Has hip-hop grown up a bit?
From the angst ridden social conscience and party vibe of the early 80s through to the gangster wishes and decrepit stories of the 90s, the flash and bang and synth of the 00s to the hip-hop of today: considered, mature, political… boring?
Of course, these are all broad sweeping statements, there’s shades of grey everywhere and within everyone, but let me say why I’m wondering this.
And his new album “Life Is Good”.
The same rapper that declared Hip-hop is Dead, (and regardless of whether you believed it or not, if you’re a hip-hop head, you probably bought into the argument) has released an album exploring his role as father, husband, their eventual divorce and of course the obligatory street conscience that named him one of the greatest ever rappers since his debut with Illmatic.
So here we have a world where hip-hop means Odd Future, Nas, Plan B, Kanye West, Jay-Z… well to me anyway. If I’m missing heaps it’s because I’m leaving heaps out, derr.
But some of the cleverest music of recent has been at the hands of crazy kids (Odd Future), or old heads (Nas, Jay-Z).
And even Odd Future has some pretty interesting things to say about the state of the world. Whether you buy into the hype or not is up to you. But the music’s got some strength, lyrically and beat-wise. It’s framing the world of the future hip-hop heads just like Gravediggaz did for me when I was younger.
And I like to think that I make some pretty articulate and creative statements in my art even with that dark background of music. So don’t write off the youngies. Time is only relevant to your position in it.
If you’re listening to hip-hop, let me know. I’d be interested to hear if you think it’s grown up, or maybe you think it’s dumber? What position does Australian based hip-hop music have in it all? I haven’t discussed it because I don’t really listen to Australian grown hip-hop music. Not since I was at a gig that felt like a klan rally. Although with the likes of Mantra, Rainman, and Hermitude, my attitude has swung back into giving Oz Hiphop a bit more of a chance.
Just don’t talk to me about 360.
So Hip-hop, you old bastard.
Is it smart? Is it relevant? Or has it got boring since NWA split?
Does music even have to be “smart” or “mature”? How does it become reborn? Is Kanye even relevant as an example?
I just like Nas’ new album.