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Hawk vs. the Hip-Hop World - Can you change my mind?


HawkbitAlpha
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I've made no secret about the fact that, over the last couple of years, my feelings on music and other media have been taking some unexpected turns. I've even become more sympathetic to a bit of pop music over the last few months, if this was any indication. Well, even after all of that, at the ripe old age of... [checks notes] ...22, I still can't find my way into enjoying rap music by and large. Now, let's clear some things up first...

I'm a guy from very white rural Louisiana who grew up listening to rock and old-school country, and has been vibing to Van Halen and 80s thrash Metallica since he was 9 thanks to his dad. Given that background, you might expect me to come at this subject with some stock boomer complaints like "iT's NoT rEaL mUsIc!", "rApPeRs ArE tALeNtLeSs", "iT gLoRiFiEs viOLeNcE aNd SeX", or some shit like that. Well, this isn't going to be one of those threads. Instead, I'm about to lay out my own really big problem with a lot of rap music, and I want any of you with the patience to read the whole thing to let me know what you think in response. Hell, maybe by the end of this whole thing, you'll have made a convert out of me yet. But, onwards!

I have a fairly big collection of music today (>3,300 songs) that, while the majority of it is rock, also includes quite a big share of other genres like electronica, funk, soul/R&B, country, folk, jazz/fusion, even a bit of pop, and more. (I'm actually listening to Metamodern Sounds in Country Music while writing this.) Through all of this content, I can find something in every single track that keeps me engaged, be it the funk-heavy bite of Living Colour, the adrenaline-pumping ferocity of Tremonti and early Metallica, the rich chromatic sounds of Gino Vannelli and Dream Theater, the emotional soul depths of Etta James (or Beyonce?) and Sturgill Simpson, the nostalgia-inducing minimalism of Jan Johansson and Boards of Canada... okay, this list has gone on long enough. Point being, there's something about all of these that I can enjoy, and I believe the really big common factor is that all of them are "musical" in some way, in the sense of having notes, chords, melodies, etc.

This is the really fundamental thing that keeps me from getting into a lot of rap. It's a form of music where the tonal element is almost entirely stripped out in favor of focusing on the vocals, which also don't have much tonality to them. Now, that on its own isn't a total deal-breaker for me (as you'll see below). The problem is that this tradeoff of music for pure lyrics means that, in order for it to work for me, the lyrics have to be great... and as far as almost every bit of rap music I've heard from the last 15 years or so goes, it doesn't meet that standard. As I said before, I hate to harp on this theme, but in the year of our Lord 2022, we need another rap song about violence, sex, materialism, and so on about as much as we need another country song about beer, scarecrows girls, and trucks. Both of them should be legally considered a type of grain. Now, I could probably cook up some sociological hypothesis for why this kind of rap music is what makes the biggest hits (in a nutshell: its core audience is a population for whom, much like the music, the process of getting anywhere has generally been slow as well - EDIT: okay, that was poorly worded), but that doesn't mean I would start liking it regardless.

Well, after all of that, this is the part where I throw a curveball and bring up the fact that I actually have a bit of rap in my collection too. Along with a select few songs I particularly like, I've also got two albums, both of which I want to talk about: Madvillainy and Biggie's Ready to Die. Let's do the second one first.

Ready to Die has all of the rap tropes I disparaged before in spades, but a few things that make it still worth listening to in my opinion. One, there's still a good element of production behind it, making it easier to listen and not fall asleep like I usually would (I also especially like that one of the songs is built off a sample from one that was in GTA SA). Second, much like the song Gangsta's Paradise, it's great for historical value, as a way of getting a clear, brutally honest look into the state of the supposedly-prosperous "Roaring 90s", and seeing the consequences of the previous decade - over-militarization of police, Reaganomics, the oppression of the American underclass - in full detail. Third, it's a semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical loose concept album, meaning there's something to the entire album to get your attention and keep it.

Madvillainy, on the other hand, is something straight out of what I imagine could've only been a very stoned meeting between rapper and DJ. Whereas Ready to Die is an album I can only really listen to all at once, Madvillainy has everything that I've looked for in a rap work, with strong (if off-the-wall) production/sampling and aesthetic, MF DOOM's supervillain persona making for an interesting narrator, and tight lyrical work all coming together to make an album whose individual tracks I go out of my way to replay all the time. It took quite the oddball effort, but the two madlads managed to pull it off!

I also have to give another honorable mention to my favorite rap song outside of these two albums: Scared of the Dark, which avoids some of the pitfalls I've discussed above by (other than X's clearly shoehorned posthumous verses) combining some solid, pretty emotional lyrics with a memorable sung chorus, not unlike the aforementioned Gangsta's Paradise (which, fun fact, also samples a Stevie Wonder song in my collection). Just take the unnecessary autotune off of Lil Wayne is all.

So, after all of that, you should know what clicks with my boomer-heavy music brain. I'd like to think that rap isn't a genre that I'm totally hostile to, and at worst, most of it just makes me feel... well, bored. Like I wanna yawn hard. With all of that said, what would you suggest I try listening to next, if anything? Or am I just not a guy who has enough of an acquired taste for this kind of thing? You decide!

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Beats are such an integral part of rap music.  I believe viewing it as mainly a lyrical art form is taking a look at it from a wrong angle.  Rap is probably my favorite genre of music, so I feel pretty strong about this subject.  I don't know entirely to what you've listened to, but after seeing you list albums liks Madvilliany and Ready to Die, it shows to me that you do want to really understand and appreciate this music.  If I may suggest albums, based on what you've said:  To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar is probably the best example of beats and tonal expression in modern rap music.  It is very, very heavily influenced and implements jazz into the entire album.  Not to mention the lyrics are very important tell a story through the entire album.  This is probably my mainly point of rap that I enjoy the most.  A lot of landmark rap albums, to me, tell the best stories in music.  Another good example of this is Aquamini by Outkast.  I suppose, as you say, you enjoy tonal music over lyrical importance.  So, I can understand when an album is more focused on just rapping, like Eminem or something like that.  But, a lot of rap that I focus on is very very beat heavy.  Now, I could sit here and suggest trap music.  I know that, that is not for everyone.  But if I had to suggest any trap music, Denzel Curry's TABOO is probably, objectively the best trap album ever.  My personal favorite is Die Lit by Playboi Carti, if I may also suggest.  I'd like to shift a bit of focus to my favorite rap album, and in turn my favorite studio album ever produced in general; which is Liquid Swords by GZA.  Liquid Swords to me, is everything I personally love about rap music.  It's the album, other than TPAB, that I suggest to people.  Lyrically, it has everything that makes gangsta rap perfect.  It's hard, it's aggressive, yet it's sad and has something to say.  The beats are nearly unmatched, and the sampling means something greater than most in the genre.  Now, focusing on MF DOOM, I can see where your taste lies in that.  May I suggest records like Endtroducing... by DJ Shadow (not rap but important hip hop), It Takes A Nation of a Million to Hold Us Back by Public Enemy (important early hip hop that heavily influences modern rap music),  Enter the Wu-tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan (which is an influence in major samples being used during albums, much like Madvilliany), The Cold Vein by Cannibal Ox (a contemporary piece of nerd rap that is closely related to Madvilliany), Flower Boy by Tyler, The Creator (more lyrically focused, but obviously influenced by Madvillainy), Some Rap Songs by Earl Sweatshirt (all lyrical and a lot less beats, but all together is linked to that album.  Experimental).  Experimental rap is also something I would suggest exploring like Exmilitary by Death Grips or Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Green.  I could go on and on about rap music, but I hope you can at least give some of these albums a chance.  I don't know if I could convince you or anything, I just like seeing people trying to branch out their musical taste.  So it's cool that you made a thread like this to try and reach out.

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I am also open-minded about getting into other music genres, I do admit that I can find it hard sometimes to get myself invested into a hip hop/rap album and when I enjoy a certain song from an album that I listen to, I try to keep a mental note of that for when I'm building my playlists. While I'm certain someone above me has already said this, one method I have in mind is that I'd look into instrumental hip hop acts like Flying Lotus and DJ Shadow to get something more out of the genre.  If you aim to put more effort into getting into rap and hip hop, some artists I recommend getting into if you haven't yet are Run the Jewels, Outkast, M.I.A., BROCKHAMPTON, Milo/R.A.P. Ferreira, Lupe Fiasco, and The Roots if you're looking for music that can be both fun and introspective while I recommend albums like Cosmogramma, To Pimp a Butterfly, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (or The College Dropout if I'm going with something besides an easy choice), The Score, Things Fall Apart, Purple Moonlight Pages, ATLiens (or like Aya suggested, Aquemini), We Got it From Here...(besides beng a tribute to one of the deceased members of A Tribe Called Quest, it's diverse with sounds and guest artists as well), and basically any Run the Jewels album. There's also Gorillaz to consider, even though their music is genreless. Their debut album has quite a lot of hip hop influences, so I'd get into that too if you haven't. There's more that I could name, but of course, when it comes to getting into hip hop, I still consider myself a beginner.

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8 hours ago, HawkbitAlpha said:

As I said before, I hate to harp on this theme, but in the year of our Lord 2022, we need another rap song about violence, sex, materialism, and so on about as much as we need another country song about beer, scarecrows girls, and trucks. Both of them should be legally considered a type of grain. Now, I could probably cook up some sociological hypothesis for why this kind of rap music is what makes the biggest hits (in a nutshell: its core audience is a population for whom, much like the music, the process of getting anywhere has generally been slow as well), but that doesn't mean I would start liking it regardless.

you fucking serious with this shit dude lmfao

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As someone coming from a similar kind of home (though less country-ish aside from some Kenny Chesney on my mom's side), I kinda share the same snob glasses as you. Growing up with primarily '80s and '90s music, whether it be the pop or rock of that time, it took me a few years into really getting into hip-hop. In fact, I remember the first rap music I ever liked came from (surprise surprise) Eminem.

 

I think my main issue with rap or at least the bad side of it comes from Drake more than Lil Wayne (Let's be honest. Who else on the site remembers Lil Wayne having a hit song since like 2016?). Aside from a few songs like "Take Care" or "Nice for What", most of the songs I hear from him just consist of one nonexistent beat being played under a rapper who sounds completely under interested in whatever he raps about. Not saying he's the worst but I think he's a determinant of the other artists he inspired later like Future or Desiigner or Lil Baby or literally most of the "Lil ___" artists that aren't Jon or Wayne. In fact, I'm straight up baffled about Desiigner's big hit song entitled "Panda" which....let's be honest, everyone, is not a very good song. The song is literally about Desiigner comparing his car to a panda. The "chorus" only consists of the word "panda". And it was somehow popular enough to make the Top 10 of 2016.

 

That's another trope of hip-hop I'm surprised you haven't mentioned yet. All the songs about whatever car they're driving like Bughattis, Corvettes, Porcheses, whatever fancy car they have. It's easily as annoying as hearing Jason Aldean sing about his truck, but at least he sounds more invested and interesting than any of the Drake-influenced rappers who barely sound like they care about their own songs.

 

There's also the subsection of rappers who get more fame for being scumbags like 6ix9ine and Kodak Black but I won't even begin to dignify those people as artists. I'd like to think that "TROLLZ" failing to chart was what killed off the careers of these people.

 

Of course, like other people have said above me, I do like a few rappers nowadays. Big Sean brings back the fun Ludacris side of hip-hop. Kendrick Lamar brings back an edge to hip-hop that we haven't really seen in forever. "DNA" is still one of the songs from my dated Top 50 Songs list that holds up. It's those kinds of artists that prevent me from writing off the genre, but it's definitely the dull ones that prevent me from embracing it as a whole. As someone with a moderate stance on hip-hop, I do recommend listening to those other artists people recommended above because they are more the best representation of the genre than any of the kinds I've listed above.

 

inb4 i get a condescending comment from someone who suggests i listen to rap even though i sorta do

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there's some incredibly white peeps in this thread lol

(was gonna just throw this into discord when this topic was first made but then this got way too long)

the Fat and Sassy response i have is to kind of just bluntly admit that even in genres where lyricism plays a huge role i don't get the idea that say, a waka flocka track is inherently worse than something nas made because one track doesn't take itself nearly as seriously or talking about the same topics as the other. you have the right to your opinion and whatnot but i kind of feel general assumptions of most of modern rap just being about drugs fucking and violence kind of amount to really basic accusations based on image. i'm not even really gonna go into how much mileage you can get out of these supposedly worn out topics, through like, different angles on how to approach them, points of specific interest, and so on, i just feel like boiling the genre down to that kind of indicates a lack of awareness in regards to what makes up someone's entire musical consumption. like idk man, should i just immediately discredit the entire genre of hard rock because as someone that doesn't listen to rock music much of the time i just hear most of the 70's classic rock canon being about drugs fucking and violence? 

idk i kind of feel like if you can't tell the differences between two artists based on how they sound on record (or honestly even lyricism itself in a lot of cases), that's probably a sign you don't really have much interest in the genre to begin with so of course you're gonna end up making reductive comments in regards to the whole genre lol

ok maybe i can compare and contrast the deal you have with my own general conundrum going on at the moment for the sake of clarity, because i can relate in a sense; because i've been sick with covid (i'm thankfully in the recovery period) i've been trying to knock some shit off my media bucket list in quarantine and that entails finally getting into anime (ik this will probably make me a stinky discord mod in the end and i'm sorry) (also by the chance you think this is just me stalling for length, i should remind you that there is literally a whole (not exactly lengthy but still) wikipedia article on hip hop's fascination with anime and vice versa). i only have access to what's on netflix and therefore a bunch of stuff i wanted to check out in the genre wasn't on there but even with my limited catalog there's really popular stuff on there... that i just immediately didn't consider. why i haven't gotten too deep into anime as a medium for so long mostly is because of how i've tended to immediately write off stuff like naruto or jojo or bleach or whatnot for years because of a couple factors: they tend to be based in concepts that don't initially interest me personally (mostly the medieval fantasy stuff, for kind of the same reasons that skyrim and dark souls and whatever else just lose me in comparison to the rest of the world), how samey the shows seemed at first glance (though keep in mind like i said before i haven't even watched them before lol) and i had the same impression as most of the internet seems to that the people that do watch anime like those are the scum of the earth (because fans are indeed the thing that makes the product bad, not the product itself. yes i am still living in 2016 how did you guess). (granted those shows are also ass long and i know there's guides online to help me sort out what episodes i can skip when watching a show but my autistic ass kind of demands that when i say i've seen a show in full, i've seen a show in full. but then again the show responsible for this site's creation is currently at 270 episodes as i'm writing this so there's probably a bunch of backwards examples of this i haven't realized yet) as someone who was always interested in the mythos surrounding stuff like toonami and anime cons it slowly dawned on me over the months that for the longest time my immediate shutoff of these shows basically just ended up building fences around my mind preventing me from enjoying a potential hobby

but here's the twist; one of the series i immediately shot down when i first went over the list of what they had was hunter x hunter. one day after starting my binge i randomly remembered that when i first went to college and plugged in my tv, one of the internet channels i was able to access was an all-anime channel that was playing a wide variety of shit (tho last i checked it's apparently now a rerun farm of yugioh and bakugan lmao) and it was among the shows in rotation, and i actually quite liked the show when i paid attention to it. and i would say it holds up on a rewatch session of a couple episodes! the other show of the ass-long variety i mentioned that i sat down and gave a chance in the meantime was one piece and i fell asleep midway through the second episode... but that wasn't really the show's fault as much as that's something that happens whenever i try to binge stuff. i could still tell it was a pretty good series probably worth my time if i can shift through... over a thousand episodes.... which is most definitely not happening but who knows. and to be honest, while i certainly love what i've seen of bebop, evangelion, death note... a part of me kind of views those shows as anime for those afraid of admitting to liking anime (moreso the first two i mentioned). like, in a similar way to Those People who say "i don't like rap, but that eminem boy... he's onto something". you obviously know there's more to anime than those three shows i mentioned, in the same way there's obviously much more to rap than the Fast Rappy White Guy, but because all you do is pay attention to the very surface level of what's popular, the whole medium gets judged by it's goofier elements, giving somewhat of an awkward start for those who may otherwise be into this kind of thing (although arguably the people overly devoted to the medium on my side don't help) and seeing whatever reaches a certain threshold of popularity that breaks free from that behavior makes those shows stand out all the more. again not to knock those three shows, they kick ass and are respected as they are for a reason, but it's kind of a feeling in my gut i can't help but wonder how much of their success owes to the fact that they break free of typical genre conventions so people feel more comfortable about enjoying something in a medium they consider nerdy or whatever. not gonna dwell too hard on this because you don't need another person telling you that animation isn't all for a specific group of people but even when watching them i couldn't quite shake this feeling off

Spoiler

(if anyone even cares, the only three series i've actually been able to finish so far in this journey (please do not start up like a dozen series at the same time if you're new to this medium like me!!!!! huge mistake!!!!) are pop team epic (idk if it's become embarrassing to like this or whatnot but goofy shit like this still puts a smile on my face. maybe a sign i haven't fully grown out of the early 2010's), one punch man (fun though ig i was expecting a bit more out of it; haven't even watched the second season bc netflix doesn't seem to have it (though i'm not sure how much i'm missing)) and shadow the hedgehog's personal favorite (it is the least surprising thing in the world that this is his pick. also a good reminder to one day check out dead leaves bc i think i now stan this dude))

ok i'm getting off track. but you see the point i'm trying to make where having biases that boil down to not liking things because of how you perceive them to be based off not adhering to specific artistic standards is not only really reductive but also counter-intuitive to general media enjoyment? like, ok, we all have limited brain space, i understand that we all have different ideas of what makes a piece of art good or bad, but at the same time i kind of feel like if you don't get the appeal of a certain type of art and describe it in the grain-like manner you describe (this basically goes for any equivalent of calling a piece of art "nothing", btw), i don't know why it's the art itself to blame and not personal admission that some things your specific mindset doesn't allow you to see. because i hate to break it to you, but all music is just soundwaves. it's all just soundwaves in same way that all film/tv shows are just moving pictures along with soundwaves and all paintings are just marks on a canvas and so on and so on. just cause you hold up certain values when you make judgements doesn't mean that there isn't anything to the art in question (really this is a general thing that's been on my mind that annoys me about the greater world of people critiquing shit, and i'm not even trying to really call out anyone in particular about this because i'm guilty of this myself sometimes lol). this sounds like a put down of sorts, but what i earnestly mean by that is that i do believe every piece of art has some kind of meaning, even if not universal. i guess if you take anything from this, it's that breaking away from pre-established critical conventions used to judge a certain subsection of a medium to instead create new ways of judging something based on vibe or energy or whatever else opens up surprisingly fulfilling opportunities of enjoyment out of what you come across in life. as someone who's gone to a lot of college parties where a dj's playing, to see how happy people are to hear the exact kind of music that cynical types on the internet have had me to believe is apparently indefensible is a contrast that kind of disillusioned me from said vitriolic reactions. to be upfront sometimes i really don't know why people just choose to focus in on their negative emotions when they could be digging the very tiniest bit under the mainstream to find music that they do end up liking. and personally i prefer to listen to music as escapism to begin with, so maybe focusing on different aspects of songs than i'm supposed to pay attention to according to those kinds of people isn't inherently as much of a crime as they make it out to be sometimes

then again i really don't like the idea some people have that all music needs to be judged on a literal-minded academic ass "lyrics first and foremost" scale to begin with at the expense of literally everything else the music has to offer i.e melodies, harmonics, flow, the production, etc etc (though granted not like lyrics don't matter at least a bit) to begin with but ANYWAY this is way the fuck too long. why am i still writing long after my fingers have worn out

Spoiler

the Short and Actually Helpful response i have is this (somewhat dated but w/e) flowchart that should help you figure out what it is you may like in the genre! so at least i'm giving you a head start in regards to what to look out for

Hip_Hop_Flowchart_2.0.jpg

Spoiler

addendum: the assumption that fans of any given piece of art are Not Genuine in their feelings on said art is my all time least favorite thing anyone can ever imply in a piece of writing and i'm assuming the tidbit on "why this sort of music is the most popular" isn't supposed to be that and i just initially interpreted that in a different way than intended (apologies if i am fwiw!) but i really need to get this off of my damn chest

 

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Welp. I've been putting off writing a follow-up on this thread for quite a while now, but y'know what? It's time. But before we dive in, lemme clear one thing up right from the start:

Spoiler


On 1/18/2022 at 9:51 AM, HawkbitAlpha said:

As I said before, I hate to harp on this theme, but in the year of our Lord 2022, we need another rap song about violence, sex, materialism, and so on about as much as we need another country song about beer, scarecrows girls, and trucks. Both of them should be legally considered a type of grain. Now, I could probably cook up some sociological hypothesis for why this kind of rap music is what makes the biggest hits (in a nutshell: its core audience is a population for whom, much like the music, the process of getting anywhere has generally been slow as well - EDIT: okay, that was poorly worded), but that doesn't mean I would start liking it regardless.

Alright, so, this comment. A lot of y'all took issue with this, so before we continue, I guess I need to explain some more:

I wrote this bit, as well as the whole thread, after spending a few hours with someone who had a stereo system playing an endless set of really dull trap songs like Yes Indeed, We Paid, and for some reason Gucci Gang (I'm sorry, these kinds of songs just do nothing for me), so admittedly, I came into writing this more irritated than usual. Let me make this absolutely clear, though: I don't actually care one way or another about the presence of this "trinity of rap lyric tropes" as long as the artist does something with them, even if it's just sounding good. When I complain about this, it's usually because I've heard a song that comes across as so empty to have nothing else holding it up... though, as you'll see below, my criteria for deciding on what songs I consider to be this has really fallen apart. Progress, I guess.

As for the other part, that's my politics brain speaking for ya. Especially since the post-George Floyd death protests flared up, I've constantly run into BS arguments from racist chuds about how the bad socioeconomic state of the US's black community isn't actually a product of systemic racism, but that it can all be explained away by "rap music glorifiying violence and degeneracy!" The proper response to this, of course, is to point out that music is a product of the culture that creates it, not so much the other way around. I'm simply plugging that exact same argument in here, but backwards, to get at a point. So, for example, why is materialism still a very prevalent theme in hip hop after, what, 30 years? Simple: nothing has changed for the better for the black community, the genre's core US demographic, and their socioeconomic situation, in all that time, so flexes about how you've got all this fancy shit under your belt still resonate very strongly. At least, that's my personal theory. I hope my southern-fried poindexter ass explained this better this time, and we can continue onward.

(Also, as a mostly-unrelated aside: I actually despise the aforementioned lyrical cliches of bro-country way, way more, if for no other reason than them being an extremely obvious pandering-to-the-audience shtick. That could be a whole other rant on its own though.)

Now, with all of that said, on with the post!

So, I've gotta be honest: so far, I haven't listened to any of the album recommendations y'all posted here. Not because I don't want to, but because I just have an ADHD-induced problem with sitting down and absorbing full albums of any kind (even going through Madvillainy and its string of short songs took me a while), so I tend to avoid doing so out of sheer intimidation. Still, one big thing has changed:

Throw out a lot of what I said in the first post in this thread, because even I don't really know what the hell I like anymore!

After I posted this thread, one of the later people to respond to me about it (in private) was Royalcord's own Omni. For those of you who don't know, Omni is a DJ with a background as a classical musician, and somebody whose thoughts on music I value very highly - she was the one who first got me to listen to Ready to Die, and has helped me build a whole song library to use for VCAP Aerobatics. All of this is to put some weight behind the fact that, after reading this thread, Omni came to me and, probably channeling what some of you have already stated, told me: you're doing it all wrong. That my fixation on lyrics and melody was completely missing the point. It didn't quite click until she also pointed out one fact that put it all into perspective: that I'm already a fan of ambient music, which itself is another genre that rides mainly on its production quality above eveything else. And, I'll be frank with y'all, I felt like a total dumbass for not drawing that connecting line before.

Well, there it was. A Eureka moment! Kinda. In that same conversation, now with my brain in the process of rewiring, Omni told me to go out and look at hip hop music of various styles, and see what I thought about it all. So, rather than try (and probably fail) to summarize where the hell my standards are at now, I'm simply gonna run through a short, yet still extremely unorganized list of different songs that I've heard, mostly throughout this year, that I enjoyed to some degree or another. Here goes!

  • Peek a Boo - Not a song that I'd really care to listen to again, but this was alright. Aside from the "cello" line being hilarious, the lyrics don't warrant much comment, but I mostly liked the flow of it all.
  • They Know (Dey Know) - Hell to the yeah! This one's way more my speed, especially with that horn sample beat giving the whole song a lot of pump-up energy. It's the kind of thing that could easily soundtrack a Kill Bill Vol. 1-style badass entrance scene.
  • Wicked - This was actually the song that Omni sent me to back up her hip hop and ambient analogy, and right there was when it clicked. I couldn't tell you a single lyric from this song besides the title word, but I still love it. I put it on a lot as chillout music (yep, just like that one Community Mixtape we did), and it suits that mood perfectly.
  • Mask Off - Pretty much the same comment as Wicked, but I actually can quote some of the lines in this one. Really, these two songs were what made me understand how "mumble" rap (Future's MO, really) can actually work after all.
  • Over the Top - Okay, this was just a great laugh by way of Smiley's delivery. Drake also sounds a bit more into it than I expected, which is a good addition. Pretty solid track overall.
  • Ridin' - Yes, I heard the Weird Al parody first - go figure. Yes, I love the original far more, because this song just fucking rules all around! No further comment necessary.
  • Anaconda - Think I'm kidding on this one? Well, I won't tell you I love this song, but I certainly don't get what all the hate was about! The lyrics are fucking hilarious, but even to put that aside, my only complaint is that all the build-up energy gets squandered when the Baby Got Back sample comes in for the... uh, "chorus"?
  • Zydeco Rock - It may have nothing to do with either of the genres in the title, but damn if it doesn't get my brain going! Definitely have to play this one at a party or something some time. (And it has the Cupid Shuffle guy on the chorus!)
  • Talk Shit, Get Shot - This one's obviously an Ice-T rap metal song, but I felt like including it anyway, because it goes hard as hell. I could imagine it slamming pretty heavily even with a regular 99 Problems-style rap beat behind it instead of the band. (There's also two versions of Ice-T's take on 99 Problems on this album!)
  • Bridging the Gap - The classic rock riff from I'm a Man (not Bad to the Bone, you normies!), sampled by Nas? Sign me up!
  • I Am Rock - Heard this one from the original Need For Speed Most Wanted, back when I first played that in 2020. As you might have noticed by now, I'm very fond of these jock jam types of songs, so naturally, this kind of anthemic brag track is my shit.
  • Family Ties - Back to more recent stuff. Pretty good beats (plural?!), which alone is enough to get a thumbs up on this one. Baby Keem's flow comes across as a bit goofy, but otherwise alright, and... god damn, this song is also the first time I'd ever heard Kendrick Lamar. I see why y'all love him so much, because this man is on fire in this song!
  • Greece - Another nice chillout track once you get past the trademark DJ Khaled shouting. I do wish it developed and progressed a little more though.

And, for a really obvious ending:

  • SICKO MODE - Speaking as a guy who's listened to probably far too much Dream Theater, I have to say: I FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG. It might actually be one of my favorites of any genre, to the point where I even used it over in YSFlight. I'd actually never heard it until this year (was too busy laughing at Twitter to even notice it during the 2019 Super Bowl show), but god damn, this was the one that really showed me what hip hop production was capable of pulling off.

Gotta get to all of those album recommendations soon as well! I might post another follow-up after that as well.

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if i had seen this thread in january i woulda been handing out Ls left and right to you mfs talking about rap being vocal focused like it was spoken word poetry lmao

listen to Good Kid Maad City, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and Kanye’s first 7 albums (quickly, before he says a slur or kills someone on camera or something and it becomes 100% unacceptable to listen) for a good basis of the genre

if you like rock shit, check out experimental rappers/groups like Jpegmafia, Jean Dawson, Paris Texas. tons of artists out there for you but you’re prolly not gonna consistently find what you want listening to drake lmfao.  scope in this thread limited 

edit: limited AND white

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On 11/7/2022 at 9:18 AM, Young Nug said:

listen to Good Kid Maad City, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and Kanye’s first 7 albums (quickly, before he says a slur or kills someone on camera or something and it becomes 100% unacceptable to listen) for a good basis of the genre

you have officially missed the window to do this 

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