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Topic: How Hip Hop Music Sold Its Soul-50 Comes to Ireland

  1. Jan 17, 2006 04:52pm by NRG - livin the art that is life ! www.64111clinic.com fam www.nrginmotion.com massage www.myspace.com/nrginmotion world community Location: havenhouse KCK/ 64111 Clinic 4 Life
    How Hip Hop Music Sold Its Soul-50 Comes to Ireland http://p076.ezboard.com/fpoliticalpalacefrm70.showMessage?topicID=92.topic to follow the discussion or create you own here by Jim Carroll www.ireland.com/theticket...01HIP.html Get rich or die trying? It seems that the world of hip-hop has taken 50 Cent's adage to heart. A reliance on the same producers, the same beats and the same lame lyrical concerns has turned mainstream hip-hop into a neo-con sound with a neo-con economic outlook. Jim Carroll laments the triumph of the commercial over the musical and looks for a new messiah IT seems that the big silver screen loves hip-hop like a fat kid loves cake. Next week, 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' (pictured on cover) opens for business in Ireland, the latest cinematic rap-driven vehicle to roll this way. The $40 million film, directed by Jim Sheridan, tells the tale of an orphaned, streetwise hard-chaw abandoning a life of crime to find salvation as a rapper spitting lyrics about, what else, a life of crime. A semi-biographical take on the rapper's rise from drug-dealing teenager on the streets of Queens to gangsta rap kingpin, Get Rich shamelessly cashes in on Fiddy's current commercial clout. As the film's distribution chief Wayne Lewellen explained, "50 Cent's popularity as a rap artist was the appeal. The timing was co-ordinated with the release of 50 Cent's latest album and of his video game and we felt the market conditions were right." After eight weeks on release in the US, Get Rich or Die Tryin' has taken nearly $31 million at the box office, so the film is unlikely to lose money in the long run for its producers and investors. It shows that 50 Cent the cash-cow is still in fine fettle. The Hector Grey of hip-hop can now add films to a portfolio that includes books, clothes, CDs, video games and bottles of vitamin water. It makes you wonder, though, if this really is what hip-hop has come to in 2006. Is it just a tardy prop to hawk baggy T-shirts, grape-flavoured water and a ropey crime-drama that would head straight-to-DVD without its star name? What happened to the political edge and the activism hip-hop once brandished as a badge of honour? After 30 years on the rise, has the boasting and braggadocio really taken over? It may be time to ask again the question Public Enemy once rhymed: who stole the soul? A good place to start looking for answers is at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. There's little to mark this particular apartment block out as noteworthy. If you didn't have the address written down on a scrap of paper, you'd walk right past and keep going down the street. There are no huge billboards, glitzy statues or neon signposts to alert you to the fact that you're standing at the birthplace of hip-hop, its equivalent of Sun Studios, the Cavern Club and that Mississippi crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. This is where it all began on a sultry August night in 1973. To the hundred or so people who turned up to boogie on down, it was just a back-to-school hop in a small recreation room in the Bronx. A girl called Cindy Campbell had organised the dance to make some money to go downtown to Delancey Street to buy some new clothes for herself. Her brother Clive, or DJ Kool Herc as he styled himself, borrowed a sound system from his father and started to play records. Every so often, their chum Mike would flick on and off the overhead lights to add some atmospherics. While Cindy collected the 25 cents entrance fee, Clive spun funk and soul, James Brown and dancehall, breaks and beats. Everyone had a blast and went home sweating. It was such a success that Cindy and Clive began to plot some more parties. The rest? Well, the rest is history. Little acorns and all of that. Hip-hop has come a long, long way from those innocent parties so beloved of back-in-the-day folklorists. These days, hip-hop is a multi-billion dollar industry, which uses the culture spawned in south Bronx rooms and parks to pimp every manner of consumer tat imaginable. Turn on your TV and you can bet your limited edition pair of Phat Farm shell-toe trainers that the next ad break will feature a sales pitch or two borrowing heavily from hip-hop style and substance in one way or another. Keep watching and you'll soon come across some of hip-hop's current best-sellers, the sound of hip-hop present. As the beats thud and pound, the lads in the video will start rapping about how they're the toughest, roughest, hardest motherfuckers around and that if you mess with them or their crew, you'll get a clip around the ear. Everywhere you look, hip-hop is sewn tightly into the fabric of the daily grind. To bounce a line from rap duo Dead Prez, hip-hop has become much bigger than hip-hop music. Hip-hop is now used and abused over and over again by savvy salesmen, angry b-boys, social commentators, teen rebels, angsty academics, political chancers and everyone else as both shorthand and longhand for all sorts of things. No wonder hip-hop has become so darn confused about what it is, where it's coming from and especially where the hell it's going. Hip-hop needs a new lease of life, but where does it go to get that? Back on Sedgwick Avenue, hip-hop past and present come together when a bus rolls by heading south. Emblazoned across the side of it is an advert for Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. It seems that no story about hip-hop can get away from the Fiddy man. No-one represents what hip-hop is about right now more than 50 Cent. He's the money, and every new day, the rapper ticks off yet another box on his business plan. It may be a good thing for 50 Cent Inc that there are other business interests to fall back on, because the acting gig is not going to be a runner. The rapper just cannot act. Even in an undemanding, cliché-ridden bore like this, a flick where everyone must have phoned in their roles, 50 can't deliver lines like "I'm a gangsta, grandpa" or orchestrate robberies in a convincing manner. What Fiddy is doing is flogging a lifestyle. The racks of G-Unit sportswear in department stores and rows of G-Unit sneakers mass-produced by Reebok represent a connection to the world of Fiddy without the purchaser having to hang out on those same hard streets. Buy the CD, throw on that hoodie, lace up those trainers and suddenly, the white suburban teen, the target demographic who buys the bulk of Fiddy's products like their younger siblings dig Barney, becomes a gangsta in his head. By conforming to what his audience wants, Fiddy has become a very wealthy, successful individual. But the lyrical skills and flow with which he first made his name have become blunted and the lifestyle pimping has taken over from everything else. Far removed from the streets which provided him with the material for his raps ­ you only have to look at the lavish portrait of 50 and friends in a recent edition of Vanity Fair, all suited and booted in his Connecticut mansion, to see that - he's now selling a commodity rather than reliving pages from his diary. It has to be this way. His audience don't want to hear him moaning about the problems involved in buying soft furnishings for his new big house. They want the guns and the shootings and the crimes. So 50 has to become a new-school song and dance minstrel and keep up that old routine. Fiddy doesn't have the time to do much else. When you add in the G-Unit label (home to such dreary rapping grunts as Lloyd Banks and Young Buck), the G-Unit video game, the Formula 50 vitamin water and his From Pieces To Weight autobiography, you can understand just why Fiddy and decent music have parted ways. And there's the rub. For many of today's hip-hop headliners, the business of selling the brand has taken over from the business of making music. Priorities are back to front and, as a result, there's just way too much humdrum formulaic music doing the rounds. It stands to reason that if you're too busy sweating over the design of your next puffa jacket, you don't have time to write sharp rhymes or find new beats. It's also unfortunately the case that you'll probably make more cheddar from those jackets than you will from sales of your new CD. Case in point, Sean "Diddy" Combs, who has been making more cash from his Sean John fashion range of late than from any releases on Bad Boy Records. Fiddy, then, is not alone. After all, rap has become one of the new American dreams. An endless string of rappers keeps coming along with one dull record after another, hoping to get their 40 acres and a mule or, at the very least, a sneaker endorsement. At least when Run DMC hooked up with Adidas, the music was banging. The new breed really don't have anything new to say, but hell, they're going to holler anyway. Worse, it's becoming harder and harder to tell one rapper's big tune from the next. A reliance on the same producers, the same beats and the same lame lyrical concerns has turned mainstream hip-hop into a neo-con sound. What was once a series of furious clarion calls and sharp social observations has become a way to pay your respects to your dopeman and gun dealer. If it keeps going like this, rappers will simply be reciting shopping lists and the contact list from their Blackberrys by 2036. Of course, there are exceptions to all of the above. There are some underground alternative MCs, the antithesis of the thug-rappers currently in vogue, who have plenty to say, even if few are bothered to listen. There are mainstream figures such as Kanye West who may represent a new way for the genre to shine. West's two albums to date contain a fair shake of shout-outs for bling king Jacob The Jeweller, but his Diamonds Are From Sierra Leone makes a couple of pertinent political points. Similarly, his post-Katrina TV appearance showed someone who knows his high-profile position can be used to do more than just hawk branded sweatshirts. But the genre needs more characters like West to come through. There's no point blaming the industry for hip-hop's current state. After all, the industry's permanent establishment will work with anyone who can sell a million, regardless of their political, social or economic leanings. Like the scene that emerged over 30 years ago from a party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, it will begin - or end - on the streets. As mainstream hip-hop moves further and further away from its roots, the time is right for hip-hop music's next great leap forward. If that doesn't happen, however, let's hope we're not in for 30 more years of Fiddy. [size=9:9176124e38]nrgnote: by posting this article, I ain't hatin just always questioning since hiphop is a living culture and therefore reflective and impressionable and capable of being shaped by outside energies just like the roman empire or africa and colonization what's next for hiphop is always a good ponder just questioning is healthy not hatin peace[/size:9176124e38]