Thursday, July 8, 2010

Take Your Seats

Good morning class. We have reached the midway point of the school year. Today I wanted to go over some of our work with a short review. Stand when I call your name.

The Roots remain stylistically and culturally relevant on their newest release How I Got Over. A really awkward, or maybe perfect example here is the Johanna Newsom sample/hook on “Right On.”

Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek are talented as individuals, but when their talents unite they become something quintessential. Call them what you want...textbook, undeniable, classic, all of them were earned over the years of great work.

Planet Asia has been disappointing as of late. He is great on the battlefield, but it’s a one-dimensional approach that tires quickly. A little change of scenery would make a big difference and solidify him as a more complete emcee.

Madlib is the hardest workingman in hip-hop. Check that.
Madlib is the hardest workingman in showbiz. Period.

Jay Electronica has made a reputation of his own and has defined it through unconventional means. With names like Nas, Talib, Mos, and Just Blaze as comrades in arms, it would seem that he would have an established career to warrant that kind of blue-chip love, and there is a small back story concerning a woman known as Eryka Badu. Most of his career has been made off of online mix-tapes or collaborations, and has yet to release a LP, so there is plenty of confusion and conversation about why such a promising new voice hasn’t rushed open that door ten-toes strong.

With the internet climate providing a state of insatiability, releasing individual songs or streaming them is a good way to keep people hungry and at the same time giving them something to talk about. Homemade distribution for decades has been the grassroots voice of hip-hop and I think this plays a role in Jay Electronica’s intrigue.

Record deals have historically put more power in the hands of the labels than the artists. Hip-hop is the example of how a genre can be totally dismissed by the record industry for years, only to be strong-armed later when the possibility of large profit enters the window. De La Soul, please stand up. While downloading has taken a large chunk of income away from the industry as a whole, it also has driven artists to search for alternate means of profitable recognition.

There won't be a massive transition overnight but I believe that more artists, both old and new, will start to wean themselves towards more progressive ideas when it comes to reaching out for public awareness consumption in the coming years. Immortal Technique, please stand up. According to online sources, Jay Electronica has a LP dropping sometime this year entitled Abracadabra: Let There Be Light. Don’t believe the hype. Dr. Dre, please stand up.

The year is not over. Black Milk, you could be emerging as a new leader and claim the best producer/emcee title-belt that another Detroit native used to own. Study hard.