April 18, 2018

"Mercifully, rock has been displaced by hip-hop, with its daring formal innovations, its blistering polemics and its vital role as a sounding board for powerful social movements."

"A genre aggressively committed to singles, as opposed to the creaky album-and-tour model that rock stubbornly insists upon even at the indie level, hip-hop provides a running commentary on the culture as it happens — a musical newsfeed in real time. There’s a practical reason for this: While other musicians were whining about their paltry Spotify royalty checks and trying to monetize their fading careers, hip-hop artists gamed the Web in the 2010s and made it their bullhorn and promotional tool. For them, the Internet isn’t a distribution system, or worse, an evil force siphoning money from musicians; it’s their primary medium for artistic expression."

From "Sorry, rock fans. Hip-hop is the only genre that matters right now." by Marc Weingarten (WaPo)(on the occasion of a Pulitzer Prize for Kendrick Lamar’s “Damn”). Weingarten makes a number of arguments, but the #1 thing I'm seeing here is that what matters is social media, not music, and rap is social media.

71 comments:

Gahrie said...

What innovations?

Kevin said...

What innovations?

Btiches and ho's! Bitches and ho's!

EDH said...

Verbatim: Weinstein Pulitzer Praise ... and Kendrick Lamar Lyrics

David Begley said...

I don't even consider hip hop to be music. The only good thing to come out of it is Hamilton.

rehajm said...

It’s cool they found the internet as a primary medium for expression but did they figure out how to monetize it?

Fernandistien said...

Can I haz got prize to?

I got, I got, I got, I got
Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
Cocaine quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA
I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA
I got hustle though, ambition, flow, inside my DNA
I was born like this, since one like this
Immaculate conception
I transform like this, perform like this
Was Yeshua's new weapon
I don't contemplate, I meditate, then off your fucking head
This that put-the-kids-to-bed
This that I got, I got, I got, I got

Kevin said...

Didn't Dylan just win the Nobel Prize?

Isn't this just virtue signaling in response? "Stick with us hip-hoppers! We hand out the Pulitzers!"

Pulitzer Committee: Kendrick, tell us about your new album.

Kendrick: It's called, "DAMN."

Pulitzer Committee: Do you mean, damn?

Kendrick: No, DAMN. All caps, with a period.

Pulitzer Committee: All caps? With a period? Now that's some fine writing right there.

The Drill SGT said...

The Left, which hates racism, sexism, objectification, rape, guns, violence, misogyny, and hate loves all of the above when it's rapped by some black punk...

David Docetad said...

Formal innovations? You mean obscene lyrics? Violence against women? It's so progressive! It says everything about the Left that both Lamar and The NYT and New Yorker won prizes, the latter two for the expose on the Weinstein.

Darwin Akbar said...

A friend of mine wrote a thesis on "subculture" in 1982 and included a chapter on hip-hop. She did not anticipate that, like the Andromeda Strain, it would escape the laboratory and infect everything, even Broadway.
"Popular culture" used to be popular. Hip-hop is horrible , but, fortunately, "real" music still extsts.

tcrosse said...

Roll over Beethoven, and give Tchaikovky the news.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Political advice from a writer about pop-music.
It's a liberal fantasy that music drives politics.

“Definition of rock journalism: People who can't write, doing interviews with people who can't think, in order to prepare articles for people who can't read.”

― Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book

LarsPorsena said...

Every generation has had its own special sound.
But it is hard to imagine that twenty years from now some middle aged guy will
turn to his wife and tenderly rap of few bars of their song.
Rap is like listening to a harangue by a demented Baptist preacher.

Earnest Prole said...

Rap is the spoken word, not music. Nothing more, nothing less.

Darwin Akbar said...

Critics used to think that, to be good, rock music had to be "dangerous." Hip-hop, therefore, MUST be good, ' cause it sure is Dangerous.

Koot Katmandu said...

Ok. I still do not like Hip Hop, But I am old. There are couple of songs in Hamilton that are OK.

Fernandistien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandistien said...

Pulitzer Prize Board 2017-2018 - Featuring the name "Caldwell Titcomb"

This Board presided over the judging process that resulted in the 2018 winners and finalists.

Eugene Robinson, chair; Dana Canedy, administrator

Elizabeth Alexander, President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, NY

Nancy Barnes, Editor and Executive Vice President, Houston Chronicle

Robert Blau, Executive Editor, Bloomberg News, Washington, DC

Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University

Katherine Boo, author and journalist, Washington, DC

Neil Brown, President, Poynter Institute for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, FL

Dana Canedy, Administrator, The Pulitzer Prizes, Columbia University

Steve Coll, Dean, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University

Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times

John Daniszewski, Vice President and Editor at Large for Standards, Associated Press, New York, NY

Junot Díaz, author and Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Stephen Engelberg, Editor-in-Chief, ProPublica, New York, NY

Steven Hahn, Professor of History, New York University

Aminda Marqués Gonzalez, Vice President and Executive Editor, Miami Herald

Emily Ramshaw, Editor-in-Chief, The Texas Tribune, Austin, TX

Eugene Robinson, Columnist and Associate Editor, The Washington Post

Tommie Shelby, Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African
American Studies and of Philosophy, Harvard University

mockturtle said...

"hip-hop provides a running commentary on the culture as it happens"

And this is what we want to listen to?

Rob said...

Sadly it’s true—hip-hop, characterized by anger, aggression, crudeness, semi-literacy and crotch-grabbing sexuality, is the music of our time.

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

A Poem
by 5th order Markov chain

I got winners on the floors
Beach inside my DNA
I was fed forgiveness
Yeah, soldier's here on earth
Salute the way, kill shit inside my DNA
Drippin' in a villa
Sippin' what you sow
And I'm inheritage, livin' all that hip hop has done so well,
hit the sky, 10 is on the times, level number 9
Look up in the mecca of marriages

Tell me nothin'
I'd rather die than racism in recent years
I got
Loyalty inside my DNA
I got royalty, got dark, I got royalty, got dark, I got royalty, got riches buildin' in a villa
Sippin' what you sow

dda6ga dda6ga said...

And Kendrick's award winning lyrics are:

rapper Kendrick Lamar for his album "DAMN." The Times insightfully describes the album as "defiant." Are you interested in a sample lyric? This is from the song "Element" on that album:

I don't give a fuck, I don't give a fuck

I don't give a, I don't give a, I don't give a fuck

I'm willin' to die for this shit

I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit

Put the Bible down and go eye to eye for this shit . . .

If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I'ma make it look sexy

If I gotta go hard on a bitch, I'ma make it look sexy

I pull up, hop out, air out, make it look sexy

They won't take me out my element . . . .

Chris N said...

Probably means rap and the Pulitzer are passé...
.

Michael said...

Motherfucking right motherfuckers. But hipbop out. Fucking drill music motherfucker. At. Motherfucking at.

Michael K said...

Rap is like listening to a harangue by a demented Baptist preacher.

Yes. I like opera and country music.

The rest is noise.

FullMoon said...

Any commenters actually listen to it for over an hour or so?
Me neither. If I was still an angry young man, guess I would be blasting it every chance I got.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rehajm said...

It’s cool they found the internet as a primary medium for expression but did they figure out how to monetize it?

It’s cool they found the internet as a primary medium for expression but did they figure out anything worth expressing?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Mercifully, rock has been displaced by hip-hop...

Why is that merciful? Were you being subject to rock against your will? Were you unable to turn it off?

MountainMan said...

Don't like hip-hop nor much current rock or pop music either. I decided in my retirement to focus on some things I always wanted to know more about but never had the time while working and raising a family. Currently that is classical music, mainly Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven; opera; and bluegrass and early country music, mainly the Carter Family and their contemporaries and the more recent work of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, especially musician and singer Rhiannon Giddens, who I think is the finest musical performer in America today.

SteveR said...

What is the “thing” now doesn’t matter to me, I listen to what I like.

Nonapod said...

Not sure if the real Lester Bangs actually said that Rock & Roll is "gloriously and righteously dumb" or if it was the character in almost famous. But most Hip Hop is pretty dumb too, as is most popular music. So if rock really is finally on the way out, I wouldn't say that its apparent replacement is somehow superior.

In general, popular Hip Hop is a reductionist form, pairing down many of the embellishments and superfluidities found in Rock & Roll into just a 4 on the floor EDM beat, (mostly) spoken lyrics, and extremely repetitive sampled loops. These factors make it neither superior or inferior to popular Rock & Roll. Although it could be argued that it does make it more consumable and disposable that traditional rock and roll, which makes it no surprise that it would ultimately win out.

Chest Rockwell said...

What's really changed is how music is produced. Anyone with a computer can create some really compelling music. And therefore, it's multiplied, via things like Soundcloud. There's literally an order of magnitude more music available than 30 years ago. A lot of it is shit, but a lot of it is really good.

I grew up listening to rap when it was somewhat niche( Beasty Boys, Run DMC etc), then got into the whole alt rock thing. I can't listen to any of that stuff now. Well, the old rap I can. That was fun and funny. I like it precisely because it was mostly non political.
Nowadays, mainstream rap is just vile and vulgar. The production and music is usually top notch though. But Nirvana, Pearl jam ? I cant stand that stuff now. It's so simple and repetitive.

If you want top notch musicianship, check out country. Those guys are talented.

Otto said...

"I'm seeing here is that what matters is social media, not music, and rap is social media."
Music has been a vehicle for social media throughout history!The most popular song in history, " A Mighty Fortress is Our God", the "Eroica",etc.
Happens to be that when the music is pure genius we may lose sight of the message.

Nonapod said...

If you want top notch musicianship from younger artists, listen to pretty much anything by CHON.

mockturtle said...

MountainMan: We seem to share the same musical tastes and I thank you for the mention of Rhiannan Giddens. I listened to a few of her songs on YouTube and you are right. She is great! As I never listen to anything 'new', I didn't realize there was some good stuff out there. Thanks for the tip!!!

tcrosse said...

Hip-Hop is Stuff White People Like

exiledonmainstreet said...

I listen mainly to classical music and old jazz and blues now and am very happy to be out of the loop as far as popular music goes. Yes, "Hamilton" has a few good songs. Every now and then I'll hear something on the radio and think "Hey, I like this. Who is this?" Those moments are infrequent I liked the Black Keys (are they the last rock band then?) but they appear to have broken up or dropped out of sight.

Yeah, get off my lawn.

Michael said...

Drill music, an especially vile and stupid and violent variant of rap is taking the rap, as it were, for the rash of stabbing in the U.K. Drill originated in south Chicago. See?

CJinPA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CJinPA said...

"Sorry, white people. People of color are the only people who matter right now."

The Washington Post is SJWing so hard it's going to throw its back out.

Michael said...

Listen up whitey. Compare this shit to your motherfucking Bach. This 2Chainz. [Hook: The Weeknd]

Yah, uh, 2 Chainz~!
They ain’t never seen a nigga like me (uh), she ain't never seen a nigga like me (uh)
Chance of that is unlikely; 2 Chainz in my white T
I wipe her down and I pipe her down, I give my girl money to go out of town
You give your girl money to go to Niketown and I one-night her, you must like her
Kill niggas with one-liners, all I need is one lighter
Counting so much money (so much money), I got arthritis
So cold I frostbite 'em, no Pig Latin but I hog-tied 'em
If she gets this business then I {make her fall in love}
With a nigga like me I’m killing this beat - skeet, skeet, skeet, skeet, skeet on my sheets
On top, from the back, I thundercat like (HOE!)
My girl got a big purse with a purse in it
And her pussy so clean I can go to church in it!
Oh Lord, O-M-G, I am the O-N-E
How ya like me now, it’s cool but she want Mo D
Moet by the fireplace, this is how desire taste
And I’m bout to buy a case (Le'go)


[Hook]

[Verse 2]
Tru, uh.. YEEEAAAHH...
Bon apetite, they obsolete, you know talk I cheap so don’t say a word
Chick, chick, chicken talk, I’m flipping birds, fuck y'all
Mustard, ketchup, I take pills, expert
Kitchen all pyrexed up, if my dick talked it’d say "next up" (dang)
Me and yo girl networked, now she wanna know my net worth
Wood grain, chestnut, titty fuck, chest nut! (yah)
Move shit, UPS truck, pull a lil' out n out the rest up
Competition need to rest up {make her fall in love}
I aim at ya head, put the vest up, matter fact put the vest up!
This shit I’m shootin is penetrating (bow), you don’t want this situation
Tall nigga with a short temper, I do this for niggas who never had shit
And now I got me a bad bitch, who got a bad bitch, who got a bad bitch (Tru)
TRU story, high like 2 stories, 2 Chainz and Tity Boi
Nigga that’s 2 stories, who want it?
Hair weave killa, they like "you don’t want it"
I go swimming in that pussy, 'bout to throw a pool party

[Hook]

Yancey Ward said...

99.99% of all music produced today will be forgotten by 99.99% of the people living 100 years from now. This has always been true. The 0.01% exceptions are your Beethovens and Mozarts. I doubt the 0.01% of 2118 will include any of today's hip hop, but might include the stuff that originated it 30-40 years ago.

buwaya said...

In other words, politics uber alles.

Not beauty, not the totality of humanity or nature or the universe or existence.

That is a perverse attitude. I would call it insane, if it weren't that its so common.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Rock began dying when all the rebels of the '60's who didn't OD in their 20's went on to become Establishment figures who continued to pretend they were anti-Establishment. When you've been knighted, have more money than God, hobnob with (leftist) politicians, start earnestly lecturing the public about the evils of global warming or meat-eating or whatever fashionable cause you care to adopt, it's hard to keep up the rebellious pose.

Plus, you're just that much farther away from those adolescent hormonal surges that gave '50's and '60's and early '70's rock its' energy. I noticed a while back that age 30, generally speaking, is sort of a cut-off mark for rock stars, just as baseball hitters peak at age 27. Of course, both rock bands and baseball players continue to work past that age (in the case of rockers, loooong past that age) but their stuff just isn't as good. although they might turn out a decent song here and there. Compare the "Beggar's Banquet" Stones with the Stones of "It's Only Rock and Roll."

Classical composers and many jazz musicians got better as they aged.

rightguy2 said...

The internet wins for sure, especially ITunes, which started in 2004. At that time, they atomized all the great albums into individual tracks- singles. Suddenly, there was no need to buy the whole album. But what gets missed is the pleasure of discovery of all the great album tracks that were not candidates to be 'singles'. Not to mention that ITunes made hash of classical music.

Nonapod said...

Verily, 2Chainz is a wordsmith on par with Keats and T.S. Eliot.

henge2243 said...

There is a musical quality to hip hop. Many of the songs benefit from very high quality production, drum and base arrangements, sampling etc... Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with the rappers or the lyrics. Hip hops positives, come from the production, not the artists.

Teller said...

I enjoy listening to rap when I'm driving to tap my bitchez. Otherwise it's Steve Earle and early Byrds.

mezzrow said...

Yet millions hold on to melody. My money's always on a good tune. The connection to being human is too strong to deny.

This too shall pass.

Michael K said...

Music has been a vehicle for social media throughout history!The most popular song in history, " A Mighty Fortress is Our God", the "Eroica",etc.

Speaking of politics, Beethoven changed the title of his symphony to honor Napoleon when the Emperor took Venice. Or maybe just because he made himself Emperor with the famous crown incident. He took the crown from the Pope and put it on his own head.

He is said to have ripped the top of the first page of music off with the title when Napoleon made himself Emperor.

Skippy Tisdale said...

David Begley said...
"I don't even consider hip hop to be music. The only good thing to come out of it is Hamilton."

Hamilton is cultural appropriation on multiple levels.

mockturtle said...

Beethoven knew on what side his brot was buttered.

Unknown said...

Plus, you're just that much farther away from those adolescent hormonal surges that gave '50's and '60's and early '70's rock its' energy. I noticed a while back that age 30, generally speaking, is sort of a cut-off mark for rock stars, just as baseball hitters peak at age 27. Of course, both rock bands and baseball players continue to work past that age (in the case of rockers, loooong past that age) but their stuff just isn't as good. although they might turn out a decent song here and there. Compare the "Beggar's Banquet" Stones with the Stones of "It's Only Rock and Roll."

Largely true. On the other hand the Beach Boys 2012 comeback album (which now appears it will be their last) was their best since 1970.

On the third hand, there's an interesting quote by Elton John lately to the effect: You know, you could take the cheesiest song from the 50s, 60s or 70s, and it was a song. That's not true anymore.

mandrewa said...

Richard James (Aphex Twin) is a long way from being a hip-hop artist. But there is an exception, in 1999 he wrote Windowlicker (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBS4Gi1y_nc&list=PLgNS-Zq1O0P2KC3GqUXfKf-Dev4F4tzF6 ), which is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but one could interpret this as a legitimate attempt by a white man to get in the spirit of hip-hop.

Jim at said...

Hilarious. It's almost like this guy doesn't have any idea of how many variations of 'rock' there are.

Whereas hip-hip is just, well, hip-hop. And shit.
But mostly shit.

MountainMan said...

@mockturtle: Yes, looking at your profile we do have a lot in common! Not just music but books, too.

Rhiannon Giddens has lots of videos on YouTube, both with the Chocolate Drops as well as solo. Some you might want to check out are her "Louisiana Man" on Austin City Limits; a 30 min live performance with the Chocolate Drops recoded for LiveSet; some cuts from her first solo album done for Last.FM; and a couple of songs from appearances at the Grand Ole Opry. They should be easy to find.

If you have an interest in the Carter Family there is a nice little documentary on Netflix, "The Winding Stream." Lots of interviews with members of the Carter family and some nice performances as well from some familiar faces, including one of "Hello Stranger" by Giddens and Hubby Jenkins. I live only about 30 min from the Carter place in Hiltons, VA, but rarely get an opportunity to go there. Live performances every Saturday night at 7:00.

Hip-hop cannot compare.

eddie willers said...

Rhiannon Giddens

I'm glad I decided to click on this post as some new music is now added to my collection.

In an attempt to return the favor, here's another biracial girl who grew up in the hollows and sounds like she was weaned by Tina Turner and Dolly Parton.

Valerie June-Shakedown

Kelly said...

Recently white sorority girls got in trouble for singing (or rapping I guess) along to a hip hop song that contained the n word. If you’re buying music shouldn’t you be allowed to sing along with it, whatever it says?

Alex said...

Yeah I think I won't throw away my Pink Floyd albums just yet.

Alex said...

mandrewa - Richard D. James is a child prodigy who started creating electronic music at home when he was a teenager. The clue is in the title of his first album "Selected Ambient Works 1985-1992".

Alex said...

Oh and I definitely will not part with my Emerson, Lake & Palmer records. I mean the sheer daring to merge classical music and rock like they did, that is worth throwing away in favor of rhyming polemics over a pre-programmed beat?

mockturtle said...

Yeah I think I won't throw away my Pink Floyd albums just yet.

No, I wouldn't. If nothing else, they bring back a lotta good memories. ;-)

sykes.1 said...

Rap is crap.

The “people” who make, produce, distribute and listen to rap are crap.

Weingarten is crap.

And Lamar is crap.

The Pulitzer prize committee has been crap since at leasr 1950.

n.n said...

Tribal people used to rap around the fire. Everything old is new again.

Michael Murray said...

Good Lord HipHop/Rap sucks. A bunch of no talent thugs playing off stupid young white kids who want to be seen as cool. This crap makes Disco look good.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Nothing at all makes disco look good, though hip-hop might make it look slightly better.

n. n., oh, "call and response." In my circle, that was called concertino and concerto grosso. Same exact thing. Except that we white people can't reference a griot; we need to say "concertmaster," which sounds already slave-owning even before you contextualize it.

Aussie Pundit said...

What's really changed is how music is produced. Anyone with a computer can create some really compelling music. And therefore, it's multiplied, via things like Soundcloud. There's literally an order of magnitude more music available than 30 years ago. A lot of it is shit, but a lot of it is really good.

A "lot" is really good? How much, exactly? Who are these 'really good' artists producing music today?

The artistic quality of a culture doesn't have to be, and isn't, constant over time. The quality of new music has declined. There are really obvious reasons for this, including that the internet has made it harder to make a living out of it (wider distribution but no remuneration); the fact that it's free changes what people consume (they're more likely to consume background music); and the fact that fewer young people are obsessed with music as they were, say, forty years ago when music was the centre of the cultural zeitgeist.

The internet is certainly awash with music, but it's background music, made by committed amateurs.

Unknown said...

Weingarten makes a number of arguments, but the #1 thing I'm seeing here is that what matters is social media, not music, and rap is social media.
Precisely, because the real world is unsexy and worthless compared to the online world. Weingarten has layers of bosses and knows his worth like a pro writer should. -willie

mtrobertslaw said...

Rhiannan Giddens also performs Celtic music--in the original Gaelic.

TwilightofLiberty.com said...

Fascinating the myriad ways in which white libs are able to abase themselves in service of the blacks.

Hip-hop music is cultural poison.

Although, current rock is largely pussified whining.

lge said...

Hip-hop is strictly for cretins.