Keepin’ It Unreal



Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

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23 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    I cheated and listened through all of this when you sent me the list for the playlist, but I’m going through it again, and in addition to remembering how much I like MF Doom (seriously, that’s just really good), I’m remembering just how weird hip hop got during the 90s.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

      See, I was actually thinking after listening to some of the ones on your and Sam’s posts, that some of the beats/beds in this one (aside from Anti-Pop and Dizzee and cLOUDDEAD), while great, are actually pretty old-school conservative compared to some of the more “pop” mainstream stuff. It’s the CONCEPTS on Octagon and Deltron and Doom/Madlib that are so out there, not so much the beats (sick as they are).

      Also, I only found out about this the other day, or it would have gone in here somehow. Keith, Del, and KutMasta Kurt are working on something:

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        People tend to look at me funny when I say that hip hop has reached a new peak today, but I really think it has. The line between the underground and experimental/alternative world and the mainstream has become so blurry that it’s sometimes impossible to tell if what you’re listening to is mainstream or not (and if you’re like me and don’t listen to much radio, it can be even more difficult, though occasionally watching 106 & Park helps), and the beats, rhymes, styles, etc. in the mainstream are incredibly diverse and sometimes weird. But the content is, for the most part, pretty straightforward: drugs, women, being rich, drugs, women, plus I got these problems (some of which might be women). The nineties, though, in that High Times/My Other Music is Reggae subgenre, even if the beats and flows were pretty un-weird, talked about some weird stuff. While wearing masks. And playing characters who murder each other.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

        At the risk of losing whatever “cred” I might have here, when I first heard Big Sean’s “Dance”, I spent a long time trying to figure out if it was really smart and quirky and referential and deliberately out there goofy in an ironic way… or if it just sucked. I think I ultimately decided on the latter. But I still sort of liked it. Even though I’m pretty sure it sucked. But I remember being struck by it because the genre has seemed to branch off in so many directions that it is hard to tell what things are anymore. This after the 90’s where you were either East Coast or West Coast and a lot of other stuff was left for dead. At least in the mainstream.Report

  2. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Still working my way through. A lot of this just didn’t really hit me. But MF Doom was probably the closest, at least in terms of what I’ve gotten through.

    Also, I forgot D12 was a thing. Thanks?Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

      RE: D12 – I don’t know about the record, but that song was stupidly catchy.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

      My girlfriend thinks that Eminem is the greatest thing ever (except maybe Prince), so I have gotten to listen to a lot of D12. A lot of D12.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

        I was in high school when Eminem came out. When his second album dropped, I remember my friend making good money by downloading it before the release, burning it onto CDs, and selling them for $1. $1! And he sold well over 100 of them. That’s how damn big Eminem was. I remember loving his first two albums. But I was also very much the target audience for him.

        Even then, I could tell he had talent. His flow and sense of rhyme and rhythm were off the charts. But listening now… there was just so much silliness. Not playfulness and experimentation. Straight up silliness. “Cum On Everybody”? And it felt like he was never really saying anything. He was talking about his experiences or pushing buttons or just being him, but he there never really felt like anything deeper going on. I can’t really listen to those old albums (I’m talking SS LP and MM LP… probably less so with Eminem Show). Some of his more recent stuff, what I’ve heard at least, is better. He seems to have evolved a bit, and thankfully so, because if he wasted his talent seeing how many times he could work the word “faggot” into a song about killing his ex-wife, that would have been a real shame.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

        Also, for some reason, at this point I find his voice really irritating, which is strange given that I really like Lil’ Wayne’s voice and they’re not all that different.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        I think her love of Eminem comes primarily from his work in the Aughts, or at least post-8 Mile. She’s turned my son into a bit of a fan, too (he asked me for an Eminem t-shirt just the other day), so I’m afraid I’m going to be bombarded by him. I appreciate his talent as well, but I find his voice grating, and some of his themes, even his later stuff, disturbing. Particularly his approach to women. Which, given the genre, is saying a lot.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

        I always thought Eminem was worse than most, perhaps the worst, when it came to the misogyny and homophobia. It wasn’t just gratuitous or reflective of his experiences… it seemed to be gleefully encouraging it. I know some of that was the button pushing, but it wouldn’t shock me if Eminem was sympathetic to the MRM and crap like that.

        However, now I’m curious… do you think other factors were at play?
        Some possible ones…
        A) Eminem’s delivery was some of the clearest in the game. A lot of people listen to rap and think, “I don’t even know what they’re saying.” That wasn’t the case with Eminem.
        B) Eminem being white helped him cross a lot of barriers. He used to get play on the local rock station back when NYC had a modern rock station (WE DON’T HAVE A MODERN ROCK STATION!!!). So people who might otherwise have sought to ignore rap couldn’t anymore because it was now part of white culture in a way that it hadn’t really been before.
        C) Eminem being white might have altered expectations. Black guys were supposed to be misogynistic and homophobic, but not white guys.
        D) Eminem was just so huge and probably would have been huge regardless of race AND he was more extreme so he’s probably said the F-word more times to more people than anyone else and is deserving of being recognized for his extremeness.

        If I had to peg them, I’d say D, B, A, and then C, from most to least relevant.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        His being white has definitely influenced his popularity, but I don’t think it has influenced my interpretation of his misogyny. His misogyny takes on a violent air, where if he’s not talking explicitly about harming women, he’s certainly hinting at it. Most misogyny in hip hop comes in the form of treating women as sex objects, and while that’s bad, it’s not quite as bad as bringing it to the level of violence.

        If it means anything, the way he talks about women is also one of the major reasons I can’t listen to Lil Wayne very much. Interestingly, he’s one of my girlfriends other favorites.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

        I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply your interpretation, but more broadly the societal response to Eminem. He became Public Enemy #1 for a certain segment of society.

        Your point that the violence vs objectification is a good one. Ugh, how stupid that we have to make such distinctions?

        As for Weezy, he definitely suffers from a, “I don’t always know what he’s saying” thing for me. It is a bit disappointing to learn that he might be as bad an offender as Eminem.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        RE: Eminem and how he pushes the “shock”/misogyny factor pretty far in a genre not really known for its restraint, I am reminded of this Chappele bit (NSFW, obvs.):

        If it doesn’t start at the right point, 1:30 is the part I am talking about.

        I wonder to what degree, to avoid being dismissed as a “Vanilla Ice” or a joke, Eminem might have felt he had to push things that much farther. You’ve got “race” and “masculinity/respect” colliding in interesting ways there.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

      Also, the “somethin’, somethin’, somethin’, somethin'” part of the chorus may be the most perfect moment in drug-induced music ever (perhaps exceeded only by “innagadadavida, baby”).Report

  3. Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

    My beef with D-12 is the presence of Eminem, a performer who never stopped being angry, long after he had every reason to stop being angry. It’s like Jay-Z trying to claim the streets while he’s riding in limos and managing vodka labels. Things have changed. Reflect that. It isn’t an accident that Eminem stopped being interesting as soon as his anger stopped making any sort of even remote sense.

    That said, D-12 made a few absurdly listenable tracks. That’s to the good.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      On the one hand, there is no D12 without Eminem. On the other hand, D12 would be much more interesting without Eminem. It’s some sort of metaphysical paradox.

      Glyph, do you ever listen to Themselves or 13 & God, a couple of Doseone’s other manifestations?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Just in case.

        Dude is weird whoever he’s working with, but I always find him compelling. I think 13 & God is my favorite of his projects, though.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        I only have a Themselves remix album, and couldn’t tell you a thing about it. But the s/t 13&God is pretty good (I like “Men of Station” & “Perfect Speed”).

        The musicians they are collaborating with there is a German band (the Notwist) that went through a really weird evolution. They were originally kind of a punk/metal band, then they went sort of Dino Jr. indie rock, but with occasional jazzy accents (!!, and it’s better than that sounds), then they finally went the glitchy laptop beat-pop route they seem to have settled on. I saw them in that last incarnation and they were pretty good. There are several other bands that shared a label and similar style with them that were pretty good too, maybe I will pull all them together into a post sometime.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        I still occasionally listen to Themselves first album, which was called Them, as was the group at the time. I don’t know much of their later work except the stuff that pops up on Pandora occasionally. “Joyful Toy of 1001 Faces” is a memorable song:

  4. Avatar dhex says:

    edan’s popularity confuses me greatly.

    one of the dudes from antipop used to work in other music. always saw him around.

    future hip hop post request: “unpacking the backpackers”Report