I started writing about my experiences with spicy food because I didn’t want to saturate you, friends, with so much music, but you know, there are waves of everything, and November seems to be marked by music, on one hand thanks to amazing shows I’m attending, and on the other just because, I’m listening to whola lotta music these days. I can’t help it, I’m sorry.
It might sound weird me writing about this style of music I’m not very into nowadays, but the truth is that, back in 1990, when cable TV reached my parents’, and MTV channel was opean and ready to me, first program that quickly caught my attention was Yo! MTV Raps. It was a 1 hour daily show, which was very entertaining thanks to the hosts, and the weekend special editions were pretty amusing featuring life performances, skate rinks at the set and lots of videos and news. I don’t have any trouble in admitting I did like rap.
Perhaps the fact that I loved Vanilla Ice at that time had something to do in my surprising interest for this style. When I was 14 I didn’t understand much of their discourse. My interest was based on rhythm and all the phrasing. Yeah, thanks to the mixings, scratching, samplers… rap can imply groove. For a non-English speaker, depending on your level of knowledge, lines can be very difficult to understand. . It used to sound Greek to me back then, but as time went by eventually I understood what they were talking about. As a way of measuring my English knowledge it’s quite valid. I’m doing fine.
Rap and R&B have evolved towards something I’m not very attracted to. In fact, I’d say most of the stuff currently in the market is pathetic. Everything is gold, hot chicks which act like hookers, power, money, cars and sex, this is, ostentation and vulgar display of luxury. The artists lack of personality and charm, and the singles miss intensity and power.
Back in the day, rap had a meaning and a target beyond a bunch of niggas in a threatening attitude. Of course, within a style which combined samplers and strong and heavy drums which marked the rhythm of the phrasing, there were lots of themes to talk about, however I’ve always thought of rap as a way to communicate, to express struggle and disappointment, as the musical way of showing the strength of word as a social weapon. Artists were proud of their humble origins, showing us the hood was the key for their success, trying to spread the word of the terrible conditions many of their brothers were living in their ghettos, those places we don’t really know about.
When I was 14 I wasn’t aware of such stories. I connected to this style via Vanilla Ice, Beastie Boys, and Tone Loc, quite mainstream artists and belonging to the gentle side of the style, the party. Even though he succeeded years later, I would include Kid Rock in this group. It was thanks to the show on MTV, when I discovered the hard side of rap. However it took me many years to discover what this war between West Coast and East Coast war for rap hegemony was about. I still remember Cypress Hill’s first videos on MTV…they were rad!
Oh! I almost forgot. Rap made such impact on me, I asked my parents for The Rapman Casio keyboard, which included a mic, a scratching device, and drums additional sounds.
When I was already adopting music, and specially rock, into my life, there was this early wave of merging rap with rock or metal. The pioneers of such combination were classic Aerosmith joining strength with Run DMC with the super hit Walk This Way. We could say this tendency would give the change nu metal to become prominent. On one hand Ice-T had formed Body Count, mixing rap and metal, Rage Against The Machine had left up breathless with their debut album and their awesome sound, and finally another motion picture soundtrack became a reference for the teenage rock diehard fan, Judgment Night. It took me ages to see the film, which wasn’t that bad, reminding me of The Warriors, by the way. Anyway, the soundtrack was overwhelming, with very cool combinations: Pearl Jam with Cypress Hill, Biohazard and Onyx, Faith No More and Boo Yaa TRIBE, Slayer and Ice-T, and so on. The final result was outstanding.
I lost interest in rap on behalf of more rock style bands and sounds, and even though I enjoy some of Kid Rock’s records, and Eminem’s albums, to say a couple of names, rap is not the same anymore.
Perhaps the fact that I’m more open to different styles far from the regular stuff I consume, has made me remember rap wasn’t against rock, and in fact, many great singles contain as much intensity and power as any rock tune. Thus, to celebrate these memories coming back I’ve created a kinky Spotify playlist of old school tunes. Probably there’s much stuff missing which I’d love you share here, and as I’ve commented, I’m not an expert on the subject and am always willing to discover new bands and sounds. Hope you like it YO!