Monday, April 21, 2014

Radical Revisions and Adaptions

Like many other forms of musical and artistic expression, hip-hop is a culture that is devoted to the re-mix. Songs and other productions are often re-worked  Whether it's as simple as a few artists rapping over the beat of a song that was already released, like "YG's My Nigga (Remix)" or as genre-bending as nu-jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD reworking Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" re-mixing and re-imgaining is near to heart of hip-hop, the genre itself having been created when DJ's began mixing old funk and R&B records in new and exciting ways. But how closely related are these remixes and re-imaginings related to the original work? The most widely heard version of Dr. Dre and Tupac's hit California Love is the following one with the accompanying video but the remix version features a drastically different beat with the same lyrics Why would Tupac and Dr. Dre choose to change much of the original song's vibe while let the lyrics remain intact? And how do the two versions relate? Is there a California Love for a different mood now or do Dre and Pac want us to especially focus on the lyrics? And what does the word remix mean? Here it means that the instrumental has been changed but more recently in hip-hop remix is taken to mean there will be new words over a beat you've heard before. And what does that make a cypher? And how original is the original? Beats for hip-hop songs are often made from samples of other songs, does this mean they are not entirely original? What is original? Must a producer create every single sound heard on a record for it to be truly original? I don't have any answers man who knows just listen to the music maybe ask Sway I heard he got the answers ~

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Women in Hip-Hop: She Did What?!?!?!

For years now, women-especially African-American women, have had a HUGE impact in Hip-Hop whether it's from the lyrics or in the music videos. Controversy of belittling women in Hip-Hop have skyrocketed when the terms like "Bitch" and "Hoe" came into play.

There used to be a time when women were looked up to by rappers, they were glorified. Females barely showed skin and lyrics were about fantasies and admiration of females. These were the times where women were at their peak. Beauty was emphasized not only by looks, but also personality. One example of this kind of uplifting music is LL Cool J's "Around the Way Girl" music video.

Yes, you see women "dirty dancing" in the video, but listen to the context. It is a rather uplifting song and women are dancing along, more-so agreeing to the rhymes and the lyrics. The video also shows the women's outer appearance, her "everyday self" indicating that women are not all about sex.

When women became more prevalent in music videos, they added the aspect of "dirty dancing" "booty shaking" and other moves. This became more common, but frowned upon as well.


This is a video from the 90's Soul Train Show

Soul Train was a famous television show that showcased new fashion and danced moves of that era.

This type of video is what women used to be seen as. Then after a while, when Hip-Hop became Gangster Rap and women turned into the stereotype of a Hoe, perspectives changed. Women were portrayed this way in music videos. In the early 2000's Nelly came out with the video "Tip Drill" which only aired on BET's Uncut hour because of its explicit actions.

Hip-Hop has been frowned upon by women when such lyrics have been made about them, saying that rappers in Hip-Hop mistreat the women that birthed them.

But I don't understand! Why do women have such a problem with Hip-Hop when women THEMSELVES portray that image on t.v.?
Yes, any director will tell you to shake your ass but I thought we lived in America-the land of the free?

Women have every right to say no to certain things, but why not say no to certain images that will reflect oneself?

A huge example from the Hip-Hop World is Karrine Stephens. Stephens is a well known Hip-Hop video model who has changed the game of women in music videos. She gained a very nasty name for herself and was happy just to have her name in the media, no matter if it was good or bad.

Once praising the name "Super Head", she now despise it and hates when people calls her it now.I guess Ms. Stephens got tired of this name because she made a "tell-all" book to get back at those who "mistreated" her character. "Confession of a Video Vixen" made headlines in the media but even though she uses this book to get back at rappers, it shows proof of how nasty she really was and how she mistreated HERSELF, which made the situation worse in my opinion.
I used to pity women in Hip-Hop being that I am African-American and these video "models" set a stereotype of myself, but I came to realize that they are human, they are going to do whatever they want for the attention that come with it. I just disagree on women bashing rappers for portraying them that way. Is it REALLY the men demising women in Hip-Hop, or do the women set the tone for themselves? 

Until women as a whole get their act together, rapper's will continue to want "Big Booty Hoe's" for their birthday.

Women In Hip Hop : Game Changer

Female rappers like MC Lyte ,Queen Latifah and Lauryn Hill paved the way for many modern day women rappers today such as Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, and Trina to be included in Hip Hop. MC Lyte was the first solo female rapper to release a full album. In 2006 she was the first woman to be nominated for a Grammy  due to her classic anthem "Ruffneck"  ( With great rhymes she deliver lyrics in a females perspective representing her gender, showing women that they can also be talented on the mic just like or even better than men.

Since the early days Hip-Hop has always been a male-dominated genre. Before women made there debut in hip-hop , their only involvement was the way men used them in their songs as an object or representation of their success. Based on certain songs if men had lots of women on their arm, they were praised , they were "winning". Their level of masculinity increase rapidly when they rapped about having a lot of women .
 Now Women have proven that they are more than that and they can also be referred to as great rappers . I think it is a big deal that the same men that excluded women in Hip-Hop back then,  seem to respect women talent on the mic way more now. If you look below many hip-hop groups dominated by men is now accompanied by a female rapper.

YMCMB: Nicki Minaj
 Nicki Minaj has a fast flow style of rap. Within her music she juggles the New York and Carribean sound, adding a monster voice sometimes to emphasize her lyrics.
"Im not someone who got signed to a record label who said ‘hey maybe you should do weird voices.’ No. this is all years of me learning me and my style, and decide to do something different that would get everyone’s attention." - Nicki Minaj 

The Fugees: Female Rapper - Lauryn Hill 
Lauryn Hill is my favorite among all the female rappers listed. She raps politically, and I'm a fan of conscious rap. Her sound comes off as  poetic .
     "Well, music is my first love." And I just stumbled -- I know when I tell you I stumbled upon all this, actually I didn't stumble, because there are no accidents. But I didn't have that intense ambition to be a musician or an actress. I just enjoyed it, and if there was an opportunity, hey, I'll go. And by enjoying it, because I loved it, it enabled me to get better at what I was doing, because there was a love behind it. It wasn't like, "I've got to do this." It wasn't just naked ambition" -Lauryn Hill

Terror Squad:  Remy Ma

Disturbing the Peace:  Shawna
Slip N Slide:  Trina       (YMCMB)  (The Fugees)         (Terror Squad)       (Slip N Slide)       (DTP)