Tonight I was driving home from tennis and listening to 3D Radio’s hip hop show, Premium Blend. The three songs that accompanied me on the journey had great music, a nice rhythm and well delivered vocals. If I wasn’t actually listening to the lyrics I would have really enjoyed them.
I like hip-hop music. I don’t like hip-hop culture. Why? Most MCs live in a self-referential world. Their lyrics can usually be boiled down to the following:
- I am awesome
- Other MCs suck
- Name drop Grandmaster Flash / Run DMC
- Did I mention that I am awesome?
I am sick to death of MCs rapping about themselves and their own culture. It’s nihilistic and, dare I say it, inbred. The greatest lyricists are the ones who can both be clever and identify with their audience. I hate to break it to you, but most of us out there aren’t MCs, DJs producers or breakdancers. We are people dammit! Hearing you rap about hip-hop is about as interesting as hearing you rap about about accounting.
Some might argue that they are identifying with their target audience, because their target audience is people immersed in hip-hop culture. It’s a fair point. I myself listen to MC Frontalot quite a bit because he targets a culture I am part of – geekdom. So I can give the poor MCs a bit of leeway in that regard. The thing I can not stomach is when MCs repeatedly drop their own name in their songs. In no other art form is this hubris tolerated. Frontalot is guilty of this too, even if his tongue is firmly in his cheek:
MC frontalot is not installed
so don’t call 800-FRONT4ALL
off the ball of wax, to rock the rough tracks
thumbtacks all up in the mix so relax
I hacks a beat together like a slasher rampage
mc frontalot is inundated by the rhythm arrays
some days I brag some days I boast
24/7 I front the most
you wouldn’t think that I would front
most days do nothing but
sit around dropping the lyrics into the drum cuts
buts, ands, ors, I hear naysay
don’t play! mc front’ll get offended, go away
hey now, there’s no need to be real
honk honking on the sample like a trained m-seal
we all seek a second steppin from the post
24/7 I front, I front the most
Ridiculous, isn’t it?
Ugh, just got back from the macromantics gig. I can’t believe she actually dropped the lyric “You are wack, I am dope”. Of course there was also the obligatory self-references – she even felt the need to spell out her stage name letter by letter just in case we didn’t get it the first time. Or the fortieth. Fortunately there were no Grandmaster Flash / Run DMC references, but then again we did leave half way through…