Monday, April 9, 2018

Hip Hop...It's a Lifestyle Y'know



I'm a funny guy, so when I was on Twitter the other day, some probably-millennial @KnowlesCarta was praising Rap awards and I tweeted back, "It's only Rap, so it kind of loses any credibility as far as music goes."
This is a guitar.
You make music with them.
 
Of course, some yo-yo (@slimtallwinos, who will be Nigeria's future Minister of Information, by the way) tweeted back saying Rap is the most popular genre in the US right now, come back later.  And then @KnowlesCarta replied back DRAG IT.  I'm not sure how I got roasted when the Future Information Minister's reply had nothing to do with what I tweeted.  But I used my very first LOL when I tweeted @KnowlesCarta back that she missed the point.

Look, I'm not a fan of Rap.  It's a lazy form of music, if you want to incorrectly call it music.  It was OK when it was funny, like Ice-T and NWA, but it took itself too seriously and by the mid 90s, it wasn't funny anymore.  It really is Spoken Word over what sounds like a robot spilled water on itself.  Anyways, my main point was that Rap or Hip Hop isn't very musical since it's not made with musical instruments.

Don't get me wrong, I like a good drum loop, but a pattern of drum samples put together in a computer, isn't very interesting unless there's something musical going on.  But I'm not surprised that a millennial would think rap is some form of music.  Take away the vocal and what are you left with?  An uninteresting collage of 3 or 4 snippets of other people's songs.  Creative.

I did my due diligence and hopped online to figure out how rap turned into HipHop.  It's amazing how many people got the origins of Rap incorrect.  Too many kids in the Comments section saying it started in the 70s.  And that's why kids aren't very bright since they don't do their homework.  The oldest Rap I have on record is Bo Diddley and that was recorded back in the 50s.  So if it's making it to record in the 50s, it's been around a lot longer than that.  But Bo Diddley's Raps has played musical accompaniment, so that could actually be considered music.  Funny how that works.  And then later on in the 60s, James Brown was rapping.  And then like a slap in the face to James, Rappers started sampling the bits of music that was played by James' band without asking.  Lazy.  Hmmm...I guess a drum pattern on its own can't carry a tune for 4 minutes after all.

Bo and James would have been considered R&B at the time.  But what happens when you first take out the Blues, and then take out the Rhythm of R&B, is you're left with not a heck of a lot.  I've heard some current beats and you can tell they were programmed by someone who's doesn't know what a drum set is.  The hi-hat parts are so disjointed and non rhythmic, it makes Yes sound like The Funk All Stars.  And now they're copying and pasting the vocal track(s) together, and that's even worse.  The vocal, even though it's just talking, can't even be recorded in one pass.  On top of it, it's like they're trying on purpose to be more off-beat than Ol Dirty Bastard.  This lack of trying reminds me a lot of New Country Music.

KRS-One says, "Rap is something you do, hip-hop is something you live."  KRS-One is also a Social Theorist.  Those two words, that when put together, almost sound sophisticated but when you actually think about it, it means nothing at all.  So HipHop is a Lifestyle, and I read that it's a combination of 4 things.  Ready for this?  This is from Quora, by the way: "The four elements of Hip Hop are DJing, MCing (a.k.a. rapping), B-Boying (a.k.a. breakdancing) and graffiti writing".  I laughed my ass off that people still Breakdance.  Whew, good thing someone's keeping the Robot flame alive.  And don't forget the vandalism, err, I mean, graffiti.  Not to completely knock it, some of the technique is excellent, but no matter how pretty it is, it makes any brick wall or train car look like shit.  DJing is just playing other people's records and then Rapping is talking.  Nice lifestyle. 

That lifestyle must be catching on to the masses because I see the old ladies signing up to those Hip Hop exercise classes but they don't look like they're going spray painting after the class.  Or maybe they are. 

Rap/Hip Hop may be arguably the currently most streamed/downloaded type of...audio, but it certainly isn't music.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Musical Disaster

Former Michelle Obama chief of staff to head Grammys inclusion group

Alright, it's time to stop.

I just want to start off by saying, and you probably know this, is that you listen to music with your ears, not your eyes.  If not, you're doing it wrong.  And music isn't a competitive sport you only enter into it to receive an award.

So the Recording Academy is creating a Task Force focused on inclusion and diversity. Really?  And to uncover unconscious biases?  You don't say.  They have this type of training for race and it's proven to either do two things: nothing, or make things worse.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201712/mandatory-implicit-bias-training-is-bad-idea 

And I rolled my eyes again when they mentioned it's for "inclusion and diversity".  Since diversity in this case is an adjective and not an abstract noun (you can't just add "ity" to any word and expect it be a noun), it's unclear what type of diversity they're referring to.  And inclusion.  What exactly are they being included in to?

Wait a second... is this about diversity and inclusion for winning awards?  There's also a type of Olympics where everyone gets an award.

If you get into music for anything but music, then you'll be a failure at it and if this is all about being a celebrity, stop now.  If your sole purpose in life is seeking validation from others, don't even pick up an instrument.  You'll be doing no one a favour. 

Music is great.  You either love it, like it or you don't.  You don't even have to analyse why you like or dislike it.  It's immediate.  I hate New Country because it's highly irritating to listen to.  It's every bad cliché in every song.  It's annoying.  I feel the same way when I'm in the waiting room at the Dentist and some pop "singer" like Beyonce comes on.  It's highly annoying to listen to and I'd rather not hear it, meaning I don't like it.

But now there's is a push to give music awards to girls because...they're girls?  The CEO was right in this case: you want an accolade, do something worth receiving an award for.

I'd consider myself a fan of music.  So much, I took up the guitar and started making my own songs and CDs.  I started buying my own records at 14 and I have quite a decent collection now but I think I have maybe a total of 10 female artists in my collection.  Really, everyone should have a healthy sampling of Aretha or Irene Reid but females make up about 2% of my collection.  The only bias I show is I love English hard rock which happens to have been made mostly been by men.  Sorry, that's the brakes.  Guys make better hard rock, plain and simple.  I'll buy another copy of Deep Purple In Rock before I stream Kesha for free.  Just saying.

Apparently this task force "plans to uncover barriers that impede women's success in the music industry".  This sounds like Feminists playing the victim again while trying to get into another field of entertainment since they wasted their tuition on women studies courses that couldn't prepare anyone for a real world job (I'd still like to see a better representation of female garbage collectors).

If you want to make a living off of music, don't get involved in the dying record industry.  Your best bet would be to make songs for TV, movies and video games.  That's where the money's at and it's been like that for about 20 years now.  You'd make more money doing that than slugging it out on tour or selling t-shirts at the Merch Table.  But the catch is, your songs have to be good and no one cares what gender you are.  Also, nobody's buying music anymore since Millennials ruined that whole business model by not buying anything, so the options are limited these days.  Or you could get a day job but like I mentioned earlier, a Women Studies course isn't going to get you too far unless you like saying, "Do you want fries with that?"

For those of you who actually value awards, would you really want to receive an award because of what you accidentally popped out of the womb as or because of some work you created?  I think everyone would agree you would want an award based on an accomplishment.  Awards are supposed to be a symbols recognising an accomplishment.  I'd actually feel embarrassed and ashamed if I won an award because of solely on my physical appearance: it's confirmation that I wasn't really good enough.  That's called being a failure.

I almost forgot to mention that Tina Tchen, who was put in charge of this task force is a veteran lawyer who is also working on the Time's Up Legal Defence Fund.  Putting someone in charge who is completely unqualified for the position should make everything better.  And isn't the Time's Up thing about sexual harassment?  Why is that even being mentioned in an article about giving undeserving people awards?  And what's with the Michael Obama name-drop?  Here's some advice: stop trying to make music political.  It doesn't work.  I cringed when dumbass Kumail Nanjiani said that "music has always been political"  No it hasn't.  Stupid people say things like that.  Music's been around a lot longer than politics.

Anyways, this whole task force idea bad all over but if this actually catches on, get used to hearing "She only got an award because she's a girl".  I’d say that's more demeaning than not getting an award at all.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Telecaster Yellow



I thought it'd be nice to do something guitar related on the Blog since I haven't in a long time.

So I have 2 cents to throw into the debate of where the "TV" part of the Les Paul TV came from.  There's a couple of theories that are OK but never really did it for me.  The first theory I heard of is that the TV finish, or "limed mahogany" was supposed to be the same colour as the old television sets of the 50s and that's how the TV Model got its name.  Another Gibson book I have says that Gibson made the TV Model to help plug Les Paul and Mary Ford's then-TV spots.  Another theory is the colour was off-white since TV cameras back then couldn't handle white.  I don't buy that because any reflection from another light on any colour with a gloss finish will always be white and that's not really fixing the "white glare" problem.

So here's a theory and what made me think of it:  Gibson was always playing catch-up to Fender since the Telecaster came out and that's where the Les Paul TV borrowed a name.  Where did the term Telecaster come from?  A television.  Where does "TV" come from?  A television.  That might be coincidence if the "limed mahogany" wasn't basically the same colour as Butterscotch Blonde.  A "limed mahogany" body with black pickguard is basically the first Esquire/Telecaster colour scheme.  I know by the time the TV models came out, the Fender was using a white pickguard on their Telecasters/Esquires by then but that's splitting hairs.  And the TV model didn't have an arched top.

What made me think of it?  One day I had out both my Telecaster and Epiphone 61 Special (in TV Yellow) beside each other.  And I said to myself, "Hmmm...Telecaster, TV, Tele, TV.."

Have a look (both aren't mine):



So instead of a "TV Yellow" finish, let's call it "Telecaster Yellow" finish.