Thursday, September 30, 2010
Props to Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake's "History of Rap" segment on late night TV. Using Hip-Hop artist/back-up band The Roots as well.
Although the problem with a segment like this is in 3 1/2 minutes it tells you everything you need to know about why rap music (and pop music as a whole, really) is in the tubes.
The guys effectively weave through early rap triumphs namely from the Sugarhill Gang, Beastie Boys and Digital Underground. These songs got Hip-Hop music to the place where it is today and is certainly standing the test of time.
From there we move into the "Gangsta Rap" era with Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Notorious B.I.G. Which raised the stakes literally and figuratively in 90's culture. To have a history of rap segment without "Nothin' but a 'G' Thang", "California Love" or "Juicy" would be rediculous.
Almost immediately we move from the mid-90's rap to 1999's breakout star Eminem. This isn't by coincidence. Late-90's rap is either massively outdated or the hit makers of that era are making bigger hits today. Besides if Fallon and JT wanted to take time to honor Will Smith, Puff Daddy or any of the No Limit Soldiers they might as well just not do the segment.
The video is great but takes a nose dive at about the 1:45 mark when we get into the '00's. Missy Elliot's "Work It" doesn't belong in any historical conversation musically (for a music video hall-of-fame absolutely), Soulja Boi's "Crank That" dumbed down America for several months and accomplished it's goal of letting record execs prove that anybody, no matter how little talent they have can be successful. I'm convinced this was included just because it's easy for The Roots to play.
We also zoom from about 2001 to 2007 because 50 Cent isn't popular anymore.
"Live Your Life" is next up to bat and boy let's remind everyone of how shoddy Rhianna's voice is by having Timberlake sing it. When I think T.I. I think of a talented guy who's going back to prison.
A personal favorite of mine, Kanye West, is immortalized by the guy next and it's wrong that they chose "Golddigger," which to me is as lazy of a song as he's ever produced. Why not do "Stronger", "All Falls Down" or "Heartless"? All those songs were just as big, were better written, better produced and didn't feature Jamie Foxx doing a Ray Charles impression.
And then we have the cherry on top, Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind." I get why the songs on here as the closer. It was rap's biggest hit in the last year, Fallon's show is in New York and Jay-Z is an 'A'-lister. But I'll never for the life of me figure out why people love that song. It's 4 1/2 minutes of Jay-Z jerking NYC off.
Last time I checked nobody likes New York. Nobody I know likes the Yankees, NY area Italians are being laughed at one-hour at a time by millions every week on MTV's Jersey Shore and most rap songs repping places like St. Louis, Mississippi or Detroit aren't revered. If you're from the area and love the song I get it, but midwesterners acting like this is a life-changing singalong are foolish.
And don't even bring up the fact that I mention 2pac's "California Love" being a classic. That song was written as a way to boost the West Coast in their 90's rap battle with New York. Also Americans have been romanticizing California since the Gold Rush of the late 1840's. When I think California I think the beach, blondes and Hollywood. When I think New York I think the mob, guidos and cabs.
2pac and Dre wanted to remind you that they were dangerous and that the cities of Diego, The Bay, Oakland, Sac-Town and LA were where it's at.
Jay-Z bojangles for McDonald's, Billboard Magazine, Lexus, the Knicks, Yankees, three different cab companies, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, three-card Monte, Bob Marley(?!), Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center (the ultimate shill), Empire State Building and Ambien. (As aside I do like Jay-Z, this song just miffs me.)
So in in less than 5 minutes two white guys take us on a journey of Rap. From when lyrics mattered (Sugarhill, Beastie's) to when lazy hook's and singer's singing them bojangled (T.I., Kanye, Jay.)
Monday, September 13, 2010
During his beyond epic feud with Canadian hero Bret Hart. The grudge is taken to another level when Shawn Michaels picks his nose with the Canadian Flag. The only feud in wrestling history where the good guy/bad guy depended on what country you were from. (Too bad wrestling didn't travel to Iran back in the early 80's where the Iron Sheik would've been hailed by his countrymen.)