Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rocking Out With Jesus

So if you haven't already figured out, I love music. I also love Jesus. But those two loves don't always coincide. I'd love to find a blog like The Fader that features new and amazing Christian music of all genres. As much as I believe that you can praise God in any form, I wish there was more variety in the Christian music that came out these days. All I hear these days is Christian music either mimicking top 40 radio (which I no longer listen to) or paint-by-numbers Christian rock.

I loved P.O.D. back in their day because they made music that was different from everyone elses, and still praised God. Christians should be making music that stands out, not blends in. Every day, I happen upon a new artist who's doing something innovative, be it in rap, rock, pop, R&B, whatever. I wish that for every secular artist I found, I could find a Christian artist doing the same thing.

I'm assuming though, that I'm not looking in the right place. So please, if anyone knows Christian, or even just inspirational artists, that aren't your typical gospel/CCM/Christian rock artists, PLEASE send me in the right direction. Even better if it's a blog that features all this stuff.

No Recession for Rappers

From the Dutty Artz Podcast, "Recession Proof Wallets":

A few weeks ago, I saw a financial analyst on MSNBC who said that instead of worrying and despairing because the US economy is spiraling downward, Americans should be excited and imaginative, because it is easier to be the winner in an environment where so many people are loosing. In most of the rap world, it's forever boom-time and the global economic crisis is nonexistent. Openly masking human suffering and frailty with good old fashion American hypermasculinity and boasts about one's net worth has been the approach for radio-friendly rap artists for years, regardless of the current economic malaise. Even when the world around is crumbling, these artists look beyond, ignoring immediate circumstances and continue to paint pictures of excess. There is no such thing as absurd, excessive balling.

To paraphrase something Hugh Masekela said - if you don't talk about your people, their plight, injustice, struggle and you're using their music to get rich and famous, you need your head examine, you will end up in a bad, bad place... well, a lot of people are living in that place already. (emphasis mine)

After posting that Young Capone track, and listening to the Rick Ross album (which has some surprisingly good and memorable moments) I was compelled to look at the other side of the trap/the majority/what is considered the norm to most rap listeners, or what has larger representation, Hot97 radio-playability (not to say Young Jeezy's "Circulate" and Cam'rom's "I Hate My Job" didn't get played, because they did, but you are more likely to hear flamboyant and splurgy raps and attitude towards the recession.); But this batch of tracks also features some relatively unknown/regional/up and coming rappers.

So here it is -- Recession Proof Wallets for your listening pleasure. It is pretty nauseating. It slows down in the second half, but really there's no relief, except for the last track by UGK adding a degree of levelheadedness and unquestionable swag, everything else here is bloated and unreal, insane, American--; so there, considered yourself warned.

Doesn't this remind you of the Asher Roth comment that's been blowing up the hip-hop blogosphere right now:

...'You guys are always going off about how much money you have. Do you realize what's going on in this world right now?' All these black rappers ? African rappers ? talking about how much money they have. 'Do you realize what's going on in Africa right now?'...It's just like, 'You guys are disgusting. Talking about billions and billions of dollars you have. And spending it frivolously, when you know, the Motherland is suffering beyond belief right now.'"

Now, Asher Roth got a LOT of shit for this comment. But y'all KNOW he has a point. Whatever happened to hip-hop being the voice of the people? Anyway, I'm not going to talk too much. I want to hear what everyone else thinks. Especially about the writer's assertion that this kind of attitude towards hard times is "American".