die hip hop die

Posted on November 26, 2009
Filed Under music | Leave a Comment

rhythm2440988_2e52827b2cThe team and I have written in these pages before about our visceral response to hip hop music.  Not all of it, but the great majority, appears to be nothing but the glamorised subjugation of the sisterhood, compressed into rhyming coulpets and then recited over beats, some of which are mildly inventive.  There is no joy in it for the team here at Likeithateit.  Perhaps that is why we are such keen fans of this article from the Guardian, that proclaims, “Hip Hop is dead!” (whoo hoo!)

A month or so ago New Yorker pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones wrote a column about the state of rap, starting with the proposition (”proclamation” would be too bombastic a word) that 2009 was, in fact, the year of hip-hop’s death. I read it and couldn’t find a thing to disagree with. My only quibble was that he might have called it earlier. Perhaps 2006, when Nas released Hip Hop Is Dead. Or even 2004, when Timbaland “repeatedly voiced … a frustration with pop music, particularly the hip-hop end of it” (according to his New York Times interviewer, one Sasha Frere-Jones) and further declared: ”It’s time for me to retire, because it ain’t the same … I’m tired of stuff now, even stuff that I do.” (He also, said, mindblowingly, that “Coldplay and Radiohead are the illest groups to me. That’s music”.) That same year, 2004, Jay-Z also confessed – on the eve of his (ha ha) retirement and moving on to bigger, more challenging fields of endeavour – that he too was “bored” with hip-hop. Rap had become “corny”, he said, and accordingly he no longer felt peer pressure to raise his game (something underlined by the steady decline of his output after 2001’s magisterial The Blueprint).

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