Sunday, March 15, 2009

I'm Blue (Da Ba Dee Da Ba Die)

I'm bored of rap. Maybe it's that the time you need to spend combing Nah Right for a single good song these days has reached astronomic levels, or maybe it's how depressing that retarded Rick Ross/50 Cent beef was, to the point where a lot of my enthusiasm for stupid trapper rappers has been punctured, or maybe it's all the momentous and distracting news going on, or maybe it's my law apps, or maybe it's that I've finally figured out how torrents work and now I spend my spare time at the computer downloading Max Ophuls movies. Whatever the cause, it's reached the point where I found out that Cam, my onetime-favorite rapper, is making a quasi-comeback the same way that I imagine most other rich white people find out about such things - by reading about it yesterday in the Arts and Leisure section of the New York Times. And yes, the songs are pretty decent, but at best they recall some of the lowlights of Killa Season, not the "dizzying heights Cam'ron achieved on Purple Haze, his stunning 2004 album," like NY Times rap critic dude says. Though hey, the lowlights of Killa Season are a hell of a lot better than what came after it, but still.

Anyway, now my only contact with rap is through the radio during the brief moments in the car when I'm not listening to Niggaz4life or Critical Beatdown on repeat. (I tried to write a little essay for yall about why Niggaz4life is so good, but ultimately came to the conclusion that there isn't much more to say than that it's just really good - although, there is an interesting interplay between Ren's honest tales of female rejection and sick groupies and Dre's unbelievably unbelievable bullshit about getting paid to fuck the D.A.'s wife ("she wrote a check, many a check") and then killing her because he was worried that she might tell her husband - yeah, like killing the D.A.'s wife is a better option - but really, virtually anything would be pretty great over those beats. Dre's best and most interesting production work ever.) Generally, I find that the singles off Britney Spears's latest album/Lady Gaga >>>>>>>>>>>>> pop-rap, urban pop, and r&b right now. Really, in what world can a guy like Rick Ross get owned the way he has and still have a hit with this limp John Legend-featuring garbage (he actually got John to sing "gold emblem, with two M's in it")? Or that awful T.I./JT song. Or "Right Round!" Do you know that Flo Rida's next single samples "I'm Blue (Da Ba Dee)" and is about a girl whose sugar is sweet like da ba dee da ba die? I don't want to aestheticize others' misery here, but you'd think that the recession might, if not usher in a new golden age of stick-up kid rap, at least bring something to the fore other than "my pockets are swole/I've got a bank roll/I see a girl swinging on a pole" shit. Wouldn't you? Well apparently not, or at least not yet, and depending on your faith in Keynesian economics/the size of the multiplier effect it might never get a chance. It's at the point where my favorite song on rap radio is "Kiss Me Thru The Phone," because I feel like that "we're on the phone like da da, da da da da da da" part at least faithfully captures what must pass for teenage love in Myspaced-out high-schools these days. So I just don't know what to write about. My other big bloggable passions are election law, film, and politics, and though I could write up an eloquent storm about how zanily bad the analysis is in Bartlett v. Strickland, the Court's latest voting rights holding, I don't know who would read it (maybe when I actually do that shit for a living), and as for film, I'm just not a film critic. And politics - I mean, I have my views, among them that all this Cramer-bashing is quite misplaced, given that, in the first place, if you took investment advice from Cramer's show, you belong in an institution,* but besides superobvious points like that, I don't really think I'm informed enough to pontificate on healthcare policy. Basically I'm convinced that rap is dead. The fact that once upon a time there were people like me saying the same shit in the late-90s is totally irrelevant. Lil Wayne is not Jay-Z; Kanye is not Puffy; nobody is Timbo, or Nelly, or Nas circa It Was Written - none of the movers and shakers today are at all comparable to the people who were supposedly killing hip-hop over a decade ago. Maybe T-Pain, Ron Browz, Polow and The Dream are collectively our era's Irv Gotti. But if so, who's our Ja Rule? I don't think we even have one. (It's a cliched point that 50, after getting on by ending Ja's career, became just another Ja; what people don't mention as often is that he's a way worse version of Ja. And this at one time was Jay's supposed successor.) Believe it or not, art forms die; try naming five American movies of the past decade that you honestly think people will watch with more than historic interest in 50 years. The fact that you might actually be able to name five doesn't change the fact that American film is in massive decline, just as the fact that there are a few promising young rappers out there, like Wale, Gorilla Zoe, Wayne if he gets his head out of his ass, etc., or that Z-Ro has eight albums ahead of him where he repeats everything that he said on the first twenty to marginally diminishing effect, doesn't change the fact that rap is in a probably irreversable mess. Of course I could change my mind in a week.

* Of course, one could argue that people retarded enough to belong in institutions have the right to not be misled too. That at least is a debate worth having.


Anonymous said...

I think this is a pretty entertaining post. I don't agree that Gorilla Zoe is promising at all and I don't agree that rap is dead, but I actually enjoyed reading your opinion which doesn't happen with a lot of current blogs posts.

I think you kinda articulated my opinion about hip hop blogs. I think they bore me a lot more than anyone rapping.

Badmon3333 said...

If you're bored with rap, might I recommend Timaya, who does Nigerian naija music, which is really just African dancehall/reggae, but definitely very good.

Badmon3333 said...

Also, the new albums by Dälek ('Gutter Tactics') and P.O.S. ('Never Better'), while they're not five-star classics, are very interesting attempts at blending heavy, doom-y rock sounds into hip-hop.

Anonymous said...

"Though hey, the lowlights of Killa Season are a hell of a lot better than what came after it, but still."

Not a fan of PE#1???

Badmon3333 said...

I do find it very interesting that some of the best beat work I'm hearing lately is coming on strictly instrumental albums (Harmonic 313's 'When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence,' KenLo's 'Craqnuques: Orange,' Ras G's 'Beats of Mind'). Granted, all three of those dudes are from outside the U.S., but their work is very, VERY good, literally calling out for the right rapper.

I just heard the new MF Doom, 'Born Like This,' and it's good, but half of it is old Doom instrumentals and reused Dilla beats. So I kind of feel what you're saying... even some of my favorite rappers haven't really been coming with it lately.

ghengis blond said...

public enemy # 1 was the shit. so are the bourne movies. the only thing i see wrong with american film is the decreasing likelihood of another "die hard" sequel. rap sucks, though. me and the "delete" button have partnered to unload a shit ton of toxic assets this past week. sade >