Do Kids Today Respect “Old School” Hip-Hop? My Classic/Your Relic
It’s Skyzoo checking in on what’s the first of an on-going blog series I’ll be doing with XXLMag.com. My man Anslem Samuel reached out and asked if I’d pen a weekly blog, and I was definitely with it.
If you’re familiar with the guest blogging I did in summer ’09, you know my blogs aren’t the typical “rapper” entries. As opposed to just writing about what I did for the day, etc., I try to go a little further and go into specific topics, stir up conversations via the comment section, etc. If you need to, CLICK HERE,
HERE or HERE to peep the older blogs I did on XXL. [Don’t mind the MC Lyte banner up top, those are my words. Ha!] So, without any further ado, here’s my first entry.
As some of you may know, my new project Live From The Tape Deck drops today, Tuesday, October 5. It’ll be everywhere you need it to be, Best Buy, iTunes, etc., as well as available for online orders via duckdown.com, amazon.com, fatbeats.com, ughh.com, and more. The project is a collabo album between myself and !llmind. The album, a fusion of yesterday and tomorrow, was just awarded an overall “XL” rating in the October 2010 issue with Kanye on the cover, along with an “XXL” rating in the lyrics column. As an MC, it’s good to know that a powerhouse like XXL understands and shows light where deserved.
With the album, !llmind and I wanted to make something that felt like a cassette tape, without being dated and a throwback. With the title, Live From the Tape Deck, we wanted to make music that was as dope as hip-hop was when cassettes existed, but with a modern approach.
To everyone intending on purchasing the album, it is NOT an old school, looped up, boom bap album. Nor is it a snap, autotune album. No disrespect to any of the above, because I have a good mixture of all of those sub-genres in my iPod, but this album isn’t that. The album is 2010 progressive hip-hop.
Sonically, !llmind only used samples on two of the 12 records, so even on the records where it sounds like it could be a sample, it’s all original and created from scratch by !llmind.
Lyrically, I’m still doing everything you’ve come to know and love about me as far as pens go, just intensified. My goal as an MC is to always go above and beyond any of my previous work.
So with all of that being said, I’ve still been asked numerous times if the album is in fact a throwback to the boom bap days. The title seems to confuse and lead people to believe so. Those conversations with fans, writers, etc., have led to me taking the following stance: As we continue to see music grow, we hold on to what once was. But at the same time, we can’t expect those younger than us to go back and appreciate or even attempt to tune in to what we covet.
I grew up on Jay-Z, B.I.G., Nas, Rakim, EPMD, Tribe, Chi Ali (Wikipedia me if you need that one explained), Big L, The Wu, Mobb Deep, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Black Star, Scarface, etc, so for me, it’s easy to go back and always appreciate those artists and their classics. In the same breath, we can’t expect the kids nowadays to feel the same way about those artists. When I was 13, I wasn’t tryna go back and listen to rap from the late ’70s/early ’80s, I was strictly about what I was about, which was what was dope at the moment. I respected what the older artists did, and as I grew up I went back and learned to appreciate and love the birth years of hip-hop, but I can’t lie and say I wanted to go back and listen to the ’79-83 days.
Knowing all of that, I’d never expect the kids nowadays to be die-hard boom bap fans, or go back and wanna get into that period. It’d be great if they did, but are they necessarily wrong for not wanting to? I have two younger brothers, one of which is 21. As a kid, I had him listening to everything I listened to, so he’s into The Purple Tape, Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, The Infamous, etc., but doesn’t remember what it was like when they impacted. He just knows what his brother introduced him to. He definitely digs it, but he’s more so into what directly impacted HIM. So what The Wu did for me is what Dipset did for him. And you can’t be mad at that.
That’s where Live From the Tape Deck comes in. When creating this project, I often said to myself, “the kids nowadays aren’t even old enough to remember when B.I.G. and ’Pac died. They’re 16 and 17 now, which means they were two and three when they passed. How can you honestly fault them for not knowing or not going back?” So knowing all of that, where’s their Liquid Swords, their Soul Brother No. 1, their It’s Dark and Hell is Hot? Hopefully, Live From the Tape Deck is that “impact” moment for them.
In conclusion, the idea of music for 2010 and beyond, built around the aesthetic of a cassette tape, all makes sense when you take heed to the above. At least it does to !llmind and I. So, do remember, Live From the Tape Deck in stores today! If you have siblings or teenage kids, get ‘em a copy and make it their version of your favorite album when you were their age.
Until next week…