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(talking about local hip-hop variants)
'In a funny way, the pasty-faced, steroid-popping northwest England scene donk is a distant cousin of all these black American sounds: same anonymous rapping, same humorously boastful/sexist lyrics, same bling videos, same utterly local orientation offset by the occasional nationwide hit. The Blackout Crew, basically, are Cold Flamez.'
This in particular I find a little galling:
'The refusal to admit that a genre can die (which doesn't mean literally disappear – it may even generate good stuff now and then –but refers to stagnation, irrelevance, becoming uncoupled from the zeitgeist) is a denial of the possibility of change, renewal, the unexpected. The very vitality of a form of music implies the possibility of its eventual death.'
The problem with discussion a 'form' of music in these terms is to draw stark lines around what 'IS' and what 'ISN'T' (something Reynolds has done before), discarding the continuum ideas that he's so fond of espousing when discussing rave music. On the edges of genres stuff bleeds into one another - for the most part, the music in those regions can still be described as their parent genre. Yet they've acquired other characteristics, mutated and evolved: therefore keeping the genre alive through regular injections to the gene pool. It's like biology - the more insular a scene, the more inbred it gets, and the more stagnant and ultimately prone to dying a death.
I'm not familiar enough with the vast entirety of hip-hop to comment fully, but yeah.
Especially as "rock" music was in the same state in the 70s. What happened in the late 70s then Reynolds? Maybe i'll read one of your books to find out. There are still a number of acts who remain vital. However, as someone commented it needs a Ramones, Nirvana etc style rejuvenation that will come along. When. I don't know. But to say that hip hop is completely dead is to reject a number of groundbreaking artists.
how there seems to be one rule for rock and one for hip hop.
While rock can be divided into metal, indie, pop etc hip hop is often reduced to one unavoidable whole and if it one part drags its feet the rest has to go under with it.
But Reynold's has misrepresented Frere-Jones argument...who was targeting an aspect of hip hop. It was more a call for new blood more than anything.
as gucci has one of the most compelling personalities in rap at the moment and i think he means yung joc not yung doc. likewise boosie who isn't "cookie cutter" at all - he is super lyrical and kinda has this totally unique blues inflected voice. how is this dolt paid to write about anything? seems like he's just looked at some list of rappers without listening to them for his idiotic strawman screed
Both 'Rip It Up And Start Again' and 'Energy Flash' are great, great books.
He's been a little overly mouthy lately though, I haven't agreed with a lot of his opinions on the Guardian blogs.
ie "Backpackers also complained about all these crossover rap hits with R&B choruses, which they saw as selling out the ideal of hip-hop as a showcase for MC virtuosity" THIS DIDNT START WITH SOUTHERN RAP! people criticised biggie & puff (and obv jay post-reasonable doubt) for this in the 90s!!!!
"Haven't talked about underground rap yet, but it doesn't exactly impose itself on your consciousness, does it?"
"But as with the late-80s "golden age", the late 90s/early 00s surge showed that during rap's heyday phases the most innovative music rises to the top; it's not something you have to seek out"
The first statement is a baseless point, which tries to slip by on a leading question. The second isn't a point at all, if not one contrary to his own argument, as his article is predicated on the point that hip-hop is at it's lowest creative ebb, so why would, if his point stands, the most innovative music 'rise to the top' in hip-hop's current state? Any fan could name several innovative artists who are invisible to mainstream tastes.
I'm not certain I understand exactly what he means by 'death' here either. As he states that he doesn't mean disappear completely, but rather a state of "stagnation, irrelevance". It's a nice, but ultimately equally naive, idea that we could all just decide a genre isn't relevant any longer and either all the major artists would just collectively submit and decide to pack up shop or alomst every fan would collectively decide to stop supporting the artists, which would make the first alternative necessary.
So other than successfully airing a few frustrations we all have regarding some of contemporary hip-hop's more popular forms (the same point that has been made on every comment section of every Youtube video of golden-age hip-hop) the article is pretty ridiculous.
says man who dedicated chapter of book about post-punk to messthetics.
(NB. We don't really need it)
you know belittle the whole genre a bit in the guardian so loads of people think less of it and it gives less weight to those saying hip-hop, funk, house all have a big part in the nuum today hahah you cant beat a random reynolds conspirocy.
either that or he just isnt keen on hip-hop and writes about beards... http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2009/nov/11/simon-reynolds-notes-noughties-beards
Reynolds' book "Bring the Noise" is 50% about hip-hop, he's been a fan since the early days. I agree with him to be honest, what I think he's trying to say, and I'm filtering this through a knowledge of his writing, is that the exciting, cutting edge music being made today isn't hip-hop. I think that's pretty undeniable. I'm a hip-hop fan by the way, before that's used as a stick to beat me with.
he's just always negative, grumpy and a bit annoying about it all. He's lost the spark for investigating and digging into it all and is happy just to take digs and just say stuff was better a while ago. He even said himself in this article that he use to be a beat geek and would have no doubt looked into all the regional diffrences in hip-hop today and also would of no doubt wrote theories and all sorts on them just like he has done in the past for the hardcore continuum, which is basicaly a simualr thing. But now he's just not on that tip and everything he writes is a bit grumpy and bitter and its good to poke fun at.
I'm not that fussed about hip-hop myself, I mean I'm vaugly interested in a I hope a really fucked beat appears sometime kind of way but I dunno I'm more into dance music. I've just got a passing hip-hop interest these days. I'm enjoying the insane rhythms of juke at the mo it has this mad psychadelic flowing rough style to it thats kind of hypnotic.
I guess it's the fact that once you've written a seminal book on the history of post-punk, where do you go from there?
There's so much quality 'hip-hop' or rap music these day though, from Madlib to Tempz. But, contra Mr. Reynolds, the best stuff really doesn't tend to rise to the to, and just because there was once the market for it, doens't mean there always will be, so actually these days you've got to do a bit of digging to find the quality, simply because the obvious ways of making hip hop both accessible and good have been done in the 80s and 90s and now the good stuff has got from come from different angles.
Also, late night slightly-drunken DiS posting, ftw.