Hip Hop the Fairy Tale: Cinderella, You’re Going Down!

I was speaking with Donny Goines a few days back about the reviews on his last project, Minute After Midnight. It’s a concept piece with an evocative title that draws a comparison between Cinderella and your favorite rapper. The Hip Hop clock strikes 12 and the Maybach turns into a Datsun; the fancy chain, a string with a lump of coal hanging from it. In his opinion, the tepid reviews were misunderstandings. He made that album for the “Dude, where’s my genre?” crew and all that trendy, fly by night stuff Hip Hop is starting to embrace was left at the studio door; if it made it that far.

He has a point. What is all the rage today fades tomorrow, making it completely possible for those in the trend trap to produce an album that turns passé prior to the release. Think of this vocoded concept masterpiece Diddy is working on right now. All I can say is he needs to hurry up. The antithesis is the basic representation of the music’s roots. However, this is a presentation seen by some as a little dusty.

Hip Hop shtick is spread about as thin as possible. Some folks profess to have organically developed into the abnormal hipster dude or wannabe rock God they present; blissfully unaware the image was considered hot. Or they fight tooth and nail to retain their status as catalyst of that particular movement. It’s a bit convenient, but why argue the point? Who is going to admit they are a simple regurgitation of what they saw in the game when they decided they wanted to be a superstar anyway? I guess the proof will come down the road when the tide shifts and only a handful are still rocking tight pants and holding pink guitars.

The rub comes with the disconnect though. When an artist releases their ode to the fundamental Hip Hop equation (beat + rhyme = rap song) and people don’t get it, does that make it impossible for the traditionalists to reign in the genre from the vapid, style bandwagon riders? If enough people see the base of the music, the rudiment from which all this fusiony Hip-pop-rock-Hop grows as irrelevant, then that is a path that will soon be closed to through traffic.

Or is this a cycle? I’m sure plenty of frowney-faced old heads who refuse to take Low End Theory out of rotation remember Hip Hop House. I mean we did get this during the golden age and the flagship song of this off-shoot was born of Native Tongues. Given it was a short lived sound, but we rocked it at the time not realizing how lame it was until years later.

Thus, at the plateau we wait. In the interim, embrace what you want to embrace; but realize all these tributaries flow to the same river. I know the bumper ends of the musical spectrum are not the only reasons for the crazed and somewhat disheartening sound melting pot we have in the genre. The causes are convoluted and many. However, as industry folks toss everything but the kitchen sink at us looking for the hot new new that actually has staying power; I hope we don’t forget where we came from. There are some super duper smarty-pants types who do believe knowing your past helps in defining your future.

So as Miss Cinderella loses track of time twirling around with the prince and sponging up her 15 minutes, the back to basics ground swell chomps at the bit. It’s a slow diligent progression that for many is still left open for debate; the opponents thinking we need not refer back to the rap abacus. So I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait until the Hip Hop clock strikes 12 so I can witness the princess for a day and all her ill-conceived accoutrements turning back into pumpkins. I will channel my best evil step mother in celebration. Then I’m going to hide that bitch’s shoe.-Shelby Powell

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  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

    Deja vu.

    • Pierzy


  • Gooch

    Some great points made, and well written. But I don’t think we’re ever going back. There will be a core base of people who enjoy that type of rap, but moving forward you will continue to see it dissipate, or as you so eloquently put it, “fuse.” The convergence is deeper than music. It’s about life and culture and knowledge on a macro level.

    • Phil

      Just by the mere fact you said that “type of rap” will “dissipate” only reinforces its existence.

  • Zulu1925

    Shelby, you kind of lost me a bit in the middle of your post. I couldn’t understand what you were trying to say in a couple of sentences, such as:

    “The antithesis is the basic representation of the music’s roots.” Are you saying that the use of the vocoder is in opposition to the roots of Hip Hop? What about ‘Planet Rock,’ ‘You Gots To Chill,’ ‘Egypt, Egypt (Egypt is the place to be…)’ or bunch of others?

    “The rub comes with the disconnect though.” I’m completely lost here.

    “When an artist releases their ode to the fundamental Hip Hop equation (beat + rhyme = rap song) and people don’t get it, does that make it impossible for the traditionalists to reign in the genre from the vapid, style bandwagon riders?” Are you asking if the public doesn’t respond to a traditionally-styled artist, will that type of artist have difficulty trying to REIGN (hold dominion) over the newer artists in the new style or REIN (restrain/corral) in the newer artists and bring them back to the traditional style?

    I think I grasped your closing, but I wanted to clear up the aforementioned hiccups in my understanding before I make a fool of myself in a response. Thanks.

  • $ykotic

    “This is a remix!” Steady B feat KRS1-”Serious”

    • capcobra

      i was listening to bdp when suddenly……

  • http://www.soulbodega.net Avenger XL

    I think hip-hop as a genre is going through the same issues rock went through. Hip-hop as a whole is still the primary sound of urban youth and nothing has come along to replace that yet. Heck Hip-hop beats are now the mainstay in many of the genres hip-hop usta sample such as R&B(which is truely dead folks).
    But I have always been of the mind that thoughtful artists should not waist too much time commenting on their genre like a music critic. If you are a thoughtful artist create the change you would like and make it socially relavant and entertaining. The problem with many rappers is their idea of real hip-hop is pretty much NY boom bap rap and that is all they will give credit too. The problem with mainstream cats is they are hustlers and not artists in most case so they just jump band wagons whenever it looks financially rewarding. We need a rapper who can make use of the current musical land scape and give us some material of substance. i.e. be both lyrically dope and relavant without the obivious grab for record sales.

  • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

    Uhh wasn’t this posted before???

    • chitchat

      Yes. It was. And it bombed. XXL is that guy who will keep telling the joke over and over until someone else laughs. Let’s hope this is the last iteration

  • Jhon da Analyst

    I don’t give a fuck. Some of that hip-house shit was hot. Especially, Tyree Cooper in ’89. He had some smooth shit!

  • FlapJack

    Hip Hop the Fairy Tale: Cinderella, You’re Going To Have To Dumb Down!

    I lost you about halfway through