The Day The Music Died

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When I was a boy and all this was hills I used to go a technical college in Essex. It was a college that taught fellow chavs how to become mechanics, beauticians, electricians and, er, fine artists. The college was for those dummies that couldn’t get into the sixth form across the road and so it focused on “vocational” activities as opposed to the more cerebral pursuits over the way. As I was studying fine art I was surrounded by a better class of scumbag and one of them sticks in my mind – Steven Bent. Steve was a fat lad who was sweaty and annoying and was obviously a virgin but then so were most of us however the thing that made Bent stick in the mind was his penchant for rock and roll. He was Mr Freakin’ Rock and Roll. Every day he would dress in his Kiss/ACDC/Skid Row t-shirts with a matching bandana. I shit you not. As you can imagine me and Steve didn’t get on and we would openly sneer at each other with him in his Axl Rose waistcoat and me in my Fear of a Black Planet T-Shirt. We would exchange thinly veiled digs at each other but for me it was all too easy. What fat Steve didn’t know was that his music was dead in the water. The t-shirt he wore was celebrating some old rock dream that died many years earlier and the groups currently flogging the dead horse of poodle rock were just going through the motions so that the Steve’s of this world had something to cling to all the while throwing money at pointless merchandise and album after album. His music was corporate and endorsed by the establishment as an acceptable form of rebellion but was now dead and repetitive and predictable. In short it was dead with its soul ripped out by the man and sold back to itself.

I knew the deal because I was hip hop and my T-Shirt was sold by Def Jam which was at the time a semi-independent black owned record label. My dough went straight to the cause. I was right of course and hip hop never ceased to amaze me and I became an addict with each new release bringing with it more and more innovation and genius. It was a wonderful time and each Saturday the racks would be full with new releases as good as anything out the previous week. It was like the Beatles or James Brown were releasing albums every week such was the quality at the time. One week a Main Source album would come out the next Master Ace or a Gangstarr one. Heady times and of course it got over exposed and died over time as has been documented in better sites than this. So what we have now is a dead genre called hip hop. Arguably one of the best albums of the era was Illmatic by Nas and he has since become a legend in hip hop but an interview I read last week with him was very revealing as is the name of his new album; Hip Hop Is Dead. I think from this moment on this is the cut off point for me, when hip hop finally kicked the bucket. This album marks the end of a time in music history that lasted almost 40 years. What a time it was and the best music ever made was hip hop during the golden age. Nas now refers new music that is hip hop in style as crack music. It is rap and born from hip hop but as hip hop is now dead it needs a new name and yes, crack music will do. I like some crack music but new hip hop sucks massively and I have to turn it off. Hip hop is Paul Wall on the new record by Hulk Hogans daughter. That’s hip hop today. No, crack music is all that is currently living remotley connected to that thing called hip hop.

I was in the Bape shop the other day and these kids were dressed in baggy pants with Def Jam logos painted on. They wore “Phat” trainers and baseball caps tipped to the side. They knew not why but they knew it was a cool look. What these Chinese and Japanese kids didn’t know was that this style was dead in the water. The t-shirt they wore was celebrating some old hip hop dream that died many years earlier and the designers currently flogging the dead horse of hip hop were just going through the motions so that the kids had something to cling to all the while throwing money at pointless merchandise and album after album. Their inspiration music was corporate and endorsed by the establishment as an acceptable form of rebellion but was now dead and repetitive and predictable. In short it was dead with its soul ripped out by the man and sold back to itself.

I used to love H.E.R.

One Response to “The Day The Music Died”

  1. James Brown says:

    Godfather of Soul Singer James Brown Dead at 73

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