Music=art, Hip-hop isn’t art, Hip-hop isn’t music

Please excuse the tone if it comes off as a wee-bit negative, but I’m not in the best of moods right now.

I’d post this on the boards as a reply to someone, but then I’d probably just limit myself to a certain manner of speaking because I wouldn’t want the thread to turn into my attack against hip-hop.

I don’t truly believe Prince ever incorporated it into his music other than the song “Dead on it,” which was his own little attack on the genre. Whatever genre Jughead, Arrogance, The Flow and the majority of NewPower Soul falls under, I don’t recognize it as hip-hop, but I know that it is something that is not typical of Prince, or is the way I perceive.
I turned to him to get AWAY from hip-hop. There’s no way I’m going to believe that he’s encorporated something into his music I’ve fought to keep away from.

My basic life story in music is this:
After returning to mainstream radio after the last of my boybands disbanded, I came back to a world I didn’t recognize. Perhaps I had been away for too long. I’m not sure if it had been something that had been going on for a while because it’s hard to believe that between fall of 2001 and 2002, the mainstream world suddenly adopted hip-hop as its main genre. Either way, I come back, and there are virtually no artists that I can relate to on the same level as what I left behind. If anything, I experimented with a couple of artists and started adopting my own musical identity.

Then another harsh reality came and I’m still dealing with it in those artists I took a chance on: people in the business are changing all the time. Their styles change and get to a point where I’m not able to continue following.
Given Michelle Branch for example. In 10th grade, she was a huge inspiration for me. Her music helped me through a few rough times, knew how to make me smile and helped me relate music to my own life. A majority of her music, in fact, ended up on a couple of mixes I burned that year. One was for music of the year that had played some role. Another was a soundtrack for a novel I had written and the music just seemed to coincide/semi-inspire the main character. Then when her next album comes out, the connection is no longer there. She adopts more genres. Country is not  my favorite, but after she took it to heart, it couldn’t follow. I have nothing against country, but I found it overall boring. It didn’t stir my soul the same way.

Different artists I’ve checked out in the recent decade included Michelle, Plus One, Ashlee Simpson, Ryan Cabrera, Stacie Orrico, Lindsay Lohan, The Click Five and probably a few others I forgot. Actually, in a lot of cases, it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t follow that artist to the next project. Ashlee Simpson, I’ve barely listened to her 2nd album, but my excuse is that I’m too busy to do so. One day, I will get around to it, because I connected with that music. Ryan Cabrera, somewhat different story. I have nothing against his 2nd album. In fact, I like his new album. The fact I don’t listen to it anymore… I think I might relate it to a time of my life when I wasn’t in the best state of mind. Music tends to remind me of what I was going through while listening.

Music is like a messenger that carries memories of the past and present with it.
Hopefully one day, I’ll be able to return to Ryan’s music. I haven’t given up on him just yet.

Stacie Orrico, I liked a couple of songs on the album, but it didn’t stick out in my mind. I ended up selling that album along with Michelle’s 2nd.
Lindsay Lohan, although her life may be a mess right now,  her music has withstood all the “tests” that the others have gone through. I’ll be hanging on stand-by just in case she comes back with a new album.
Plus One had a little genre change, which was good to a certain degree. From Christian to pop/rock. I’m not hugely into Christian music, but they made it work for me. And the 2nd album is full of bad memories.

The Click Five was a stand-out example where the group had gone in a direction that I couldn’t follow. Truth be told, when I was listening through their 2nd album intently, that was the worst week of my life. The whole matter was very depressing and on top of losing the Internet around that time, I wasn’t in the best of sorts.
That ended up in one of those instances where Prince’s music kept me sane, for which I remain grateful.

So I am back to Prince. The music on the radio these days isn’t all that great, but last I checked, it was actually getting better. I upgraded my notion that 15% is what music is all about, what true music sounds like and the rest is garbage that barely deserves to be called music.

It goes like this: I see music as an art… Hip-hop is NOT art, therefore hip-hop isn’t music. I had this belief that there was something wrong with hip-hop because no matter what everyone else thought, I couldn’t conform to it. I refused. And perhaps I developed more of a hatred for it because when I was having driving lessons, Q102 was always playing garbage and I had to endure the likes of that and prepackaged pop (“Doncha” from the Pussycat Dolls was way too common).
You gotta understand that this goes back before Prince was ever a thought on my mind. I come back to mainstream to find it in ruins basically and since music has been a huge part of my life, I struggled to find my identity within it with very little success.

The whole music=art idea didn’t come about until I saw what Prince could do. I saw how music means even more to the artists (or is meant to) before they were ever released to the public. Art is a way of self-expression. Music requires melodies & lyrics that correspond to the thoughts of an artist who, in turn, appreciates the craftsmanship of the music.

What art is may be subjective, but God knows I try to work my way around any argument that says that hip-hop is an artform and is therefore music.

Besides, if any, hip-hop was a very tiny part of Prince’s musical reporteire, so why should I really worry about it? I’m not going to associate myself with any more 90’s albums that devy from that same genre and there are very few tracks as it is that might fall under the category. That’s what the skip button is for. NewPower Soul might be the only mistake I ever purchased, though technically, its not a Prince album. It’s an NPG album where he just reassumes the duty of lead singer. As a whole, I think it is a mistake, but just for the likes of “The One,” it was worth the cash.

I’ve been avoiding the 90’s for a long time now because the 80’s are just so great. I can’t deny that I love the 80’s, not just Prince, but the whole sound of the 80’s. I’m really going to miss that. I think I may have even developed some predjuices against the 90’s because of the little things like hip-hop that keep me from enjoying albums as wholes. If anything, I’ll have to refresh in my mind just what the 80’s represent before moving forward. Then I can start making all the connections I generally do about Prince.

And after walking away from the computer, I felt my anger towards hip-hop raising up again. It’s not something that can be resolved through words. I’ll still feel this way about hip-hop and probably always will.

What I forgot to mention is this: I eventually took to believing some of his Prince’s thoughts on music and adopted them as my own. One of them is a reason why I dislike hip-hop, it’s not made up of instruments and actual singers. And today’s music is lacking because it has moved away from the fundamentals.

In some twisted way, I should be grateful to hip-hop for making me search for my musical identity other than what’s popular AND it eventually led me to Prince, didn’t it? As grateful as I should be, I can’t be. It’s something just so complicated and perhaps irrational (as much as the genre itself) that I can’t sort it out in just one post.

Okay, so I have an irrational hatred of hip-hop that I really can’t explain to anyone unless you knew me growing up. And if I was this open in the face 2 face as I am in my blog. If something like this were bothering me, you wouldn’t know it unless I wrote about it. Ironically, another thing Prince and I have in common: we’re not open with our emotions unless we’re writing it down.

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