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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"I wish I was a little bit hyphy/I wish E40 liked me"

So, Sasha Frere Jones does a good job explaining the evolution/devolution of Eminem in his review of Encore (linked to on his New Yorker blog on the occasion of Em's new video).

The thing is, the crowd of white rappers is kind of dispiriting right now. Beasties aside, it seems like the main trend is nerdy white guys or hipster white guys rapping over cuts from Pro Tools. I enjoy MC Chris and MC Frontalot and MC Lars, but the long, monotonous trail from MC Paul Barman to Optimus Rhyme is kind of depressing.

MC Chris has a decent flow and has one great song, in "Fett's Vette". MC Frontalot is a clever guy, but he's not really that good a rapper. His pieces are carried more by the puns and the lyrical conceits. And then MC Lars... he's funny and acceptable, but he seems to have only two modes: making fun of cliques and 'hey, DIY is the best thing ever'.

I guess El-P breaks it up a little, between his love for John Carpenter-esque samples and horror/sci-fi melodrama. And then there's Goldie Lockin' Chain, who, are a comedy group, but since the joke is in transporting rap to the down-at-the-heels parts of Wales, it's something that feels lived in and fun, instead of posing and snarkiness. But with the exception of GLC, I don't ever feel a need to listen to an entire album by any of them. *sigh*

Weird, because I'm not really that big a hip-hop fan (at least compared to my love of indie and classic rock), but I'd like a little more variety. Music fan cannot live on D&D jokes alone, you know?

ETA 9:01 PM: If this post comes off as racist, it's me being a stupid white guy, but not intentionally. I do listen to black rappers (I just got the new DOOM album). As I remark to Leigh in the comments, there were just all these white rappers in the 90s (or wanna-bes, at least), some of whom were working class or lower middle class. Now it seems like they're all trust fund kids or tech geeks (who usually come from middle or upper class, it seems). Isn't that a weird class change worth talking about? And unfortunately, my knowledge mostly runs to relatively mainstream hip-hop and nerdcore/indie. So yeah.

ETA 9:14 PM: Also, hip-hop could probably use more representation of every other race, gender, nationality and class. 

3 comments:

Leigh Walton said...

why "white rappers"?

Mr. K said...

I just thought, there used to be all these white rappers in the 90s or wanna-bes. Then they all disappeared (most for good reason).

And now the rest are nerdcore or snide hipsters. Is it wrong to want sincere white people in a musical genre, instead of sarcastic kids with trust funds?

Sylvia said...

Personally, I think puns and rhyme make me like a rapper better than just a song with lame lyrics and a good beat. I think it just depends on your personal style. I miss Eminem.

-Sylvia
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