Saturday, July 30, 2016

Rap music for people who don't listen to much rap music

After my grumpy post the other day, I thought I'd highlight some of the rap artists people who don't listen to rap music might like.

Do you like hip hop but are put off by the lyrics about partying and sex? Check out Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples, who are the pinnacle (to me, at least) of what hip-hop can be. But maybe that's not your thing because they use a lot of curse words and talk about killing police and Staples does a lot of rappity rapping with no hooks.

If you want rap music with more of a melody, there's Anderson Paak, who sings and raps and whose music has a very musical quality. (Musical being my way of describing rap music that isn't just beats and rapping.) Or Chance the Rapper.

Or you could try Open Mike Eagle, who also sings some, and raps about REAL ISSUES but also raps about mundane life in a low-key but skillful way. Swears, but sparingly.

Or Oddissee, who is similar to Open Mike Eagle in some ways (and also on the same label) but a little more old school, a little less indie rock.

You could also check out Blackalicious, who are musical and positive. In that vein you have Lyrics Born, who is also from the Bay Area.

Lizzo and Ivy Sole are two female rappers making excellent positive hip-hop. Azealia Banks is a little raunchier but also very talented.

If you like your music weird, Shabazz Palaces make a nice blend of hip-hop, EDM, and Martian.
And if you are an aging punk, POS, Death Grips, and Run the Jewels all add some punk aggression to their rhymes.

There you go. Have at it. And the only white guy in that mix is El-P.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The problem with hip-hop in '16

It was in reference to an article she had come across that was almost all white rappers. I posted a little rant in the comments, which I'm posting below. As you can see, I caught some feelings.
This is a sore subject to me, because I find rap music on the whole to be problematic, and acting like it is racist to think it is problematic is bullshit. Anyways, my rant is below:

I’m white and I listen to a lot of rap music. While rap music isn’t all about bitches and the grind, a lot of it is, and most mainstream rap is. Mainstream rap has become what hair metal was in the 80s-cookie-cutter songs about sex, drugs, and partying, a lifestyle that none of its listeners enjoy but all would like to have. Even if it isn’t about sex, money and drugs, it’s full of profanity in a way that no other music is. Every fourth word out of Kendrick’s mouth is either the N word or the B word, and he is one of the best rappers around today. I love vince staples, but I can’t listen to that around my wife or kid because it is all curse words.

I have a friend who was trying to listen to more hip-hop, so she checked out kendrick’s good kid album. She said she wanted to like it, but it was like getting hit in the face over and over again with how much he said bitch. And she doesn’t want to hear racial slurs. She stopped trying after that.
I listen to the local hip-hop station, and every song is about sex, cars, and drugs. Every fucking one, only with the swears blocked out so that it is like watching a porn movie with a black bar over the genitals.

The alt-rappers everyone got excited about four years ago were odd future, who rapped about raping women and called everyone a faggot.

Even Anderson Paak, the fucking Bruno Mars of hip-hop, has lyrics full of bitches and n-bombs. I was rocking Malibu with my kid the other day and alla sudden some lady is saying she wants him to fuck the shit out of her. There’s another one off rotation.

I struggle to find rap albums I can listen to with my kid that are not rife with profanity or sexism. Even the Native Tongue’s stuff isn’t safe. I can get away with Blackalicious, early Tribe, early De La (but not “De La Orgy!), Digible Planets. That’s about it, I mean that I wanna listen to. I’ve been going with jazz or R&B. Yes, there are rappers who don’t swear, but there aren’t many rappers with more than 1,000 plays on Spotify who don’t swear.

Rap has chosen to embrace raw language as some sort of brand of realness. Twenty-five years ago it was shocking to hear the n-word in a rap song and you had to seek out those records. Nowadays they get played on mainstream radio, with the swears blurred out. If hammer was starting out today his song would be “Can’t Touch This, Bitch.”

I know I sound like a pearl clutching old white lady, but it’s something that bums me out. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

What I've Been Listening To

Half time

I really don't keep this up so good, do I?

So it's the half-year mark and time to reflect on what i've listened to so far this year.

This is going to be super incomplete, but here are some of the records I'm really excited about this year, in the order I remembered they existed.

1. Beyonce, Lemonade. I didn't listen to Beyonce at all prior to this. I mean, I liked her hits fine, but I don't fuck with pop music and she makes pop music. And then this comes. Granted, I don't love all of it, but "Hold Up," "Sorry," "Sandcastles," hell, even "All Night" are brilliant songs.

2. Jessy Lanza, Oh No. A pop album, but a pop album on Burial's label, so it maintains a nice edge.

3. Anderson Paak, Malibu. Soulful hip-hop that has kept me going this year.

4. Ivy Sole, Eden. A nice heartfelt rap album by a female MC.

5. J-Zone, Fish-N-Grits. Funky beats and funny rhymes calling out rap nostalgia.

6. Andy Stott, Too Many Voices.

7. Schoolboy Q, Blank Face

8. Mary Lattimore, After the Dam

9. Juliana Barwick, Will

10. Nothing, Tired of Tomorrow

11. Kvelertak, Nattesferd

12. PJ Harvey, The Hope Six Demolition Project

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