Weekly updates:

Posted by

Weekly updates

RU - Secret men's business

I recently had a conversation with an esteemed colleague who did a great job of expressing the following unspoken truth: “The whole point of rap music is that it’s a purge of all the male bullshit we can’t express in polite society.” For all the message raps, songs about being late for work and dedications to ma dukes, the greatest moments of hip-hop have essentially revolved around talking shit, shameless showing-off and ridiculous stunting. As rap has expanded and developed over the years to accommodate wider markets, sub-genres have developed to cater to more sensitives types, nerds and weirdos, resulting in abominations such as Cloud Rap and the Kitty Prydes of the world. Much of which is part of a rumoured conspiracy of fourth-tier Tumblr bloggers and former Fader interns.

Despite these ‘developments’, the best rap is still more macho like Randy Savage. The witch hunt for ‘The Gay Rapper’ in the ’90s illustrated that the very concept of a rapper being anything less than the poster-child of traditional masculinity was incomprehensible. Considering hip-hop’s ties to the recreational drugs and the club scene in the early days, it’s safe to say that there has always been a contingent of dudes who mess with dudes in the game – DJs in particular – but on the US Army tip, “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. You can see this sentiment in a Byron Crawford interview on Animal this week: “I can’t see a gay rapper finding much success in hip-hop. Not necessarily because hip-hop culture is so homophobic, but because I don’t know if gay guys have what it takes to make very good rap music — the same way women haven’t been able to make very good rap music. The few really good female rappers were all lesbians, which suggests to me that it might be a masculinity thing: you gotta be extremely masculine to be a good rapper, and that’s why not very many gay guys or women have excelled at it.”

Back to the first point though, being able to vent anger, threaten violence, demean women and celebrate a sweet new car often aren’t that easy to do in day-to-day life. NWA, the GETO Boys, Dipset, M.O.P and G-Unit all painted larger-than-life canvases for fans and created some great music in the process. Combine that with the universal appeal of escapism and wanting to hear some entertaining shit while you’re getting drunk, and the appeal of rap songs about working minimum wage and feeling sad that you’re girlfriend dumped you decreases significantly.

As much as I champion non-progressive rap music (to the extent that a recent comment on Unkut questioned whether or not I even like rap), don’t think that I have any time for getting mad at Puffy or anybody that made straight-up party music. If the beat bangs and the rapper can flow – and isn’t a spineless wimp – then count me in. While this may seem like common sense, often my painfully honest opinions aren’t appreciated. A piece I wrote last week, which blamed the Freestyle Fellowship for the majority of shitty experimental rapping in the world, appears to have raised the ire of the entire crew, who took me to task on Twitter (including some threats of violence from Aceyalone which he quickly deleted) and then directed a legion of rabid stans to continue the ‘assault’ in my comment section. It was like 2008 all over again!

Everyone is looking for something different in hip-hop. Maybe you’re a hawt broad who just wants something to shake it to. Perhaps you enjoy multi-syllable brag raps that require multiple listens to decipher so you can type entirely incorrect explanations over at Rap Dummy. Or maybe, just maybe, you want to hear great beats and righteously ignorant, anti-social flows that neither your Mom nor “girlfriend” would approve of. Smoke somethin’, drink somethin’, smack someone around the head, grab your junk and peel off in the whip and get back to the basement before Mom changes the locks. Rap life forever.

Keep up with Robbie’s weekly ‘No Country for Old (Rap) Men’ here.