people bit it and I got a Ferrari 458 Italia out of it, then why would I care that my music was horrid? No, the fault isn’t with the artist at all. The major labels have a responsibility to stop making bad music and they’re not fulfilling that responsibility at all. They're like banks - not accountable for their own mess.

And we all know what that led/leads to.
Once upon a time it took integrity, talent and amazing writing ability to be a recording artist, now all you need is an annoying Will.I.Am-esque chorus, a stupid dance, Fruityloops, Autotune and a Youtube account – all of which can be respectively thought of in 7 seconds or downloaded illegally via BitTorrent. 
"I'd be far more famous but nobody was seeding."
 Regard a talented Jazz singer with perfect vocal control who performs in lounges. Regard an opera singer with 4 octave vocal range who nobody’s heard of outside of the 'uncool' opera scene. Regard a session musician who can play 10 instruments and never miss a beat. Now regard Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Kendra Wilkinson and realise how fickle, dumb and unfair fame can be.
Ugly. Stupid. No talent. Famous. FML.
 Everybody wants to be famous. How many famous people truly deserve it? In these times where any chick with the stupidity to have their sex tape leaked can become a global icon, what does fame mean really?  More to the point, how many really good rap songs – the likes of Nas’ ‘One Mic’ or Jay-Z’s ‘Death of Autotune’ or The Roots and Erykah Badu’s ‘You Got Me’ have you heard on MTV or your favourite radio station this year? On the other hand, how many times have you heard Pitbull, Soulja Boy, Chris Brown or Will.I.Am on about the same nonsense?

Fame. You're doing it wrong.
There used to be a time when aspiring rappers wanted to be Nas, Jay-Z and Tupac. Now every South African rappers sounds like comedy sketch making fun of Lil Wayne/Drake. Stop doing that.

And stop driving while you're at it JubJub.