Posts from 8th July 2000

Jul 00

How did I manage to miss the fact that

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How did I manage to miss the fact that Roger Troutman died last April? I’m saddened by it. Most readers probably know him from “California Love” or another hip hop collaboration but his contribution to funk and hip hop was much bigger than just that. He and his groups have been seriously heavily sampled. “More Bounce To The Ounce”, for instance, has been sampled about 50 times by various hip hop artists. “Keep Ya Head Up”, one of my favourite Tupac songs, is based around Zapp’s “Be Alright”.

I don’t know why it’s saddened me so much to read about this. I couldn’t claim to be a huge fan, but I think he’s underrated. Certainly the impression that I get from friends is that he’s perceived as “that bloke with the funny voice in that 2Pac song.” Try and have a listen to some of his stuff. I think it’s worth it.

ATN Is Dead, Long Live ATN

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ATN Is Dead, Long Live ATN: as Kathleen says, did anyone read ATN much? Still, it blazed some kind of trail and maybe us amateur hacks owe it something for that. I’m more interested in the news that it’s hiring Simon Reynolds to do a hopefully regular column – frustratingly, a lot of Reynolds’ best recent writing has been for printzines like Uncut and unavailable online.

But every time I checked out ATN lately, it seemed a bit clunky and out of date compared to the irreverent, cliquey, funny amateur online zines. I think cliqueiness and elitism are good things – making readers work a bit for their crit fosters the kind of sense of kinship which mass-circulation offline zines have always struggled to achieve, though in the case of the UK weekly press, their reputations depend on it. The last UK weekly to really foster a loyal, cocky core readership was Melody Maker in the early 90s (a magazine which as plenty of people have noted has been a massive influence on my site, though I’d be flattering myself if I thought it was anywhere near as good) – since then it’s all been bluster and arrogance.

Guarding the Borders of the Hip-Hop Nation

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Guarding the Borders of the Hip-Hop Nation: I don’t normally link to NY Times articles because it’s subscription-only, but this is a great, sad article, coolly observational pen-portraits of individuals involved in personal and public struggles over who (literally, culturally) ‘owns’ hip-hop. Almost too much here to comment on, plus I’m really tired and wretched-feeling, but…

Is it possible to consume hip-hop – on any music -innocently? As a hip-hop dilettante based in Britain, most of the direct issues this article covered don’t seem to impact on me: but of course ‘seem’ is the operative word here. The issue that’s never covered in the article is whether or not liking music that’s associated with a particular ‘community’ neccessarily means that you want to join or influence that community yourself – the unspoken assumption throughout the piece is that white kids who listen to hip-hop do so because they want to be black, but certainly from a personal point of view that’s never been the issue (or has it? the thing with race issues is that so much motivation seems to be subconscious…).

One thing I can say for sure is that the piece presses the usual NYLPM buttons by never reflecting that kids might not be listening to hip-hop for the lyrics.

Damn, time runs out for these scatty reflections – but one final question? At what point does a music’s creation of a ‘community’ and lifestyle around itself turn from endoskeletal (offering support and freedom of movement) to exoskeletal (offering protection but also limiting growth)?