Monday, May 12, 2008

Hip-Hop is DYING

Amanda links to a Salon piece lamenting the decline of hip-hop. And it is a weird article. There are always going to be border cases that are tough to judge when laying out any sort of real hip-hop/ring-tone crap dichotomy, and usually this kind of piece will steer well clear of any of them in favor of gimmes proclaiming, say, the superiority of Tupac to Rich Boy.

But here, author Paul Kix seems to take it as a given that Paul Wall's rapping about how many diamonds he wears on his teeth obviously transcends Boosie's tribute to strong women. Which no disrespect to Paul Wall—and props to Kix for going on-record in support of both Paul Wall and Mike Jones, whose flow does not often get the recognition it deserves—but it's hardly a settled judgment in either performer's favor, and most self-appointed arbiters of hip-hop quality are just as likely to look down their nose at both of them as to choose either one over the other.

Especially when you've only just finished lauding Paul Wall for his funny lyrics, to not recognize the sense of humor that permeates pretty much every Lil Wayne verse reeks of bias dressed up as objective criticism. I mean, to each his own and there's no accounting for taste, but if you're going to knock Weezy's repetitive chorus then you can't very well expect people to take your defense of Mike Jones all that seriously.

I mean, fine, you like Houston's aesthetics or personalities or whatever it is better than other Southern rap. More power to you. But please don't pretend that you perceive some objective quality distinction between Chamillionaire and Young Jeezy.

And to echo Amanda, there have always been and shall always be shitty pop hits with shitty line dances associated with them. Sometimes they are hip-hop flavored and sometimes they taste like something else, but in neither case do they herald anything other than that the pop cultural world continues to spin on its metaphorical axis.

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