Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Bar is high for a Reason

Last night at Club Providence in NYC, I had a musical discussion with Connecticut's Dj Genius about the state of the business and the quality of currently hyped artists. It was basically a solid follow up the points made in a similar convo I had last month.

In late July I was invited to a BBQ thrown by Digiwaxx Media in Mt. Vernon, NY. I met my friend K there who’s a talent manager(among many things) out of CT and the person who invited me in the first place. She introduced me to her connects in the spot and all was lovely. Good food and drink along with observation of the crowd inspired much conversation.

Among a group of that included promotional people, dj’s, artists and producers, we went in on fashion trends like the skinny jeans (the ladies don’t approve guys), autotune, proper stage presence and more. The main topic that really brought out everyone’s passion for this music and culture was the overall difference between today’s artist and the artists of our generation, the 90’s. There were those in 100% support of today’s music scene, those in stark opposition and thus within the gray area. While giving full respect for his accomplishments both as a writer and actor, Drake, or at least the current manifestation of Drake was genuinely raked over the coals for having a severe lack of personality. While he does well at mimicking the styles of a Kanye, Wayne or Andre 3000, he doesn’t have the charisma, charm or presence of any of them. Adding the “Fail” that was his lead video for “Best I ever had” and it was agreed upon that his buzz is fading fast.

But at least Drake is getting face time and capitalizing off of his Young Money affiliation. We all found ourselves at a loss trying to find out what a Kid Cudi is. Outside of a few songs, his digitally created career has left many fans and industry insiders alike searching for his story. What is it that makes us want to listen to you? As I said to the collective, “We respect the talents of all these artists, but understand the time frame we came from. The bar is set very high and a lot of y’all have yet to even approach it.”

Let me describe the bar for you. The almost manic passion of DMX, the poetic force of Nasty Nas, the Inhuman Lyricism of Big Punisher, the refreshing originality of Wu Tang, EPMD, Brand Nubian, Ice Cube, Dungeon Family, etc….. The list goes on and on for a era of solid music. Not only due to there talents but the humble paths they took to get there. Maybe it’s just too early to judge and the truth is that a new lane is being created not to be compared to those before? Or maybe I’m trying to be less pessimistic……


K. Michel said...

I don't mind Drake too much because he has that potential to be a great lyricist. With the right mentors, he could go far.

Kid Cudi though, he's a fad... a trend. I can't for the life of me see what's so great about him. He lacks so much emotion (like you mentioned in the article).

The last time I felt emotion in a hip-hop single was "Jesus Walks" fact, when I saw the "Through The Wire" video for the first time, I had SERIOUS chills.

I don't get that anymore with this generation.

Anonymous said...

I share your sentiments on the "new school" but, I'm sure cats was feeling the same way once NAS, BIG, JAY came on the scene..because that immediately meant the end of the humpty dance afro-centric "happy go lucky" era lol
Music then became very dark, truthful and raw. It took awhile for everyone to catch up to because of the authenticity then when artists started making real money off of their stories..we started to get into some wierd jiggy pop phase and that takes us too today where I dont know wtf has happened. You probably already know how i feel about Drake, swagg kidz and all of dem but i mean I've just learned to let it be..and I continue to support artists who i feel make music that i love...I'm anticpating Raekwon's new album..want to see what he has to say...then after that I give up..I'll bump the ole 90's to the grave...
I think the only new music that I believe will never lose its edge is neo-soul..I'll stick to that and let the kids have their fun ;)

Jay1 said...

i think kid cudi is ok. i was completely indifferent to him until yesterday, i read the story about him in complex so i finally got to "learn" about him.

apparently dude moved from cleveland to the bronx in 2004 with 500 bucks and somehow ended up writing almost half of 808's and heartbreak.

like, he's that good of a songwriter apparently. i'm reserving full judgment on cudi but for now i can go on record as saying i respect him and i don't think he's gonna be just a fad.

drake is sick lyrically too.

i don't know what's gonna happen to him though.

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