Remember in my first blog when I said I'd try to express my opinions without getting beat up by some gangster rapper I might run into someday? Well now I'm gonna try and do that without getting beat up by some Hipster rapper that I def will, and HAVE, run into. I know some of y'all are waaaay more hood than hipster and are just trying to get paid, but if any of you all have a problem with my words it's not Creative Loafing, crib notes, Godney Starmichael, RAD BADFORD, Supreeme, or any of them. It's me and my rants again. And white people, I know you're really sensitive about race these days...so this one's not about race or gender or sex....Its just about music!!!
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: HIPSTER HOP, THE SUB-GENRE THAT I'M NOT SURE EXISTS
Being a skinny rapper who isn't "socially conscious" or dealing coke on record (in real life I'm a Huey P. Newton idolizing Tony Montana), I had a deep seated fear of being lumped into what is now called Hipster Hop. It seems as if anyone whose clothing fits and doesn't rap about the struggle or the hustle gets lumped into that scategory. For those of you who don't know, the term hipster no longer only applies to white kids who did psychedelic drugs and listened to Miles Davis. Now it applies to Filipino dudes in exclusive Japanese tees and sneakers, cokehead art student chix who only like "dance music" (cocaine robot remixes), gender ambiguous dudes with fancy haircuts and American Apparel shirts, weird black guys with messy perms who AREN'T hairdressers, and pretty much most people @ DSC, Sloppy blah, Cinespace (LA), Silent Barn (NYC), Sway (NYC), Broke n...Bang Bang blah blah blah.
The term is used almost haphazardly to describe people who often don't have that much in common. A wave of rappers are coming out of this 238 BPM fashion-cocaine-Macbook-Japan-MySpace-based miniverse who are being called Hipster Hop. My friends and I debate if this subgenre has any signifying sonic markers. I am going to attempt to pinpoint what separates hipster hop from the rest of rap.
DISTORTED DANCE MUSIC SYNTHS
Gritty dance music synths used in a barely melodic fashion that one might hear in a eurotrash club or gay bar or S&M party.
MATERIALISM THAT DOESNT QUITE REACH THE LEVEL OF DIAMONDS AND BENTLEYS
The lyrics will often obsess over exclusive japanese toys, iPods, expensive blue jeans, sneakers, rare t-shirts and nice bicycles. (Listen to Lupe Fiasco's "Gold Watch" or the Cool Kids "Black Mags.")
Minimalism in the vein of early Eric B and/or Rick Rubin production. Sometimes the 80s revivalism is limited to lyrical references, to hi-tops and press kits containing pics of the artist in Cazal shades and dookey chains.
SCREWED DOWN VOCAL HOOKS
Do you remember ghetto Texas rap from like three or four years ago? Kinda like that.
IRONIC FETISHISM and MISOGYNY
Gwen Stefani kicked off the fetishism party with her Japanese henchwomen; Spankrock brought that ironic misogyny to new heights, as well as fetishism.
HAVING A NON-TIGHT PANTS TWIN ACT
Now that marker is my favorite and possibly the cheapest/laziest in a Scary Movie/ Date Movie/Superhero Movie/Not Another Teen Movie way. But either way, I have provided you, my reader, with a list of "hipster hop" acts and their BET/MTV equivalent:
Kid Cudi = Bone Thugz N Harmony
Proton = Outkast
The Cool Kids = Clipse
Hollyweerd = Andre's band from Hey Ya video
Muffy = Gwen Stefani
Pacific Division = Little Brother
Spankrock = 2 Live Crew
Kid Sister = Lil Mama
Mickey Factz = Jay Z
Lupe Fiasco = Nas (with a little Jay Z) YOU ALREADY KNOW WHO THAT IS, DUH
The Knux = Steve Harvey & Cedric the Entertainer
By no means am I saying any of these groups are as good as each other or better or worse or anything. I definitely think Kid Sister and Lil Mama are dealing with equal amounts of talent whereas Cedric the Entertainer is wayyyy funnier than the Knux. Please don't think I'm hating by noticing the similarities between these so-called hipster hop acts and certain mainstream acts because I honestly think a lot of the people above are very talented. Some of them I definitely think suck. But I'm not here to tell you what to think at all so...check out those links. I don't know anything: my favorite genres are dancehall and shoegazer.
Another brick in my wall of hipster hop insecurity is that few people care enough about hipster hop to like it or dislike it besides hipsters, and I definitely have some strong feelings about it. What do you think ladies?
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