By now you've all heard 'Death of Autotune' and whether or not you believe Jay-Z can kill the craze by his lonesome, you can't deny the record's bang-bang-bang-ness. Me, Jack, Pixel, Tego and Ben sat in Farside on Stockwell Road in January and talked about what we wanted to do this year. We kept coming back to the same point "We want to do hard shit" [pause]. I've mentioned on this site that I fucks with Tinchy Stryder, no doubt, I like him and I like his pop songs, I'm less into N-Dubz and DJ Ironik but you have to respect the way they communicate with their fans and produce hit-after-hit. The knock-on affect of those guys being as successful as they are has been that all the wannabes in the UK [NAMES GO HERE] sweetened themselves up for a Cadbury's Product launch. When "Grime" first reached the ears of the mainstream, it was in a [largely] negative context [beautiful], people were scared of these black boys scattered around London painting the City in a post millennium way nobody could ever have articulated. 'Boy In Da Corner' is and was, the best representation of teenage life in the capital, a triumph yet to be repeated. With that album came Dizzee clones [NAMES GO HERE], they came, they thinned the genre's credibility and made it hard for Dizzee's following albums to have the affect they probably deserved [I fucks with all of his albums no question]. Dizzee fights on and continues to achieve hit-after-hit with a backdrop of credibility and a body of work that nobody in the UK can ever touch [maybe The Streets' first album but that last one could have undone all that hardwork, we'll see what the next album offers].
When Kanye West dropped in '04 he changed hip-hop across the world, "The Kanye factor" probably wasn't totally evident until his '07 album 'Graduation' dropped and everybody started sampling from the same pool, wearing the same clothes and copying just about everything unique in his flow [the reason '808s and Heartbreak' was such a departure? I'd hazard a guess that maybe so]. With Kanye's success [inevitably] came a slight move to the centre in terms of aggression. Rappers started wearing Polos and Sweater Vests, they started singing on hooks and all of a sudden College was the Projects. At this point I should make it clear that I love Kanye West, 'Heartless' is my ringtone and I think he's one of the most important performers in the world today. The "Softening" of rap was not Kanye's fault, hip-hop needed him when it got him, originality is hard to come by in rap, being liberal and educated though; is not a trend. How did it become one? Because everybody wanted a bite of Kanye's apple. Three, four and five million sold is nothing to scoff at, after-all, hip-hop is run by "Entrepreneurs" and "CEOs" whose creative thought process generally works thusly "Which producer is doing the best impression of a Timbaland beat right now? How much does he charge? How much does his Mexican, non-union equivalent charge? Let's move!". The move away from confrontational rap music [three years before Kanye was the biggest rapper in the world he was producing the best beef record of all time for Jay-Z] and towards a more liberal, sensitive form of rap was not necessarily a bad one. Easier for the mainstream to consume and TV shows to licence, who knows how rap would have survived the industry recession without it? But inevitably the people grow wary. Believe it or not, 50 Cent was the only rapper in the mainstream even making an attempt to be aggressive and was wholly vilified for it during the Kanye West Soundscan war.
When Jay calls for "The mixtape Weezy" on 'DoA' he's calling for that rapper we were all amazed by once upon a time. Not the 'Let It Rock', 'Lollipop' rapper that tops the charts. Maybe I'm one of the few who actually wants to hear some well-produced, well-conceived, traditionalist, aggressive hip-hop again, but I somehow doubt it. In 2009, when Eminem's your mother's ringtone and N-Dubz are performing your Gran's birthday party, how are we letting Emo get away with being the most feared musical genre? Maybe I'm shallow, maybe I'm ignorant, but I want to get banned from the motherfucking radio like Giggs, I want to get banned from the clubs like Three 6 Mafia, I want to get banned from TV like Shabba. I don't want to force it, but for fuck sake, we're in a recession, the industry's dead and all we've got is a few autotune anthems about how "Shawty got weave" and such nonsense. I'm glad Jay's killing autotune and I'm glad he's doing it hardcore. Not for New York's sake, not for London's sake, but for disillusioned, frustrated people everywhere. We are the hip-hop generation and we're acting like we live in a Bratz DVD box-set. Fuck that.
Death of pussy rap. Moment of silence.