Cafe 227

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rappers Run out of '70s Songs to Steal, Move onto the '80s

I've previously expressed my disdain for popular hip-hop. The lyrics are uninspired and lethargic; the beats are mostly recycled wholesale, primarily from old Isley Brothers songs. Of course, this has been going on for some time now.

But recently, I've noticed a somewhat more unsettling trend. (I'm not sure if this trend itself is recent, just that I've noticed it recently.) I guess that contemporary hip-hop beat-makers have run out of old Isley Brothers tracks to steal loops from, so now they've moved onto a different oeuvre - songs of the 1980s. Some of the victims of this beat-stealing are easy to identify, such as Afrika Bambaataa's "Looking for the Perfect Beat" (blantantly ripped off by DJ Khaled and Jermaine Dupri) and Paul Engemann's theme song for Scarface, "Push it to the Limit" (appropriated by Rick Ross, who barely changed the name.) It's harder for me to identify the "creative inspiration" for other songs, such as UNK's "Walk it Out" or anything by Pretty Ricky, but it's clear that they have a distinctly '80s sound.

On the face of it, I have nothing against the sampling of songs from any era. I mean, that's kind of how it's done, right? That's why DJs spend hours and hours digging through crates of LPs to find that perfect snippet of a song, which they can then spin into a dope beat.

But some songs, in my opinion, are strictly off limits. One such song is Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock." Now, I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain the cultural significance of "Planet Rock" in this space - go do some web research on Zulu Nation if you're curious. All you need to know is that "Planet Rock" created the foundation for hip-hop. Which is why Lil Wayne's recent pilfering of it - in a trifling song called "Pump that Bass" - is completely unforgiveable.

I implore all of you fans of real hip-hop out there to join me in shunning Lil Wayne.