Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Old School New School

Just going to post this article I got in my email from Davey D. You can peep it here at Davey D's Hip Hop corner as well.

When does new music start being considered old school? Well if you watch BET I'd say after 3 years lol. Seriously though its crazy for me to think that BDP released Criminal Minded was released like 17 years ago or that Lovindeer was singing Doan Bend Down about 18 years ago. Whoa! Imagine that. Thats like most of the lifespan of the fans who are into Hip Hop and Dancehall right about now. No wonder kids can compare Lil Weezy in a favorable light to Rakim at Humanity Critic's Barber Shop. Ok well naa aint no excusing that unless you're a crackhead but still.

Anyway read the article, its about how kids dont really know the old hip hop and soul stuff but I think it could apply to any type of music Oh and the story about the record label person is hilarious if you know hip hop. No wonder our music is in such a state.


Somethings to Ponder: When is Old School Too Old to Play?
by Davey D

As a deejay you will inevitably have some memorable experiences that
not only shake up your world, but will also loan you keen insight into
the hearts and minds of the American public. Case in point, this past
weekend I attended the annual Hip Hop Conference at Oberlin College
which is outside of Cleveland.

For those who don't know Oberlin is a pretty progressive place
considering the town is smack dab in the middle of the mid-west and
only has 3-4 thousand people. Here you will find folks who are hip to
the latest fashions and newest music trends. This is further enhanced
by the fact that many of Oberlin's students come from places like New
York and Chicago.

It's important to paint this picture, because what I tell you next
shook my world. I was hanging out with a couple of deejays. One does
mix tapes the other is on air. The one who is on air has just started
deejaying and had expressed interest in singing. She has an
incredible voice. While eating dinner, she noted that she was not a
song writer and had been making her way by doing covers and
adaptations of popular songs. It was at that point that I suggested
to her that it would be dope if a female singer remade the Earth, Wind
& Fire classic 'Reasons'. My suggestion was met with a blank stare.

"I heard of Earth, Wind and Fire' but what song is reasons?", the
singer asked?

Knowing that she was two weeks from her 20th birthday I figured she
was trying to be funny, so I persisted with my suggestion when I
realized she honestly had no idea what I was talking about. How in
the world does some one not know the song 'Reasons'? It is considered
by many to be one of the greatest love songs of all time.

The singer noted that she never heard the song and she was up on all
her music. So imagine my surprise when our waitress who was not much
older also confessed to knowing EW&F but she too did no know the song.
The mixtape deejay who was around 23-24 and had turned me on to lots
of new music in the past, also plead ignorance to not knowing this
staple song which is heard every other hour on most adult contemporary
stations that our parents check.

Throughout the weekend I spoke to folks and asked them about some of
these 'classic' songs ranging from old James Brown to Sly Stone and
found that the groups were known but the records were unfamiliar.
What was even more eye opening was when I started naming off what I
considered classic cuts by Hip Hop artists who ruled during the so
called 'Golden Era' between 87-92.

Yes everyone heard of artists like Chill Rob G and Kool G Rap, but
when I started ringing off songs like 'Court is Now In Session' or
'Future Shock', the blank stares returned. When I went even deeper
and started naming off groups from the early Run DMC era like Divine
Sounds, Dimples D, Bad Boys, Just-Ice and even the Boogie Boys (Fly
Girl), the lack of familiarity was more then apparent.

Were these people 'not Hip Hop? Were they not true to the culture?
At first glance one would be tempted to come to that conclusion, but
the reality is they were born at a time when many of these groups were
first coming out. As the singer explained, she was born in 1986 and
really didn't become aware of the music until the early 90s. Old
school to her was early TLC (Hat 2 the Back) or Ahmad (Back in the
Days). Even Master P's Make 'Em say Uuugh is seen as an old school
classic for her

The conversations at Oberlin reminded me of another eye opener a
couple of years ago, which I thought at the time was unique. It
occurred when I spoke to a woman who worked at a record label. She
was 25. She remarked that she had heard 'her favorite song' on the
radio that took her back in days and brought back fond memories. I
asked her what was the jam and she said it was 'The Vapors'. I agreed
with her that cut was an all-time Hip Hop classic. Who could front on
'The Vapors'? The young lady asked me if the song was on the artist's
first or second album. I told her it was on his first.

She questioned that and asked if I was sure? I told her 'no doubt, I
recall clear as day when 'The Vapors' first hit'. She told me that I
might be wrong and she proceeded to check on her computer. A few
seconds later she said The Vapors was on the second album. Her quote
to me was "I knew Snoop didn't do the Vapors until his second album".

I laughed and told her. "Oh you're talking about Snoop's version of
the Vapors, I thought you were speaking about Biz Markie".

She then says to me, 'Biz Markie? The fat guy who does the song
'She's Just a Friend?. When did he do the Vapors?"

Homegirl had no idea that Snoop's version of the Vapors was a remake
of the song made famous by Biz Markie. 'Back in the Days' for her was
not during Hip Hop's famed Golden era. But she was like the folks at
Oberlin reminiscing about 93, 94, 95.

In 2005, those aforementioned years are in fact old school, cause that
was 10 years ago. I guess what was troubling was the fact that in
today's throw away culture, there are very few radio stations that
play 50 Cents and Game who will go really digging deep in the crates
to play a classic jam by Kool G Rap like 'Talk Like Sex'. The
prevailing wisdom amongst radio programmers and executives is that
those types of songs although old school are simply 'Too Old to Play.
Why play a song by Public Enemy or X-Clan that's damn near 15 years
old when the audience they are shooting for is 20-24?

There used to be a time when radio was such that everybody both young
and old listened to the same stations. Hence it was inevitable-you
were going to hear songs that your parents considered the bomb and
they would forever be lodged in your memory. So I grew up hearing
James Brown, Sly Stone, Teddy Pendergrass, Barry White and Lou Rawls.

As for my 'singer' friend, she grew up having a radio station that was
only directed to her and she had a walkman so she could peep it day in
and day out in private and avoid having to hear her parents
complaining about not liking all that TLC or Bel Biv Devoe. Unless
the radio stations or MTV were going to play some of what I considered
old school classic cuts or her parents were insistent that she get a
music education and forced her to peep what they grew up on then what
I experienced at Oberlin would be the norm.

It's hard to believe that in 2005 that artists like Steady B, Hashim,
or Three Times Dope are as ancient and foreign to today's 20 year old
as was artists like Joe Tex, Cannonball Aderly or Shorty Long was to
me when I was 20 years old.

My singer friend was like one or two years old when Public Enemy said
they wanted to 'Bum Rush the Show' and EPMD told us 'We Gots to
Chill'. She never knew a time when Hip Hop wasn't on the radio. And
she barely recalls the days when MTV had Yo MTV Raps. She was born
after movies like 'Beat Street', 'Krush Groove' and Wild Style. Her
awareness of Hip Hop came about when it was a full fledged commodity
controlled and ultimately redefined by corporate interests who only
cared about a Kool G Rap or Big Daddy Kane if the were helping make
the bottom line. And that bottom line had best be on par with the
bottom line being netted by artists like Lil Jon or Kanye West.

Is there a solution to all this? I will have to think about it. What
I do know is that at 31 years old Hip Hop is all grown up now and now
has kids of its own.And like most kids they aren't really checking for
their parent's styles and tastes. They got their own thing going on.
Some of y'all reading this may be laughing to yourself and saying
what's the big deal, but mark my words 5 years from now y'all be
writing a similar essay wondering why people are giving you blank
stares when you ask about classic jams like Lil Jon's 'Get Low',
Jay-Z's 'Big Pimpin' or Usher's 'Yeah'.

Now that's something to Ponder about..


Campfyah said...

Nice post. I'll actually relay the article to my son, who is the new generation of Hip Hop. I wonder if he knows who EW&F are, I'll ask.

As for me, I'm too old too know much about Hip Hop, it came at a point in my life when I was too busy reconnecting to my Caribbean heritage and only listened to Reggae and Calypso.

Anonymous said...

Well, I know EW & F, but most of dem other names you calling is Greek to me....clearly I not with it. Cho, whatever. Dr. D.

Lene said...

I know about EWF and that dude's high falsetto when he sings that "September" song. That's because that was all I heard when I was growing up, and I never heard current pop music until I was 12. But classic hip hop for me is the early 90s, but I can still wop it out to Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh.

Sunshine said...

Hi Jdid-I'm very impressed you know you music hip hop and ole school history and I'm sure the rest of the other music genres. Who doesn't know REasons! That's a classic! No matter how young one is - if you're going into the music biz, please E, W & F is compulsory listening. Have a great day.

Nikki said...

This new generation of kids are just lost. They don't know a damn thing. And I don't just mean music. When I was younger, I took the time to read the liner notes of parents albums. Many kids today aren't exposed to classic soul, rock, jazz, etc.

Big N said...

How the hell am I supposed to know Earth Wind and Fire songs? My parents aren't black. And I know every single rapper that was mentioned.

Lene said...

^^^ you need to stop with the jokes.. hahahahahaha

Campfyah said...

Big N..what does your parents not being black have to do with you knowing EW&F songs? My parents aren't white and I know Elvis songs or songs by Elton John and Kiss etc.

Big N said...

^^ True, but those guys are known by everyone on the planet. The only black person my parents listened to was Michael Jackson, and I know his songs for that reason only. No Parliament Funkadelic, no Temptations, no Gloria Gaynor, no Aretha Franklin, no Marvin Gay, no Barry White, no Patti LaBelle... I feel handicapped.