Hey, I guess it's pretty hackneyed to say rap music kind of sucks but . . . rap music generally kind of sucks. Well, I do like Nicki Minaj. And Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. And M.I.A. M.I.A. actually has some decent lyrics. I mention it because twice in parking lots to-day I was treated to blasting music and my initial thought was, "Oh, nice, some young people are listening to The Clash," before realising it was some inarticulate guy saying angry things over a recording of a Clash song.
I do think I miss the point. The Clash and other punk groups were certainly about attitude at least in part. And jeez, early punk artists certainly didn't have a reputation for crafting melody. But evidently they made something that lasted well enough for people to be riding their coat tails now.
Last semester in the class I took on John Milton the professor, Peter Herman, mentioned hearing a Kanye West song that sampled Nina Simone's version of "Strange Fruit". He mentioned it as evidence of Kanye West's lack of talent, or maybe downright stupidity, as the sample is used for an incredibly trite song about West and his girlfriend. Looking at the lyrics now, I can definitely see Professor Herman's point.
These bitches surroundin' me
All want somethin' out me
Then they talk about me
Would be lost without me
We could've been somebody
Thought you'd be different 'bout it
Now I know you not it
So let's get on with it
When The Sex Pistols covered "My Way", it was a send up of the arrogance and self-importance inherent in the song, a take down of the kind of ego that sees itself as having a kind of majesty for supposedly doing everything without reference to others. Kanye West took a song about people failing to see slaves as fellow human beings and turned it into a song to serve his ego. Modern rap isn't the new punk. It's the new Paul Anka.
Twitter Sonnet #843
Electric dreams at home evade the droid.
The techs as sheep disperse on idle roads.
The silent diamonds pass through asphalt void.
It's just the feet you see for pride of Rhodes.
When fortune called and spun in modem space
A brace of coats were guided down the hall.
At wrist a cuff link pinned the copy ace.
Confused, the autumn hand began to fall.
The gath'ring Skittles leaden rain.
Bows melted thick across the granite brow.
A last unsold island engorged with grain
Consumed the man who bought the stainless plough.
The sap of time is long and not so sweet.
Seconds can stretch as far as they can beat.