Tag Archives: hip hop

Opinion: Jay-Z at Glasto.

“You guys aren’t into hip hop. I got one question – where’s the love?”

Jay-Z, before ‘Heart of the City

Ok, so as I start this article I’m currently watching Jay-Z answer all his critics on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury 2008. Sticking his middle finger up to Noel Gallagher by opening with the iconoclastic Wonderwall, throwing AC/DC riffs into his set, and a dose of the likes of Prodigy for good effect.

The idea of live hip-hop is one that I don’t really understand the appeal in. A single man doing karaoke to a mix tape? I do that enough in my bedroom thanks. But having settled down to watch Jay-Z headline the Pyramid stage I was bewildered by the combination of rapper, live band and CD mix.

They said it couldn’t be done. Glastonbury belongs to guitars and rock, none of this hip hop stuff they said. Maybe they were scared? A black man taking the main stage at the most prestigious music festival the UK has to offer the world is a bold statement, like it or not. I wouldn’t put it past the mainstream press to hold their reservations not only down to the music, but to the colour of a man’s skin.

But with all this pressure mounting on his back, Jay-Z has come blasting out of the stage and has, for the most part, put on an amazing show. It just goes to prove that despite the ‘haters’, hip hop can be just as fascinatingly exciting a live show to watch as Radiohead. At the start of his set the predominantly white, probably middle class crowd cheered Oasis‘ name as Jay-Z ripped into Wonderwall. But it was Jay-Z’s name being chanted at the end of his enthusiastic and high octane set, certainly a damn more exciting sight to behold than Coldplay.

I’m going to leave it at that – I think bringing hip-hop to Glastonbury was a great idea, and Jay-Z was just the right ambassador for the genre in it’s moment in the spotlight. Articulate, confident and most importantly, incredibly talented, his show should silence any critics. Except for Zane Lowe, who is impossible to shut up. One day Lowe, one day…

Opinion: Video Killed the Hip Hop Star

I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent with this article, mainly because it’s a non-issue that has bugged me for some time. I personally haave never really considered music videos important to the music industry, and I’m beginning to believe that the industry itself is beginning to share this opinion, with the likes of mainstream channels such as MTV devoting most of their airtime to reality shows that go a long way to suggest the lack of brains evident in Americans.

But I’m not going to talk about music videos generally today, instead I’ve got a bone to pick with the trend for rap and hip-hop artists who merely use the video as a vehicle to give the impression that they are irresistable to women, loaded with money and proper ‘ard. I’m talking harder than Grant Mitchell from Eastenders, who to this day still remains one of the hardest men ever born, much harder than that celebrity sell out Chuck Norris.

I kind of touched on this a little bit earlier in my Five of the Best feature when I confessed my hate for Fiddy Cents. Two offer my two cents (haha) I think the man is an inbred idiot devoid of any talent or humilty, and what angers me even more are the mindless tools who accept what spouts out of his mouth as music. But before I get carried away and make this an assaination on Mr Cent’s persona, let me reluctantly drag things back to the point – when did music videos just become an excuse for artists to strut around women juggling their oversized breasts and wobbling their full moon arses? Do musicians just need the video as some form of self affirment of their status?

I think to be fair I’m coming at this from the wrong angle. I’m a bit of a critic when it comes to pop/R’n’B/rap/hip hop music, as I don’t really see it as a valid type of music compared to stuff that actually raises questions, or even answers them. I’ve never been able to think about that kind of music in the same way I would spend hours analysing and delving myself into say, a Pink Floyd song or even a Tool one if I’m feeling particularly bullshitty. The idea of a man talking fast about his ho’s and his bling just doesn’t do anything for me, and it’s such a tired idea that has been repeated ad nauseum.

Jurassic 5

Concrete streets: Jurassic 5 remained down to earth and damn good to boot.

The thing is, I know that there is good hip hop and rap stuff out there. One of my favourite summer bands is Jurassic 5, who kept an irrepressable funk about them, whilst dealing with subject matter that didn’t revolve around how many women had licked their lollipops. I can even go some way to appreciating Eminem for his sickly sinister storytelling and the fact that he’s one of the few white guys out there who can show the predominantly black rap community that whitey’s can do it just as good.

Anyway, the point is that all this arse jiggling and bling business needs to stop, and if The Game or Fiddy don’t start considering issues and problems other than their dicks and guns then rap is likely to remain in a turgid bowl of mediocrity and poo. Is it any wonder the kids that listen to this stuff turn out the way they do?