Nov 11

I am writing this as a contribution to the few who read and may take something away from this. We are blessed as human beings with one unique aspect of life which is our diversity of communication. We talk, gesture, read, write, sing… you name it, we get our point across in whatever way we can. Artistically one of our most beautiful forms of expression is through vocal communication, singing, rhyming, reciting, you name it. With this we have formed hundreds of styles and forms, each to be used to express when given, and interpreted when taken. This is where it gets really interesting, music as a form has gotten even deeper in the last few centuries, that now it has become more than a pleasure for the ear, it takes form.

The artist Seal once commented that he refused to write down his lyrics because he wants the listener to interpret his songs for themselves. Whatever they hear and take from it is enough for him as an artist to get appreciation from his work, it is a beautiful thing. On the other end of the spectrum there are artists who want you to literally know every single word verbatim, because it is the words moreso than the melody that carries their message. It gets more intertwined when the music from an artist can only be truly felt when you (the listener) share a common cord with them. We’ve all heard the “you have to be smoking to understand where — is coming from” or “I grew up in — where — is from, so I feel what he’s talking about” and on, and on, and on. It sounds crazy but they are right, without that soul connection to an artist’s craft, you simply become an outsider watching from a glass exterior. It is the way I feel when I listen to some genres of music, I didn’t grow up listening to it, I never took the time to engulf myself into it, so when I hear it, I am an outsider.

Acknowledging the fact that I am an outsider to certain music genres rejects my license to pass judgement on it from a credible standpoint. Personally I keep the aspect of Jazz, Blues and Hip Hop in the same circle (this is my opinion now, go take a deep breath outside if it upsets you). This circle takes a deep, deep understanding of the sound, the musicians and the message. I hear a song, I listen to the instruments, I feel the mood and attitude behind the chords, the meaning behind the wordplay and I pull whatever appreciation I can from it, and that puts me solidly within the artist’s cypher, or realm, or circle… I become culturally spirited to the music. When you find someone truly into the culture and sound of your musical preference, you don’t even have to say much, it’s almost like the air of appreciation for it is enough… but run into someone who isn’t and you can argue for days, but why? Given my explanation, you should see why these individuals aren’t going to understand, they aren’t listening.

Now this isn’t some plea for everyone to start popping in all genres of music and forcing themself to appreciate it, NO this is simply an explanation as to why people seem so ignorant towards your music, while praising their own. As a professional I can put in a CD of the hardest most murderous lyrics and leave with something that a person who isn’t into the culture of Hip Hop would never understand. Similarly I can pop in an old Dean Martin CD and grin in appreciation of his embrace of his culture while wooing women, while someone who isnt into it will yawn and look for the door. It’s all relative to life, see the way I see it is as a cop out, even our most succesful “heroes” show this flaw daily on their public venues. It’s not just bias, I call it blind generalization, aka the easy way out. Instead of taking individuals to fault, people rather lump them into a group and easily shoot the group down. You getting me now? Rap sucks, Country sucks, Pop sucks…. blah, blah, blah. I bet any of you who are guilty of saying these things have a million answers to defend why it sucks, but listen to yourselves.

As I mature and look inwardly at the things that can make me weak, I found this issue to be one that bothered me. Awhile back Ludacris made a song called “Pimpin around the World” and reading the message boards and synopsis on this song revealed alot of people venting over everything but the song. I saw attacks on the artist for not making a happy song about Africa, I saw attacks on the word Pimp and it all made me laugh at how powerful words can be, especially when read as a title before analizing the product. Ohhh I am guilty myself, I have seen articles where the title fired me up so much I would skim the paragraphs ready to fire off some angry reply, rather than reading it through, seeing the title for what it truly is and adding something productive. With all the different genres within Hip Hop culture, and the varying artists, from the intelligent lyricists to the butt moving rythm makers, it is a wonder how I keep my cool now when I hear it all melded into negativity by even our strongest representatives (Oprah Winfrey anyone).

In closing, you may hate a music type, for me it was Country… The realization of why I hated that music type took some years into adulthood to realize, for alot of people on the opposite spectrum, they see hip-hop as old school NWA with the AK 47s and pimp mentality… whatever. I can describe musical stereotypes for hours, but you see my point, I won’t say Country sucks because I understand my dislike now, I simply say I don’t listen to it. No disrespect intended but that’s how it should be, not me using a public forum to ignorantly bash the music type because I don’t like it. Let’s grow up people, even if you have a billion dollars, we all need to check ourselves.

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