lundi, mai 12, 2008

Gotsa to be cool...

Someone take away Paul Kix's laptop immediately. My "Hip Hop" Google alert directed me to this inane, offensive, simple-minded and grossly misinformed piece for Salon. I don't know why idiocy like this still surprises me! Kix gets everything wrong about hip hop. Where Kix finds success is in demonstrating his ignorance of the past and present American musical landscape (he'd be well served to look into how dance crazes have figured into popular music before and beyond hip hop) and his narrow and demeaning demands on Black cultural production, e.g.,
"Since when did young black men, heretofore the arbiters of pop culture, become so lame?"
I guess that's supposed to be funny. It's folly to think of racism as just white hoods and nooses it's also the strictures, institutional or structural on Black life. Shuffle, shuffle, pose and cackle. Good lawd, give us free.

Kix attempts to provide a critical history of hip hop's alleged demise and make aesthetic judgments but he proves woefully unsuccessful at those basic tasks,
It's an amorphous thing, to chronicle hip-hop's decline, but I trace its genesis to the sound every fan loved: Atlanta at the turn of the century, repelling what New York and Los Angeles did, finding its own way with krunked-out beats and slurred lyrics. Atlanta (Outkast and Ludacris mostly) begat the Cash Money Millionaires of New Orleans (think Juvenile and "Back That Ass Up." The music then evolved, except that T.I. and his ilk in Atlanta and Lil Wayne and his in N'Awlins were neither as clever with the rhymes as Ludacris nor as adept in the production as Outkast. A sound that was already simpler than what Dre out west or Puffy out east would have allowed became lazy, less crisp, and the lyrics were all that much harder to decipher, hiding behind drawls and weighed down by bling.
He'd need look no further than his beloved Outkast's ATLiens to find a preemptive defense of their rap colleagues and I am no great fan of Weezy or Tip but neither completely lacks wit or dexterity. And what Kix means by "hiding behind drawls" and how that differs from the earlier vaunted "slurred lyrics" is as unclear as it is unsettling. So Black rappers, be advised that you are failing in your duty to sate Kix's lust for that authentic cool, embedded in Negro genes along with athleticism and rhythm, we are to suppose. If you want to raise your blood pressure, click here to read the foolish rest.