Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Used to Love H.E.R., Too

I think sometimes my rants against music today, particularly hip-hop, seems too harsh. Or maybe it comes off that way, which isn't my intention. I don't hate rap (or Pop, I'm not Miley Cyrus). Not at all. I wasn't raised listening to hip-hop, in all honesty, since my parents were pretty strict about what secular (non-Christian) music I could hear. But by the time I was in high school, I was playing catch up thanks to my older brother (he favored Warren G, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog because of the synthesized sounds) and my cousin Shay (she liked Biggie, Jay Z and some Tupac). And I liked what I heard. A lot. So much so that by the time I hit college, I geared my journalism classes toward Arts & Entertainment writing, focusing on music, usually urban (rap, R&B, Gospel, jazz). I wound up with an enjoyable and informative internship at Vibe, then freelanced for their website a year later.

May 2004, in the lobby of Vibe Magazine, during my intern days, I posed in front of a picture of the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige.

But a lot has changed in five years. What had once been a fun and flirtatious friendship with hip-hop has morphed into a cold acquiescence. I'm indifferent to most of the autotuned, compu-beats that are popular currently, while I continually give a collective eye-roll to the entire Young Money crew (sorry Drake, I had hopes for you, but then, sigh, the "Breast I Ever Had" debacle). I think what's most depressing is that somewhere along the way, hip-hop lost it's soul. Maybe it was around the time Puff donned that shiny suit, but nah, it was already slipping before then. I don't agree with Nas, it's not dead. Maybe just deferred.

It definitely is a caricature, though. I figured I'd dedicate these videos to hip-hop. We still have a relationship-albeit strained. Maybe a Joan-Toni from "Girlfriends" type deal. Here's hoping things will change.


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