Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Old School, New School, No School

What up Mi Gente! I'm back from the Puerto Rican Studies Conference in San Juan with tons of stuff kicking around in my head that I hope to share on this blog in the coming weeks.

Lets kick stuff off and spark a debate. I'm putting up this YouTube clip from Real Talk NY from the VH1 Hip Hop Honors. Real Talk NY asked old schoolers to talk about what was lacking in the new generations music. The answers were varied, but they all basically agreed that the new school doesn't have anything on them.

I'm currently working on some stuff about these crisis moments in hip-hop (Hip Hop is Dead anyone?), and how people then remember and channel "old school" hip hop. I think there is this serious push towards a retro aesthetic in hip-hop and I'm working towards how it connects to the idea that hip hop is dead. If hip hop died in the new school does that mean that only the old school can revive it?

I'd love to hear what people think about this clip and the current nostalgia towards the old school.


LALO said...

A couple of things. First of all, props on the blog. I've been searching for a blog that involves hip hop, reggaeton, sexuality, and culture. Great job!

I came of age in the 90's which was also when I first fell in love with hip hop. While I may not be considered 'old school' by most accounts, I can agree that the hip hop this younger generation is getting to know is not the same and seriously lacks the creative genius and passion compared to the hip hop I grew up with (Tribe, WuTang, Tupac, etc). But before we go pointing fingers, its important we realize that the music industry took a formula that worked and ran with it. It's fairly obvious that the garbage that does play on the radio is all part of this formula designed to rape our wallets. In my opinion, the industry is suffocating innovation, creativity, art, passion, etc. Hollywood terrorism!

However, we can't place all the blame on the execs. Although, in my opinion, underground hip hop has a lot more to offer than say 'Soldier Boy', lets not be elitists here. The fact that these types of records DO sell and have backing says as much about the listener as it does the seller. When you are riding in the car with your kids listening to lyrics that talk about "supersoakin that ho", what's wrong with this picture? We cannot exclude this and say it isn't hip hop because it is still hip hop, even if we like it or not. So the underground and independent artists can hate all they want on 'mainstream hip hop' but the fact remains that it is still a part of our movement. And even though I admit that hip hop isn't what it used to be, Hip Hop is not dead!! We are just so bombarded with the media and marketing that we fail to look around us and appreciate the local creativity. I have plenty of friends that are out there on their hustle, striving to make a living out of their passion - hip hop. And they are able to stay true to themselves. Hip hop is very much alive in spoken word, in local artists that have important things to say, that want to move us through their words. So just because the music industry prefers to use the same tired gimmicks to sell us garbage, it doesn't mean you have to buy into it. Look around you and support your local hip hop kids! We owe it to ourselves as a part of this movement to not let it be hijacked from us. Have the courage to pursue your own truth and not someone else's formula.

By the way, I don't usually like to be jockin hella hard for any artist, but if someone were to ask me, 'What's your shit?' I would def say that new Kanye is my shit.


Marisol LeBron said...

Hey Lalo,

Thanks for the love and fantastic comment. Word marking is a big part of what these old school hip hop heads think is killing hip hop but they misplace blame on the artist in a lot of ways. Its like in the Film Hip Hop Beyond Beats in Rhymes when he asks all the young kids freestyling about rape and drugs why they choose to talk about such negative stuff and they say because they're trying to get signed and that's what people (aka labels and the mainstream) want to hear.

Word I'm a big Kanye fan and I'm definitely sweating him right now I'm not even going to front.

Again, thanks for the comment and please keep checking in with the site.