Some Reflections on our era of hip-hop, as inspired by a Gil Scott-Heron Interview

“This is a rather pregnant looking 7-up”, haha. But yea, what he says sits with me. That’s how I feel about the music I like. I know who I am listening to. It’s like, with hip-hop, I’m often taken somewhere other than my own life for 3-5 mins. Because for those 3-5 mins, I’m held captive by someone else, and the story they have to tell. When an artist pours their heart and soul into a track, there’s a certain sort of substance to it. A lot of mainstream artists fail to do this, fail to hold me captive. As Gil said, I hear the music and I don’t know who I’m listening to; like I don’t get a sense of the artist. But it’s because a lot of mainstream artists aren’t doing that kind of art. What I hear, in so much mainstream hip-hop, is the same image of the “good life” expressed over and over. It’s like, I hear about how much money you spend, and all the girls you get, etc. etc. But I’m not hearing you, kinda thing. There’s nothing deeper. Like Gil said, it’s here one day, and gone the next. With our era of hip-hop, it’s of course not exactly like that; as once a label gets hold of you, they’re gonna’ want to continue to develop you as a commodity. But what Gil says is still true I think, in the sense that anyone can be made into a commodity; anyone can repeat what sells. So it’s here one day and gone the next in the sense that one becomes a replaceable cog in the machine. When you pour your heart into a track though, well that is a piece of art no one else could have made by you.

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