Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why Are You 70’s Babies So Damn Salty? 2 AKA Electric Boogaloo

A few days ago my brother was on Just Blaze’s MySpace page watching behind the scenes footage of the making of “Why You Hate The Game”. While watching the video we saw Just Blaze trying to get the take just right as he added layers of organ and piano over a chorus and additional drumming to finish off the track. He stayed behind for hours trying over and over again to get everything just right, bringing in musicians and vocalists to make the track sound perfect. My brother Buctayla (not his real name, mind you) shook his head and said “How many producers now do you think would put that much work into a track?”. “He added REAL MUSIC to the track. What percentage of listeners do you think even appreciated how much that added to the song?”

We then proceeded to get into this long ass discussion about how technology has helped to impair the younger listening audiences attention spans (when you become a salty oldhead these are the types of things you find yourself doing more and more the older you get). When we 70’s babies were young we had to listen to Side A and B on vinyl or sit through entire 8 track tapes. When we did have cassettes, it would damage the cassette to fast forward repeatedly so that meant we would have to actually LISTEN to the music more and gain some music appreciation.

It also helped the artist out and the creative end to have a side A and a side B. Think about all of the old tapes you had and the themes that artists used to do. Sometimes, the album would be split in half and the listener would follow two different concepts that intertwined to make a cohesive album. In the digital age that’s not an issue, especially since you can just skip track if you don’t like it after the first 15-30 seconds. This is another problem in my opinion. Buctayla pointed out to me that a lot of times when he makes beats he likes to have a buildup to the beat, problem is that with listeners today if the beat doesn’t drop damn near immediately they’re not going to be patient enough to wait for it. If they did then maybe they'd have liked the beat and bought it.

“If the Beatles released the White Album in 2007 that shit would flop sooo hard!” my brother said. “They did about four different styles of music on that one album and three different guys wrote songs in completely different ways. That shit would NEVER fly now, who would sign ‘em?”. Issues like this tend to sour us older cats on the current music industry, all we hear is muthafuckas singing with that damn AutoTune/vocoder effects and nowhere near enough artists that make their own’s pretty damn discouraging.

It’s a completely different world to us oldheads. In our eyes, things have largely gone to shit. When the Reagan/Bush Administration was fucking everything up, the average American was more knowledgeable about what was going on in the world.We had the movement to abolish apartheid, nuclear arms summits, the Cold War, the Iran/Contra Affair, and the list went on and on. It seems as though this Bush Administration has been SO inept and corrupt that it's surprising to me that there isn’t outright rioting in the streets on a daily basis....that is if we could stop focusing on Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardasian and Vanessa Hudgens.

The media has been morphed into this big machine fueled by gossip and celebrity news instead of real journalism. How Fox News (which is cleary biased) is allowed to operate as freely as it does and the only alternative news sources that we have to combat them (that people will actually watch) are The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are completely beyond me. Edward R. Murrow must be rolling over in his grave, family.

I just saw ESPN do a segment on the Jena 6 this past Sunday. This was about a week after Cornel West and Mos Def appeared on Showtime with Bill Maher and they addressed the situation in Jena, LA. Mos Def challenged the other emcees in the game to show up in Jena for the sentencing as well. Sure enough, there was a march there. The thing that irked me the most was that bloggers (especially Hip Hop bloggers) have been reporting on this story for the longest and it took until recently for any reputable news outlet to report on this disturbing story. Back in the days how many Jena 6 songs would there have been with groups like Public Enemy, Brand Nubian, Poor Righteous Teachers, X Clan and the like in the scene?

You expect Soulja Boy to say something about the subject? Has BET done ANYTHING about the Jena 6 situation yet? I mean besides push back Rap City to an ungodly hour and stage specials about the media and Hip Hop when they’re actually part of the problem? You notice that no one’s even fighting BET on the issue? What does that tell you?

It’s scary that in a time when great music seems to be coming out weekly, people are still convinced Hip Hop is dead merely because none of these artists are on major labels. I could make a list of 50 excellent Hip Hop albums that have been released in 2007 EASILY and the majority of the buying public are convinced that less than 10 have come out strictly due to sales and the infrequent release of albums by major label artists. It looks like Papoose’s “The Nacirema Dream”, Saigon’s “The Greatest Story Never Told”, Raekwon’s “Only Built For Cuban Linx 2”, Joe Budden’s “The Growth” and Dr. Dre’s “Detox” albums almost look as though they’ll never come out. Remember Tru Life, anyone?

This is coming from a patient cat, mind you. Shit, I’m a 70’s baby! When I played videogames on my Commodore 64 the load times for my games took from between 10 and 45 minutes based on if I used a tape drive or a disk drive (and people bitch if it takes 30 seconds to load!). My brother used to play “online” games back in the late 80’s with his 400 baud (no, that’s not a fuckin’ typo!) modem. About 2 years later we got a brand new 1200 baud modem and it flew in comparison to the old one. I still remember typing out my school reports with a damn typewriter (can't forget the Liquid Paper!) and looking shit up in dusty ass old dictionaries and encyclopedias all night long.

How can we be in the Information Age and yet people are still as ignorant and misinformed as ever? Maybe it’s because now we can type in the word “ass” on YouTube and the masses can be entertained (or sedated) for hours. Ayo about the gift and the curse.



Anonymous said...


Great points.

On the topic of albums, I think a bigger hindrance is that artists don't sit and think about making an actually full cohesive album--it's a bunch of tracks thrown together and packaged in one case.

Redman brought up a great point in a recent interview: everyone is trying to win with every song they make. He said that he can't listen to new rap albums because there's no album cuts, and that's actually where you get to find out who the artist is. So we're left with 80 minutes of club songs and hood/street songs with a few R&B collabos sprinkled in between.

alley al said...

c64? haha, we were at 300 baud. never even moved up to 1200. my brother got the c128 and got greedy and kept it for self. wouldn't even share the 5.5" floppies with the virtual porn in it!! remember "phreaking" and boxes of rthe payphones?! holla. crackin at the basic levels.