Saturday, January 3

Danger! High Voltage!

For the longest time, I've actively disliked 'urban' music. It didn't speak to me, it wasn't produced for me, it had nothing to offer me. I wasn't going to expend any effort in trying to understand it, because for the most part, the stuff I heard was stuff I didn't like.

However, over the past decade in particular, it's become impossible to ignore the influence that hiphop (for lack of a better all-encompassing descriptor) has had on popular music, and I don't think it's a stretch to say that hip hop is, right now, totally dominating the music charts. As I continued to ignore it, I just assumed that this domination was because the general public has such awful taste in music. As proof of that theory, I'll just say this: I lived through the '80s.

Then, in the last year in particular, I started to regularly hear hip hop that I actually liked on the radio. Recently, I began to read end-of year 'best of' lists from various sources, and many of the critics were lauding hip hop albums and songs that I never heard or heard of. One critic in particular wrote something that stuck with me. She (I think it was a 'she' but I sadly don't remember where I read it) said that not since the era of The Beatles was music being made that is, at the same time, leading the way in artistic expression and innovation, and on top of the popular charts. Hmm, 'artistic expression and innovation'? In hip hop? Isn't it just black guys putting down women and talking about gang-shit and jewellery?

Sure, there were some catchy songs, but I began to wonder: What was I missing?

So, I made a decision last week to dive into the genre. The first thing I did was discover *cough*download*cough* a bunch of singles that were on a bunch of 'best singles of the year' lists.

So far, I'm really liking what I've been listening to. I've discovered some fantastic songs that I'm pretty sure will be permanently stored in my library. I doubt that I'll totally immerse myself into the music, and I'm pretty sure I'll not succumb to the bling bling of the culture. But I'm kind of excited about the idea that my mind is now open to the notion that hip hop music perhaps does have something to offer to me.

Unlike a born-again Christian who tries to get everyone around him to 'see the light', I'll not inundate you with 'you gotta hear this' posts.

However, I will offer this: if you're like I was, and unsure if all this noise is worth getting into, just listen to one song. Try "Danger! High Voltage!" by Electric Six for starters. If you like that (and I can't possibly imagine anyone not liking that), then try another.

Oh, and please, start calling me "Rob Boi"


Nils Ling said...

Yo, yo, you know what I'm sayin', I'm down wit dat, you know what I'm sayin', da tunez is da shizzle, you know what I'm sayin'? Word up.

dave m said...

i just went to the itunes music store to get a taste of the song. the fifteen seconds or so that i heard of it sounded fun... but it, and maybe this was your point, didn't sound like hiphop. it was fun but just sounded rocky to me. the band was listed in the rock genre too. i might have missed your point though... any other suggested listening? or maybe the clip wasn't long enough to feel any of the hiphop vibe of which you were speaking.

Matt said...

Pssst... I think Nils may be white.

Rob MacD said...

You're right, a number of the songs and groups I've newly discovered would not be labelled as hip hop. But they are groups that I've never heard of, and in the past, wouldn't think I'd be interested in, because they were in 'best of' lists that were dominated by a bunch of hip hop artists.
So, I guess I was considering them "hip hop by association", even though they are, like you say, rocky.

dave m said...

that's cool. since posting i've been using the itunes music store to poke around... using "Danger! High Voltage!" as the jump off point... like the amazon feature, i"f you liked this then you might like this..." which lead me to The Strokes, which lead me to Ryan Adams, etc... Which was a little reassuring in a way... I'm really only a click away from Electric Six. But I also just pulled down the "hiphop" genre and found some names of the Rolling Stone best album list... and listened the 30sec clips...
i have absolutely no idea why i'm saying any of this... oh I know, I'm avoiding work i'm actually supposed to do.

Nils Ling said...

Yeah (sigh) I'm white. I'm so goddamn white I make Ed Begley, Jr. look like one of Snoopy Dog Dog's posse. You know what I am saying? Let's all get jiggly with it.