As a curator of context in today’s Rap music and Hip Hop landscape it is my job to try and stay on top of certain things and then sometimes it’s my job to see what lies between the lines or even bridge the gap between two things that some may think have nothing to do with the culture of Hip Hop or Rap music. So yesterday I was watching “First We Feast” with guest, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. For those that haven’t heard of the show it encompasses an interview with Complex’s Sean Evans where the host and the guest eat chicken wings that get spicier as the interview goes on. The thing that grabbed me the most during his interview is how he discussed the senses; touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. The Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City indicated that we expose our senses to different levels of satisfaction which also includes, music. Although music is subjective meaning there is no right or wrong answer just your opinion what I got from it is that we all have different levels of taste when it comes to music. Simply put some people have bad taste in music because they’ve never heard great music and vice versa.
For instance I remember when Future first came on the scene, I couldn’t get with Karate Chop. Being born in the early eighties afforded me the luxury of hearing Hip Hop music in its purist form. As a lover of instrumentation with a father who categorizes his Jazz albums by instrument I just couldn’t connect. Some people’s taste level for sound or music is so “exquisite” that they frown upon and demean other types of music which is what some people from my generation and those before us have been doing. I even do it from time to time but in this culture there has to be a set standard. On the other hand you have listeners who don’t listen to Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole because they listen to 21 Savage or Uzi Vert. If you only expose your ears to singers who sing off key you won’t know how to listen to Jasmine Sullivan or Jill Scott. Some would say Rappers make low-quality sounds while Emcees make high-quality sounds. Even though the Rapper is not the producer why do you think there is so much emphasis on a “vibe” these days?
Some say it’s not about the words or who wrote the rhymes but the vibe or how the song makes you feel. Those same people will tell you that they can’t listen to J. Cole because he’s too sad or depressing. Oh, I didn’t know you were happy all the time every day of your life because I’m not! Show me how you achieve this by listening to Rap music that tells you to pop pills and drink potent potions. When a Rapper and a producer email each other back and forth or an Emcee or a Dee Jay go into the studio they are trying to make the best sound that appeals to the senses of the listener. If everyone has varying tastes in music how come I still feel like we aren’t getting better quality music? What is or who is the problem? We should be curating the sound of Hip Hop Culture. There is no universal sound for Hip Hop or Rap music because the sounds are influenced by other genres of music depending where on planet Earth you are. Rapper, Emcees, producers, Dee Jays, and listeners the next time you find yourself pressing play ask yourself does this sound make sense?