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BLOG: Rhythm and Swag

At first I felt betrayed when Kanye announced this album wouldn’t be a rap disc. I mean this is Hip-hop, and it’s cool if the rockers shit on us- fuck them they hadn’t had a true rock star since Kurt Cobain. But somewhere in between rappers dick riding Chris Martin and T-Pain’s likeness it seems Hip-hop’s biggest artists abandoned us for acceptance from the rockers with a new sort of genre that some are already dubbing “Rhythm and Swag.”

We already know Wayne is on some shit walking around with a guitar that he can barely play three notes on and I don’t know what to think of his new joint “Hot Revolver” just yet. I mean it isn’t bad, but it isn’t quite hip-hop either. Jay-Z hasn’t resorted to “rockin’ out” per se but he also seems to be less concerned with the rap community these days. It’s funny, Hov could give a fuck if a rapper disses him but as soon as money from Oasis utters a word, he fires all types of corny comebacks. Then these dudes have the audacity to actually fight over Coldplay songs. You don’t see Chris Martin singing, “I told Rivers Cuomo I got a song with Jay-Z, next thing I know he got a song with Jay-Z.” The rockers don’t give a fuck about doing any music with us, so why are we seeking acceptance like redheaded stepchildren? This is Hip-hop! Shit, remember when the Grammy’s wouldn’t even televise the rap portion of the awards? Jay boycotted that shit even after winning album of the year with Hard Knock Life, now that was a moment.So what is Rap’s obsession with rock?

On “Swagger Like Us” Kanye brags that his “Swagger is like Mick Jagger.” Is that something to be proud of? I mean Mick Jagger is 847 years old and has most likely experimented with men at some point in his life- not that there is anything wrong…aww forget it. Part of me blames Nas with his whole Hip-hop is dead shit, even though Q-Tip was the first rapper that I ever heard say that in a Source interview many years back. The problem is, once prominent artists like Nas, Jay, Kanye and T.I. start declaring Hip-hop uncool (through actual quotes or singing singles, or straight up neglect), it makes it easier for those outside of the culture to start similar campaigns. Kinda makes you appreciate Young Jeezy’s rappin’ ass don’t it? By the way where the hell is Lil Boosie?

Don’t get it twisted though, rap had a great year. Killer Mike dropped an amazing album that most cats ignored. Black Milk, Elzhi and Kidz in the Hall all dropped solid joints. Luda has a monster of an album; Game delivered a good one, as did Nas and Rick Ross. And next year I look forward to Joe Budden, 50, Eminem (I’ve given up on Detox but that’s just me), as well as Asher Roth’s and Mickey Factz’ respective debuts.

As far as 808’s and Heartbreak goes, I wanna give Kanye the benefit of the doubt because he has given us three amazing rap albums (shit I think Graduation is a classic and The College Dropout would be to if it wasn’t for “Breathe In, Breathe Out”). So, as of now I refuse to pass judgment on the music because I’ve only heard it about three times and I need to give it another week or two. But whether the album is good or bad or great or just ok, as a hip-hopper, I pray Ye’s next album is a rap one. But then again if this album manages to go quadruple platinum, I’m buying stock in auto-tune and glow sticks. —Rob the Music Ed

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