Friday, August 29, 2008

New Thing #231--Rhythmic

In response to a comment about rap music I left on South City Confidential a while back, I got this e-mail:
"If you want to ease into good hip hop, try Common or Lupe Fiasco."
I know nothing about this music style; except for thing that have crossed over to mainstream radio I've never really been exposed to it. I took Kelli's suggestion and it helped me with today's Thing. Today I listened to a rap album all the way through.

I went to the library Website and searched for Common. There were several CDs available; I chose "Thisisme Then: The Best of Common" and requested it. When I picked it up today, the librarian pulled it off the shelf, looked at me and then at the Parental Advisory sticker on the cover and joked that she certainly didn't need to check my ID to see if I was old enough! I guess she doesn't see many middle-aged white ladies checking out rap music.

I came home, put the disc in the player, and started reading the liner notes. The compilation draws from Common's first three albums, released between 1992 and 1997. I have to say that on first listen, none of the songs did much for me, although I did see differences between the early songs (that had sing-songy lyrics with lots of pop culture allusions) and the later ones that were more lyrical and had more grown-up themes. The second time around a couple of the songs were a bit better; if I gave the CD multiple listenings I bet it would grow on me.

However, I still have a problem with the nasty language that rappers feel compelled to use, and I don't think I'm ready to set up a Rap section in my music collection.


  1. Yeah, the language gets to me, too...as well as the message in many that I've heard. Of course, this is admittedly a very small sampling.

  2. I'm glad you chose Common to introduce yourself to hip hop. That is a good choice. He actually tells stories and talks about real issues. Unlike some of the newer artists who mostly rap about their money and their women or doing bodily harm to someone in their neighborhood.

  3. Last night on The Colbert Report his guest was John McWhorter, a commentator type person who has most recently written a book called All About The Beat: Why Hip Hop Can't Save Black America. He's suggesting that even conscious hip hop/rap isn't doing any good. It was really interesting...[though personally I don't feel that music is obligated to do any sort of good]...

    And I'm saying this as someone who listened to almost nothing but rap from 1992 to 1997 [and yes, the filthy stuff].

  4. When riding in the car, I am "forced" (LOL) to listen to Z107 and there is a lot of rap on there - nothing too hard core - but rap nonetheless. The bad words are bleeped out, but you can still figure out what they're saying. If you REALLY want a shock, go to iTunes and listen to the unedited versions. OMG. Everything is "F" this and "F" that.

    ... and if you really want to live on the edge, google the song lyrics and actually read them. Most likely (if you're like me) you will then have to go to Urban Dictionary and find out what some of the words mean.

    That's how I found out what a "Superman" is. I won't explain it here, but go to Urban Dictionary and look it up *blush*

  5. Way to branch out! Common is one of my favorites and I applaud you for making it through the entire disc. Too bad the music has turned so much...a lot of poor influences and messages.