I am officially old and washed up. I have been in denial for the last several years in part because the music I enjoyed during my youth was still populated by artists that I enjoyed listening to when I was a bit younger. Even though these artists found it increasingly difficult to produce and release new music just their presence reassured me that I still belonged among them. When the realization finally hit me that I no longer belonged it was colder than ice cold water to my face. I remember this feeling many years ago when this little Philipino chick that I was crushing on sent word through one of my friends that she didn’t like me that way. Heartbreak doesn’t even go deep enough.
I found myself at the wrap party for The Wire last night(more on that later) and my homey from Brooklyn Bodega told me to leave rap music alone. I was too old. It no longer was for me. I resisted. In my mind I begged rap music to reconsider my feelings. We did have good times together didn’t we? Sure I dated soul, funk, jazz and rock music on the side, but that was for sample sources, so that I could become a better lover of rap music. I always came back didn’t I? Rap music unfortunately had moved on. There was no time for a guy like me who had all of these lofty demands.
Here I am trying to espouse complex socio-economic themes and heaven forbid, polysyllabic rhyme schemes while rap music has moved in the direction of songs based on guttural expressions like ‘Yaaah’. This isn’t the fault of Soulja Boy either even though he failed the 9th grade twice before dropping out of high school. I can relate to his plight since I have a G.E.D. my damn self. His triumphant satisfaction with lyrical mediocrity was already trumpeted by the crapper Mims when he said that “I can sell a mill saying nothing on the track”.
This is a scary moment for me. Someone please cue up that song from Rose Royce ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’.
So where do I go from here? I suppose I could go back into my funk mode, but lord knows that shit only sounds good with reefer. I love Coltrane ’til deaf, but his music just doesn’t make my head nod unless its sampled by the Bomb Squad. I supposed I could pull some 1980′s new wave shit out for a minute, but when you listen to too much Soft Cell that shit gives you a vagina like HGH. I think its time for me to pull out my Bad Brains and The Clash albums. No one is talking that hardbody social justice shit anymore. The revolution always gets co-opted and silkscreened onto a t-shirt like Che Guevara.
The future of rap music was going to be Joell Ortiz and Saigon with NaS leading the way through the darkness. My problem was that I refused to believe that Hip-Hop died way back in 1979 with the release of the ghost-written classic ‘Rapper’s Delight’. Ever since that moment when three total strangers were assembled to form the SugarHill Gang rap music has been a contrived, commodified commercial corpse. There’s no point in giving this carcass Detox. It’s been dead for thirty years.