Let me guess – the new plan is to find dudes that sound just like other dudes people used to like, with a particular emphasis on the South, because they have no standards. It’s not that they like bad music. Or at least they don’t think they like bad music. But they aren’t as critical of music that’s bad even by typical southern rap standards, because people in the south tend to be more supportive of one another, perhaps because they’re all related.
The late, great Noz, the source of all good ideas on the hip-hop Internets, identified this trend way back when the TIs started pushing that guy Freddie Gibbs, to make it seem as if he was a genuine organic Internets phenomenon. Noz realized right away that Freddie Gibbs is just UGK for people who weren’t cool enough to have listened to UGK the first time around, like Noz did. If they had, they wouldn’t have been nearly as interested in such a pale imitation. Not to incite Noz’s ire (he seems especially prickly these days), but I probably would have realized this myself, if I could say for certain that I’ve ever heard a UGK song in its entirety. One time I downloaded that double album they put out, but I had to cut it off after the first few songs, when it seemed like every song on the album would included a thinly veiled reference to yours truly. It was just too weird. That must be how Kanye’s ex, whom I’d take over Amber Rose, despite her blackness, felt when she listened to 808s & Heartbreak. No homo.
Perhaps the most egregious example of this trend to date is this guy B.O.B., who currently has the number one song in the country, in what would be viewed as vindication for XXL’s silly Freshman 10 issues, if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s essentially a one-man southern rap Black Eyed Peas. Though I give him credits for wearing khaki pants in the video for it (he might follow me on Twitter), that song “Nothing on You” is as gay as a three dollar bill. B.O.B. saw his first single, from his first album, go all the way to number one, a feat that took Jay-Z 61 years and umpteen albums to accomplish, but so did Flo Rida. Who gives a shit? I see B.O.B.’s second single, which entered the charts this week at number 12 and seems destined to also reach the number one spot, features Hayley Williams, the white chick from the band Paramore, the band most famous for being one of the first bands dumb enough to sign one of those 360 deals, back before it was all trendy/required. I shudder to think how it might sound, and you all know how I feel about white chicks: even when they’re wrong, they’re still kinda right.
They play the video “Nothing on You” all the time on Toure’s “Hip Hop Shop,” on Fuse, which plays nothing but the most awful “hip-hop” videos, and then maybe one cool video that I guess they let Toure pick. I’ve seen every episode of it, because I’ve got a little more free time than people who are “traditionally employed,” which is how I’m so familiar with the B.O.B. video. It may have actually been the first song by B.O.B. that I ever heard. I’d heard that he sounds just like Andre 3000, so I’d never bothered to listen to any of his shit, because I didn’t find the prospect of it very tempting. Even the original Andre 3000 I only found brilliant when he was actually brilliant, and not so much on the albums leading up to Stankonia, or the sad garbage that followed. Why would I want to hear an Andre 3000 impersonator? But in “Nothing on You” B.O.B. sounds more like Cee-Lo than Andre 3000. A lot more. I checked just now, and it looks like B.O.B. is capable of sounding just like either of them, depending on what the song requires. He’s “talented” like that.
Say what you will about a guy like B.O.B., there wouldn’t be any use for him, if guys like the original Andre 3000 and Cee-lo hadn’t disappeared up their own assholes. He’s just filling a void in the marketplace. The ideal situation would be if the success of some of these young swagger jackers convinced the people they’re ripping off to get their shit together. Then the probably would pretty much solve itself.