Influences of Today: Music

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Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:26 pm

This thread has been created due to the following post:

Shikanosuke wrote:This likely belongs in a discussion of its own but oh well.

TooMuchBaijiu wrote:That sounds like the perspective of someone with little to no acquaintance with rap, save from what he hears on radio or television. Rapreviews.com is about as close as one can get to a complete archive of prominent rap records. I'd say out of the hundreds (if not thousands) of records they've reviewed, a great number of them are devoid of much of the hedonism and mayhem that rap is notorious for. I'd also say a majority, if not a vast majority, are records that carry a good deal of social commentary and portraits of everyday life.


And that sounds like the perspective of someone who loves rap and wants to find a bastion of merit where none exists. More accurately, it sounds like a hip-hop purist who wants to salvage the name of his favored music. I can understand that, as being a former hip-hop purist myself. And quite frankly, I think you're making crap up. The vast majority is exactly as they seem. Poorly written lyrics with little to no depth, with smart well-crafted messages sprinkled amongst them. I'm not above denying there are some who stand out as exceptions to the rule.

Also, I agree that almost all of rap has elements of "social commentary" of how they perceive their everyday life. That commentary is shit. Typically its skewed and displays a lack of education and a fatalistic lifestyle, the thug lifestyle. This is exactly what I've been saying I hate from the get-go.

EDIT: Also, it has perceptions how they want to sell their everyday life to their audience.

Now, why do the more lurid albums get airplay? Why are many of the most financially successful rappers notorious for their violent lyrics that often are perceived as glorifying criminality? 'Cause Americans love that shit. Look at IMDb's Top 250. The Shawshank Redemption, whose most sympathetic characters are murderers and con men, tops the list. Everyone relishes how Andy Dufresne scammed that Warden, right? What's #2 and #3? The Godfather, parts 1 and 2. The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly is at #4, Pulp Fiction at #5, Fight Club and Goodfellas sit at #15 and 16, City of God is at #18...shall I go on?

Gangsta rap stands out in hip-hop for the same reason gangster movies do. The characters are anarchic bastards who do the things we wish we could and get away with it...at least until the last reel.


And, I think you're only partly correct. You're explaining why they appeal to white kids, who buy tons of the records and then go back to their ordinary existence. Acting like the populace who listens to rap is homogenous is errant. I listened to rap as a youth for reasons far far removed than some of my classmates. I realized this even then and tried vainly to conceal it. I viewed the rappers closely to what you describe, but they were never real role-models, never heroes, and never something I seriously thought about as a valid career option or something to aspire to. I don't wish I could get away with almost anything rappers purport. Namely, because I'm not a thug and have a basic understanding of how the world should work.


Don't think of sales. Sales don't matter in the long run, it's influence. Who will be remembered ten years from now? More often than not, it's not the rappers who come with no substance (though admittedly guys like Too $hort have been amazingly prolific) And honestly, if you were to say the above about rappers like Rakim, Ice Cube, Black Thought, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, Chuck D, Lupe Fiasco, Guru, MC Zion or Ice-T (a partial list) you'd probably get laughed out of the room.


Sorry, I think you misunderstand influence. You seem to focus on it only in the vacuum of the hip-hop community which actually looks for such influence. The majority of rap kids/listeners out there don't know who Talib, Immortal, etc are. If they do know, they know of them because their favorite rappers might have mentioned them in reverence once. I used to be on the same mindset as you. When people criticized rap for what it is, I used to say 'nu uh! look at these guys!'. But the truth is, that isn't how it is. The average rap listener is about as dumb (and interested in rap's legacy) as the lyrics typically are. Sales show exactly what is popular, and why it is as well.

Who will be remembered ten years from now is only a matter of concern who gives two shits about rap as an art form: people like you. For the rest of the world, they aren't concerned. Want to know what messages are accepted by the audience of rap? Look at the popular crap.

The interesting analogy is our respective position in constrasting genres. I love country music. I don't like, or at least have a lesser respect, for a good portion of the pop-country that is portrayed on tv and played on radios (mainstream). When people make criticisms of country music, I don't get to ignore what the vast majority of country music listeners listen to (pop-country). I don't get to point to the underground country artists who I think negate the criticism and prop it up as a rebute.


Replace the word "rap" with "every genre of music since Caveman Bebop" and you might have something there. Most music sucks. Most artists suck. Artists with less substance get put over people who go right over the heads of the general public. The Salieris of the world have been owning the Mozarts since the beginning of time.


While what you are saying is true, what I am saying is also true.


Again, think of longevity. A lot of "mainstream" artists in every genre burn bright for a year and fade away. A lot of respected artists only make modest sales...over decades. Bob Dylan, for example, never had a number one song. Neither did Bob Marley. Johnny Cash only had one. Mariah Carey has had 21. Who's the more influential?


Johnny Cash was the face of image of country music...during his lifetime and entire career. He had over a dozen number once hits, had his own tv show, and was invited the White House. Dylan never had a #1 song, but had multiple top-selling albums. I don't know about Marley. But none of this answers the problem I have.

The influence over decades is irrelevant to shaping the minds of the youths who eat it up. They don't wait, like purists do, to see what floats to the top and what fizzles out. They take what they listen to, distills its message, and incorporate it. Furthermore, why does that crap sell well? More significantly, why do the minorities demand said messages so much?

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Personally, I grew up around hip-hop artists and some who were aspiring ones in NYC and my mother grew up with Doug E.Fresh. In fact, Black Rob (who was a one hit wonder :lol: ) grew up in the same housing project I grew up in. It was pretty interesting being around people like that in the 80's & 90's and honestly (because something was mentioned about him in the other thread), KRS-One was big in New York where many people argue hip-hop started. Just as Shik mentioned in the above post, I'm also a hip-hop purist and enjoyed the days of Eric B. & Rakim, Guru, Blackstarr, etc.

I agree that today's rap is basically as some put it (c)rap and it is nothing short of fanfare. What people wish they had, wish they could do, and pretty much just like to hear. Itching ears anyone?

This post is just for starter purposes.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:34 pm

Zhuanyong wrote: Just as Shik mentioned in the above post, I'm also a hip-hop purist and enjoyed the days of Eric B. & Rakim, Guru, Blackstarr, etc.

I agree that today's rap is basically as some put it (c)rap and it is nothing short of fanfare. What people wish they had, wish they could do, and pretty much just like to hear. Itching ears anyone?

This post is just for starter purposes.



Just for the record, I don't have a problem with hip-hop purists. I used to be one myself.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:42 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:Just for the record, I don't have a problem with hip-hop purists. I used to be one myself.


I wasn't saying you were. :wink: I was just pointing out that you mentioned that you were a hip-hop purist.

I would say I stopped listening to rap about 7 years ago and even when I did, I could clearly see the ridiculous patterns that had already taken root for years. It was getting bad probably in the late 90's from what I recall. It just went from bad to worst to [.....] in over a span of about 5 or so years during the late 90's and early 00's. I rarely even listen to R&B these days, except when I get in one of those modes. All about sexin' these days. :lol:

I've had a lot of influence from classical and orchestra genres in recent times. Even to the point where I'm considering purchasing a violin and possibly a piano. Since I love writing poetry anyway, the ability to do such using musical instruments seems all the more intriguing.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:01 pm

I wanted to keep the OBL conversation relevant to itself so I responded here.

Shikanosuke wrote:Having a "nice" voice isn't relevant to me. Lot of better people die every day.


All jokes aside, Whitney Houston was relevant to a lot of people aside from those who profit from her financially. A lot of teenage girls and young women got a lot of aspiration and confirmation for their future lives and what they could become in their careers. Many Afro-american girls (of that era) learned that they could be beautiful and could be on the cover of a popular magazine i.e. Seventeen. In her early life, pre-Bobby Brown, she was a role model for what many could aspire to be.

As for voice, as many in the music industry have already said, she is the measuring stick for whether or not a female singer can really sing. I recall hearing a number interviewees say that when they test voices, they have the songstress sing a Whitney Houston song because of she could hit every range with precision. It's just a sad thing watching her destroy her life and losing that precious ability in the end. I would say her voice was greater than nice.

I wouldn't say 'a lot of better people' die every day, but I will agree that there are people who are doing better things and making more appropriate contributions in life dying every day that get no notice.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:29 pm

Zhuanyong wrote:
All jokes aside, Whitney Houston was relevant to a lot of people aside from those who profit from her financially. A lot of teenage girls and young women got a lot of aspiration and confirmation for their future lives and what they could become in their careers. Many Afro-american girls (of that era) learned that they could be beautiful and could be on the cover of a popular magazine i.e. Seventeen. In her early life, pre-Bobby Brown, she was a role model for what many could aspire to be.

As for voice, as many in the music industry have already said, she is the measuring stick for whether or not a female singer can really sing. I recall hearing a number interviewees say that when they test voices, they have the songstress sing a Whitney Houston song because of she could hit every range with precision. It's just a sad thing watching her destroy her life and losing that precious ability in the end. I would say her voice was greater than nice.


To all of this I don't really have any quarrel with. Partly because I don't doubt its true and partly just because I'm not familiar with a lot of it.

I wouldn't say 'a lot of better people' die every day, but I will agree that there are people who are doing better things and making more appropriate contributions in life dying every day that get no notice.


And that is where my cynicism comes from. You may respect Houston, among other artists, for their talents but in the end she destroyed her own life. Furthermore, and more to my own point, there are great people who sacrifice for others who die who get no notice while our celebrity-worshipping culture pulls out all the wetworks for someone...because she sang well.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:26 pm

Shikanosuke wrote:Furthermore, and more to my own point, there are great people who sacrifice for others who die who get no notice while our celebrity-worshipping culture pulls out all the wetworks for someone...because she sang well.


I agree that we live in a celebrity-worshipping culture, though I don't personally involve or revolve my life around it, for very specific reasons. A lot of that is fed by the media and how they attempt to ensure the portrayal of that person is in the positive or negative light they may have lived in. I also agree with your inference that it's ridiculous.

Those who died for others, for instance, probably didn't do what did for notariety so it's probably best that they aren't exalted and in many cases sad that they're not.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:22 am

Zhuanyong wrote:Those who died for others, for instance, probably didn't do what did for notariety so it's probably best that they aren't exalted and in many cases sad that they're not.


There does exist an institutional process by which people who died for others are recognised and exalted.

As to whether such people do so for notoriety, that's doubtless happened in some cases, but I'm not sure it was ever a moral hazard - you'd never be around to ensure that your deeds in life would be recognised in sainthood.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:00 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:There does exist an institutional process by which people who died for others are recognised and exalted.

As to whether such people do so for notoriety, that's doubtless happened in some cases, but I'm not sure it was ever a moral hazard - you'd never be around to ensure that your deeds in life would be recognised in sainthood.


Yahusha (Jesus) and Shemshon (Samson) come immediately to mind in regards to those who died (though not for any notariety) and were later exalted for their individual exploits. Though, I don't believe in sainthood but, rather that someone was considered tzadeqim (righteous ones). From my experience (and those who follow that mindset that I've spoke to), the term 'sainthood' or being a saint implies that someone dead, is being worshipped and or prayed to, which breaks the commandment against necromancy.

I do understand what you mean, and thank you for the retort.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:23 pm

Zhuanyong wrote:
Those who died for others, for instance, probably didn't do what did for notariety so it's probably best that they aren't exalted and in many cases sad that they're not.


Sure, to many is in fact just doing their jobs. Or for being a caring individual. And while I don't disagree they didn't do it to be famous I don't think it means we shouldn't pay proper homage to such people and such acts, especially above celebrities.



WeiWenDi wrote:
There does exist an institutional process by which people who died for others are recognised and exalted.


I mean, while this is true I don't even think its really even relevant. The Catholic church isn't going to deign Sainthood to people as often as these people die, and never for the right reasons. We shouldn't be relying on a Church's subjective and selective process of choosing certain individuals to memorialize.

EDIT: But your statement is true, there is one institutional process. As there in the military structure as well. But I'm just concerned with our celebrity worshiping culture where one singer dies and we're RIPing all over the place.
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Re: Influences of Today: Music

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:47 pm

We may see something similar if Paul McCartney were to die. I can't think of anyone else who would garner that much attention in the music industry. Janet Jackson may have been more successful than Michael, in her music career, but I don't see her getting the same treatment.

And while I don't disagree they didn't do it to be famous I don't think it means we shouldn't pay proper homage to such people and such acts, especially above celebrities.


I suppose, in my case, that depends on your definition of paying homage on whether I agree with paying homage to those who died.
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