Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Drakeover? (Thank Me Later)

About 15 minutes after sending my friend So Far Gone. A name has been changed to protect the (semi) innocent.

Drakebasher77 (10:31:01 PM): now let me get somthing thats actually good
JayK4 (10:31:16 PM): I just sent you the best album that came out in 2009
JayK4 (10:31:33 PM): That shit is Ready to die for kids 21 and under right now
Drakebasher77 (10:37:50 PM): this shit is terrible
JayK4 (10:38:27 PM): Wow youre stupid, how many seconds have you had it for?
Drakebasher77 (10:38:44 PM): too many
JayK4 (10:39:02 PM): Do yourself a favor and listen front to back
Drakebasher77 (10:39:12 PM): i hate drake
Drakebasher77 (10:39:25 PM): his voice is mad annoying
JayK4 (10:40:27 PM): let the songs worm their way into your head, accept the fact that hes great at R&B and fuses it with Hip Hop (Sooner than Later)
JayK4 (10:40:37 PM): listen to his verse on unstoppable
JayK4 (10:41:50 PM): its a bad song but youll respect his spit
JayK4 (10:42:21 PM): and youll be able to appreciate he uses it when he wants to, but it's not just some pop minded pussy shit, a 2009 cluster fuck of styles and influence, yes wayne and kanye but much more, smoothly integrated
Drakebasher77 (10:42:42 PM): i mean ive heard all the ones on the radio already
Drakebasher77 (10:42:48 PM): theyre all garbage
JayK4 (10:43:11 PM): he covers a DJ Screw freestyle on November 18th
JayK4 (10:43:16 PM): and kills it
JayK4 (10:44:01 PM): The content is a lot of sad disillusioned shit, no album has gotten closer to explaining a rappers true fears, doubts, insecurities, issues with the lime light then this
JayK4 (10:45:23 PM): Its as close as youll get to understanding your favorite rapper
JayK4 (10:45:42 PM): because its something anyone whose been young rich and at the top of their game can relate to, balancing work and your personal life, how p**** can get old when you don't have to work for it. He was a child star, Middle class. This is rap in 2009, this is where were going
JayK4 (10:46:12 PM): and rather than rapping about shit that he used to do hes talking about whats happening right now, something Ive never heard a rapper do interestingly before this. It's always millionaire whining, boring label machinations and self indulgent navel gazing. He's not without urgency or hunger. This just works.
Drakebasher77 (10:46:55 PM): terrible

A few years ago I wrote about the alarmism in De La Soul’s polarizing Stakes Is High that opened with an anecdote taken from Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. The story concerned the war fought over “The Message”, considered a dangerous and revolutionary song that challenged the then existing notion of what Hip Hop was and threatened its doom, taking the focus off the all important DJ and placing it on the rapper. I love that anecdote because it illustrates something essential about Hip Hop that’s particular to the medium: It has died more times than any other art form, extinction all but assured by its fans and practitioners. It’s angel of death has assumed many forms. Melle Mel’s lyricism, Biggie’s amorality, Jay-Z’s materialism, Puffy’s Populism, Young Jeezy’s perceived simplicity. Rap moves quickly when it changes and takes no prisoners, leaving those unwilling to follow behind with little to hold onto but the retread of a style that has become stale overnight, no longer exciting or fresh because the crowd has moved on. The biggest story of 2009 has been the emergence of a new Phantom Menace who has mastered a style percolating in and around Hip Hop for over a decade, and now threatens to devour it whole.

Despite pretty much owning Rap this year Drake is nearly non-existent in serious critical Hip Hop circles, dismissed most often as a poser for an obvious Un Hip Hop background and most devastatingly as boring. I feel differently, and to quote the former President W. Bush I'll let history be my judge. Don't be confused alleged Populist critics with their finger on the pulse, this album, a nine month old mixtape that sold 100,000 copies in 2 weeks, is what still bumps on the radio, on the train, in the headphones of kids who carry the torch long after the curmudgeonly obscurist internet critics will hang it up and call rap dead (again). This is the future, get down or lay down.


tray said...

"and rather than rapping about shit that he used to do hes talking about whats happening right now, something Ive never heard a rapper do interestingly before this."

I think Wayne raps, and Jay rapped, an awful lot about what is/was happening right now in their lives. And often pretty interestingly too. I mean, yeah, a fair amount of what they used to do content there too, but Blueprint is, what, 80% just "I'm a rich rapper, hear me talk about my condo"?

Abe Beame said...

but Blueprint is, what, 80% just "I'm a rich rapper, hear me talk about my condo"?

And how interesting is that? My point exactly. I would argue that Blueprint is mostly reliving the hustling glory days, talking shit about money and success and the random shallow depth of "Song Cry".

For the type of introspective discussion on and around fame Drake specializes in you can check out Kingdom Come and BP3, and be bored to tears. It's a lot of cliche, none of the passion and felt disillusion present in Drake's best moments, say "Houstatlantavegas" in which he puts himself in the shoes of a young desperate hanger on.

As for Wayne, really? Do you actually understand my point at all? It's hard to tell what planet Wayne is rapping about half the time forget detailed emotive resonant verses technically proficient and on beat. It's great and without his influence Drake would be without alot of the sing songy playfulness that elevates his work but in terms of content, night and day.