Underground to Pop Music: The Art of the Evolution of Music

Manipulating the sound of a record while someone spoke on a microphone was not widely accepted less than 40 years ago. Before the musical art form we call Hip Hop and the method we know as rapping was an internationally recognized fixture in popular music culture, it was a underground innovative movement. It is always exciting and refreshing when a new form of musical style (which eventually is often considered a subgenre) has been introduced & created. Whether it was the origins of punk music with bands like The Kinks and The Ramones  or the “college rock radio” era of alternative music with musicians such as R.E.M & The Smiths, they all have one thing in common. Rebellion. They all rebelled against what was popular and mainstream. Yet, often times in history an underground musical art form became a part of the mainstream popular music culture if it was accepted on a massive level. Case in point: Kurt Cobain was not comfortable with Nirvana’s music being a part of pop music culture (In Bloom song speaks about this). However, that is what “Grunge” music became…chart topping hits that was played continuously on heavily viewed channels such as MTV. Nevertheless, it was their decision to  sign with a major record label, and “bandwagoners” naturally came with this. In fact, there is often a repeated pattern in music with this, which will probably always be. There are many factors such as generation, society/cultural events, technology, and demographics that correlate with an underground “alternative” sound being popularized. The problem is when a new musical style/sound starts off as fresh and different… then is transformed into something that has lost its “edge” and individuality due to exploitation in the music industry. The art of “underground”music becoming popular mainstream music has its pros and cons, all how we perceive it. Either way, music has & always will be an ever progressing art with many different colors. Hundreds of years from now what we listen to today, what we call “rebellious”, “alternative” or “innovative” in comparision to a “pop music” sound will be so interesting to compare with what sounds/styles may be introduced in the future. The evolution of all music is inevitable. 

Boogie Down Bronx:Classic Photography

1520 Sedgwick Avenue and D.J Kool Herc are names forever synonymous with a part of the origins of rap music. In 1973 on August 11th, Kool Herc hosted a back to school party for his sister at the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue apartment building. At the community house party, he introduced a technique that involved two turntables, a mixer, two copies of the same record, and playing another song at the beginning or middle of the record while focusing on ”the break” in each one. With D.J Kool Herc presenting his technique, his friend Coke La Rock began to rap and many legendary rappers like Afrika Bambaataa and Grand Master Flash all claimed to have witnessed this historic significant event in music history. In honor of The Boogie Down Bronx, here are some truly amazing and influential photos that shows why  The Boogie Down Bronx will always be considered a birthplace of the rhythmic poetic art we call Hip Hop.

1520Sedgwick_Avenue.jpg

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mixtapes

coldcrush

gman 2

 

boogiedown1

party1

red alert

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Ain’t No Half Steppin-Big Daddy Kane’s Classic Revisited

The Golden Era included legendary rappers like this one. Big Daddy Kane not only created classic songs like ”Ain’t No Half Steppin” and ”Raw”, but he is also a man whose style/hair cut is often imitated and the inspiration behind many popular looks.  Classic rap (80s and 90s) & the culture/trends of these eras will never get old or go out of style.

Verse To Analyze: Lines In Jay-Z’s Moment of Clarity

       Moment of Clarity By Jay Z
“I dumbed down my lyrics for my audience to double my dollars
They criticized me for it, but yet they all yell “holla”
“If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli
Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense
But I did 5 Mil, I ain’t been rhyming like Common since”

If many celebrities, especially popular musicians, can influence people to wear certain designer brands, have suburban kids imitating an image they know nothing about, and influencing little girls to make it a goal to be bad bitches ..then why can’t more use their talent/influence to drastically speak out on what needs attention in this country?  Perhaps, accumulating more wealth is far more important or safer than risking it for a much needed change in our society. Maybe many just don’t care that deep enough. And, perhaps it is also us, the listeners who needs to analyze our mindsets as well.

On A Ragga Tip Classic: The Art of 90s Electronic/Dance Culture

Here is a perfect example of the vibe/style of classic 90s electronic/dance music that was popular years ago. However, for those of us who love 90s electronic music, then music like this will always be current. Whether they called it big beat, breakbeat, hardcore, rave, triphop, dance or whatever….the 90s had some of the best electronic music that has ever been created.

The Art Of Sarcasm In Songs: Two Examples of Songs With Thought Provoking Lyrics To Analyze

   

Both of these songs have a good message, but the way they say it is in a sarcastic way to mock and make you think. Here are the lyrics, which, is the best way to further understand the art and inspiration behind sarcastic/irony filled songs that are actually positive songs.

Christion Full of Smoke

But let us leave these two young men
To sit and reflect on the fate of the world
For life as we know it my brotha, must go on
And so the hustlers continue to hustle
And the playa’s continue to play

I’m the man today
Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
Got a hold on life
I’m takin’ each day by day being strong
Know just where I’m going to

As I get higher and higher
Dreams grow, visions flow by
This is as good as it gets
As I take another hit, suga
I can’t stop, I won’t stop

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

And all the day time just passes by me slowly
But I’m alright, you’ll see
Faces and places catching different cases
True runners it’s glorified

Same situation, nothin’ ever changes
Just being a bona fide hustler
Hustler, baby, from day to night
Business is as good as it gets
As I take another hit, honey
I won’t stop, I won’t stop

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

I’m the man today
Can’t tell me ‘cuz I’m feeling

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

Local H Bound To The Floor
Born to be down
I’ve learned all my lessons before now
Born to be down
I think you’ll get used to it

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

Born to be down
I think that I’ve said this before now
Born to be down
What good is confidence?

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

And you don’t
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you don’t
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you don’t
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you don’t
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t

The Art Of 70’s Funk: A Few Songs That Prove Timeless Music Is Always Generational

 

 

These songs are just a few good examples of how amazing 70s funk music was, is, & will forever be.  The thing is, older people who grew up during this time are not the only ones who enjoy music like this…that is how you know when music is actually timeless and legendary.  It doesn’t matter what era or generation, there are young people in my age group and younger who appreciate & love these classic artists. Good music has no expiration date, is never outdated, old, or whatever. Classic songs like these just sounds better and better as the time goes by. 

New Jack City: The Classic Movie With A Cautionary Message

I feel as though too many times great movies like New Jack City, Paid in Full, and Scarface are celebrated and glamourized for all of the wrong reasons Yet, all of the movies share some of the same consequences & negative aftermaths….. and no one really had a happy ending….except for Ace Boogie (Paid In Full)  if you count him being alive & out of the drug game. But, if you seen the movie then you know it came with a hefty price & a lot of messed up stuff happening to people.  Nevertheless, New Jack City, Belly, Shottas, Paid In Full, New Jersey Drive, and so forth are classics that will never get old. New Jack City is one of my favorite movies & I love the fashion/style, music & club-dance scene that was apart of the New Jack Swing era. I also love how Mario Van Peebles wanted this to be an entertaining yet cautionary tale during the infamous Crack Era in the 80s.  While some like Belly actually have a more positive ending, I notice many don’t. I’ve also noticed some people are still in love with glorifying a Nino Brown or Tony Montana type persona…but was it all worth it?

 

A Jazz Legend: Mr. Grover Washington Jr.

  

If you love classic jazz like I do, then Grover Washington Jr. is probably one of your favorites. The first song is Mister Magic and the second classic, featuring Bill Withers, is Just The Two Of Us. These classics are just 2
of the many songs that Mr. Grover Washington Jr. has created. I remember before he passed, my mama took a five year old me with her to see him in concert. I appreciate my parents for helping me appreciate good classic/old-school records because if a song is a masterpiece then it doesn’t matter how old someone is or which era it was created in…good music is timeless.