I spent most of my life in Los Angeles, so it’s always interesting when – now that I live in New York – I get comments on my “accent” (apparently I didn’t know I had one until I got out here) and general questions about the city. Much to my surprise (and chagrin) a good number of the people I’ve encountered here have this preconceived notion that every woman there has enough foreign objects surgically installed in them to set off an alarm in a department store, the streets are so dangerous that it’s essentially illegal to wear the colors red and blue and that going to the beach on Christmas is as normal as breathing.
They’re right on one aspect: going to the beach in the winter > being stuck in a blizzard in the winter.
The discussion of hip hop music always comes up as well. While the funk-fueled style of gangsta rap still has a place in Los Angeles’ current landscape, the music scene out Left has seen a shift toward something more lyrically dense than gangbang-happy, and has slowly but surely risen in popularity over the last couple years. Artists such as Pac Div, TiRon, U-N-I and the erstwhile Blu have provided a refreshing alternate to the Death Row brand of music that frightened middle America, outsold most pop acts and collided – at times violently – with New York for rap supremacy.
With the jerk era
finally mercifully coming to a close, this neo-alternative sound of West Coast hip hop is getting more attention than ever, so much so that a former Death Row inmate, Dr. Dre, caught wind of it and now wants to work with one such artist, fellow Compton native Kendrick Lamar. Of course most Westerners are frothing at the mouths for a possible Kendrick/Dre collaboration (myself included. It’s a West Coast thing; out-of-towners wouldn’t understand), but the inner skeptic in me wonders if such a thing would prove beneficial in the long run.
While the fact that Dre namedropping Kendrick last week, undoubtedly boosting his profile, is enough of a reason to work with him, Kendrick has been putting out great music on a consistent basis and doesn’t necessarily need Dre at the moment, especially given his spotty track record lately. With the good doctor spending more time peddling expensive laptops and headphones, struggling to release Detox in a timely manner, the underwhelming response “Under Pressure” received and his notorious “it won’t come out until its perfected” work ethic, one could assume that if Kendrick was to work with Dre the end result may never even see the light of day at all.
In that case, I think it’d be best for Dr. Dre to finally focus all his remaining energy on Detox and let the new generation continue to build upon the foundation they’ve already planted. But if in fact something concrete does happen let’s hope Dre doesn’t keep it to himself for years the way he did Rakim. And Eve. And Bishop Lamont. And King Tee. And Hittman. You get the point.