Modern Technology Vs Old School Hip Hop Skill
Posted on April 9, 2007 by Jamie Slaughter
To some of the young ones out there, hip hop is about the sweet toys and how much technology you can pack into a studio. To the older, or more well-versed, its about the essentials and emotion; two turn tables, a mic and vocals timed out to precision. It's a debate in the hip hop community right now, and I've seen it get pretty heated more than once..whether the accessories make the music better; or does the music stays the same, and the all the accessories just make it all the more easier to compose better tracks?
In place of two turntables, we got accessories for the accessories now.
Stuff like 24-track Recorders, 36-channel Console with Automated DAT recorders and ADS hard disks, mach synchronizers, automated faders, audio monitors and monitoring systems (to monitor the monitors), MPC's, and APC's and the list just goes on. In the place of one mic, we got drum, instrument and vocal condenser boundary mics, shock mounts, sequencers, sample editors and blah blah blah..Im not complaining. I know good hip-hop, and some of the best stuff's come out in the last 10 years, hands down. Its mind-blowing how creative and revolutionary some of the stuff is. It's even getting to the point where its setting the bar and laying the groundwork for the generation of hip-hoppers to come. But only some of it. 20 years ago, there were MC's that didn't have the benefit of footsteps to follow, and had to make it on their own in an unwelcoming musical world that felt that without harmonics, rapping was just poetry to a beat. Remember, when hip-hop first came out, it wasnt about the fully loaded gats packed in the back of jet black caddilacs and which label signs the dopest rapper. Rap didn't sell. Its popularity was limited to local clubs and block parties that spun an LP for fun. Grandmaster flash didnt have an APC, Kool Herc used one mic for drums and vocals, and Grandwiz Theodore made his own samples. But they were still visionaries that revolutionized the music industry, whether they knew it or not.
Although the beats and lyrics don't hold a candle to the ultra-modern beats and super-lyricists writing verses for the electronically modified, custom fitted hip hop vocalists; you still have to admire the time and effort that went into the tracks before Ice-T and NWA and the gangsta rap era that became so phenominally popular. There was a certain raw talent that the pioneers of hip-hop possessed that would almost definately garuntee them 'God MC' status if they jumped 20 into the future and applied the modern technology we got at our fingertips to their skills.
On the other hand, if someone like Jay-Z were to go 20 years into the past and try doing his whole 'spittin-unwrittin verses unrehearsed' skit to a looped snare, I think that he would most definately be laughed off of stage.
I'm not saying Jay-Z relies very heavily on phat beats by Young Guru, Kareem, Pharrell and Timbaland to make his 'style' sound almost palatable.
I never said that he lacks any talent on the mic in any way, shape or form..So don't get the wrong message. Jay-Z definately does call himself 'God MC' and I also agree with the fact that he puts himself in the same ranks as BIG, (yeah, he went to the same school, and had some track produced by puffy, but that dont make him any better, it just makes him SOUND better)and I would most definately agree that he's in his late 30's, and has come out of retirement twice already..(for the love of hip-hop? i dont think so, bro! or he wouldnt have retired in the first place, its for the money!)
Just because I say that Im a stuffed potato, does that mean you should sprinkle bacon bits on me and try to eat me? So dont misunderstand what I'm saying. We all got our opinions, and I'm just saying that it's easier to call yourself an MC when you got modern technology to fall back on, and alot of the artists that we find in mainstream hip-hop today call themselves MC's without realizing exactly what kind of company that they're placing themselves with: Real talent. Revolutionaires. Pioneers. People that deserve their reps and the props they get, and not the carbon copy MC's that give themselves props once every 4 beats..I'm not naming any names, I'm just making an observation.
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