Pimps, hoes, hundred dollar bills, drugs, blah, blah, ****ing blah. Welcome to the world of hip-hop. It's cliche, violent, and quickly becoming a parody of itself. In the 21st Century, it dominates the Billboard charts. 50 Cent's "Candy Shop" sat at the #1 spot for nine weeks while the 2005 anthem, "Since U Been Gone", had to settle for #2. Right now, Kanye West's "Gold Digger" has been #1 on Billboard for nine weeks and running. The song describes girls who goes after guys for their money and its built around a sample from Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman". Hmm...sounds like some thought was put into this. There was.

Time Magazine called him hip-hop's class act. Rolling Stone magazine, when describing Kanye's latest release Late Registration said that he is on a mad quest to explode every cliche about hip-hop identity. Thank goodness. Kanye dresses in preppy 'white' clothes. He cut some tracks with an accomplished celloist. He features female voices in his songs that sing as opposed to moan and groan. He raps about Jesus instead of his 'lollipop'. This guy is good. This genre does not need more of the same, it needs innovation; it needs to be pushed forward. The good news is that Kanye is not the only person doing this.

OutKast certainly don't fit the mold either. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below took the Beatle's idea of solo efforts stitched together to make a double album literally. 'Hey Ya!' is a masterpiece; one of the few songs from the 21st Century to make it onto Rolling Stone's Top 500 songs list. It's quirky, set in an unusual 11/4 time signature, and features plenty of clapping and callbacks. The music video channels the Beatles 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and the result is one of the most exciting videos Launch can offer. 'Hey Ya!' topped Billboard for 9 weeks before being replaced by 'The Way You Move', making OutKast the first band to replace themselves at the #1 spot since, you guessed it, the Beatles.

Hip-hop's not all about the pimps and the hoes anymore. People like Kanye and OutKast are the saviors of the genre, pushing the boundries and changing what it means. Be sure to check out OutKast's movie this December, Idlewild, a film set in the 1930's in which Andre pulls off his best Cab Calloway impression. Or you could always go watch Get Rich Or Die Tryin'...


mozaida said...

impressive. your style is very journalistic. thought about goin into that field at all?

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