the one big problem of hip hop

May 13th, 2007

It's almost as if no one dared to say it before. But here's the statement that says more about hip hop music than anything else.

People fail to realize that hip hop first and foremost is a musical art-form. Right now, hip hop just isn’t living up to musical standards. It’s just plain bad.

From an opinion about why hip hop sales are plummeting.

I would go much further than this. To me, hip hop has always been bad music, with a few exceptions. I believe that any musical genre must always be about the music, otherwise it's pointless. And while there are certain things that have always attracted me to hip hop - the energy, the bold form of expression, the rhythm, and sometimes the lyricism - I have always found it profoundly lacking in the music itself. It's a genre that wants to be loved, but I just cannot find enough reason to embrace it, the music is so lacking.

Meanwhile, there have been exceptions. Songs that have the kind of musical quality that make them mainstays in my listening (most have previews on last.fm).

But these are exceptions, not the only ones, but taken out of a small set. When I do like a hip hop song, it's usually because of the melodic/harmonic/rhythmic value, not the lyrics, whatever they may be.

Perhaps melody and harmony just don't square with the core values of hip hop, but as long as it is music, it will always be judged on those.

So how can you tell if a hip hop song is worth its salt? Here's one thing to try. Remove the vocals. Vocals are very important in hip hop, so removing this will make the music feel very empty. But here's the question. Does what remains offer anything at all?

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1 Responses to "the one big problem of hip hop"

  1. erik says:

    "Does what remains offer anything at all?"

    Usually not no, I agree. If you think about it, hiphop is often just bad poetry. So much for the 'tough' image