Find better matches with our advanced matching system
30 / M / Straight / Single
His journal posts
Sep 1, 2009
I've definitely been that white guy in his Saab nodding with an embarrassing amount of vigor to some deep bass hits and hand claps during that latest single that makes more cash from ringtones than album sales. I've tried to get friends together to go to The War Room. I can't help how the music makes me feel.
But I can get the same feeling from a lot of dance and electronic music that's often a lot more complex and appreciable musically. And yes, a lot of it is terrible. I think terrible rap and r&b is only outdone by pop country and smooth jazz, if you measure in minutes the time it takes me to start checking whether I've started bleeding from the ears.
But I wade through it all. It's because I feel like I'm an outsider to the culture, and I think hip-hop is the most culturally relevant music around today. (For the same reason, I have anxiety about discussing racial issues, so if I say something here that's misguided or insensitive, I'd like to talk about it!) When you talk about the history of rap, you have to talk about the culture behind it to understand why it is the way it is. You might have to do that about a lot of things, but the two are entwined with hip-hop throughout its evolution.
There's a MASSIVE demographic of people whose lives are run by hip-hop music. It creates ideals for its listeners. Sure, other kinds of music create trends, but rappers regularly create, propagate, and then villify and destroy their own trends. It's maybe not in the most scientific terms, but hip-hop culture has "evolved" this way, organically. In other kinds of music, trends ebb and flow, but they don't really have any kind of direct relationship with what they are replacing. Rappers beef over things with each other and actively try to conquer their enemies. Rappers reinvent themselves and conquer their own images. And, especially with help from the internet, it's happening a lot faster than it used to with print media.
It even has its own counter-culture that prides itself on not being this way. Some of the members used to be more mainstream and now speak out against it.
This is all deeply rooted in the complex relationship between the history and economics of black America.
"Mainstream" rap music has always come out of poverty. Mainstream rap music has also evolved to focus more on the relationship between poverty and wealth in traditionally black communities. Money, guns, and bitches. On a deeper level, it's about the struggle to escape poverty, to gain power, and fulfill desires. (But yes, it's also extremely sexist.)
It's a very Nietzschean goal, to rise to power by transgressing the limits of poverty to become a superstar and create your own rules. And I find it interesting that all of this basically comes out of poetry.